The Indian Obsession Behind Naming Roads & Conventions

By Shivansh Gupta

Off late, the tweets of the veteran actor Rishi Kapoor reminded us of India’s obsessive “meticulousness” about naming streets, roads and other public places, and his tweet was honoured and appreciated by the Congress workers by naming a public toilet in Allahabad after Mr. Kapoor.

When told about it, Mr. Kapoor said that he was thrilled that at least he would be of some use to someone as these people (Congress workers) are of no use to anyone.


If ever we would try to find out what was the first name of a particular Indian street or a road we would have to peel many layers of names, each name commemorating a different anniversary or acting as a proof to different political reasons behind it. One would have to possess a high political IQ to understand the nomenclature structure that our “dignified” politicians use for naming a public place.

Knowing what we Indians are capable of fighting over would definitely have forced Shakespeare to take his famous “What’s in the name?” phrase to his grave if that were possible.

But a delve into our lives reveals how names had conquered the very motive behind the existence of some of the things. Like Hindustan Vanaspati’s “Dalda” product became synonymous with the genre of the main style of hydrogenated vegetable oil, which is commonly designated generically as “Vanaspati”. The same is the case with Fortune Oils.

There is another example of our love for names. Next android version “Android N” is about to come. Soon after Google announced that it would welcome suggestions for naming it, a small movement on twitter started in order to add an Indian flavor to it by advocating the delicacy from Kerala “NEYYAPPAM” for the “N”.

Indeed, a name is something more than a word for us but it will never change the purpose or characteristics of a thing. As far as the naming of streets or roads is concerned, our elected politicians should try to look beyond their ingrained behavior of debating over these type of issues. They should pay heed to the number of potholes and open drains on a road rather than on their nomenclature.

Nevertheless, media persons are reluctant for these types of opportunities and grab them as soon as possible because uselessness is one of the main ingredients for an hour long futile primetimes.

Image Courtesy: Google Images

You’d also love this piece, it shows how government is obsessed with naming things after a particular family:

Over 400 Institutions Are Named After The Gandhi Family: Is This Only A Gandhi/Nehru Nation?



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