Gurgaon to Gurugram: Four Things To Know Before Entering A Name-Game Debate
Now, it's official that Gurgaon is going back to its "original" name, Gurugram, and adjoining Mewat will be called Nuh -- after an approval from the central government. Front pages of leading newspapers, prime-time shows on news channels, and social media platforms, are all abuzz with myriad discussions and conjectures on the impact of the name change on the brand image of the Millennium City. While some are celebrating the Haryana state government's April 12 announcement, others are questioning the very idea of such a decision.
The naysayers posit that the name Gurugram will dent the brand image of Gurgaon, known for its plush skyscrapers that house offices of multinational companies. The word “gram” (meaning village in Hindi) in the address may not ring right in the ears of people used to listening to English names. The city is among one of the most flourishing real estate markets in the country, and the names of many residential projects here show a trend of using chic English names.
The supporters of the move, on the other hand, are celebrating the homecoming of the old heritage. It is believed that the name of the city has its roots in the epic Mahabharata. Guru Dronacharya, the royal teacher of Pandavas and Kauravas in the epic, is said to have lived here. The Pandavas had offered to the guru a piece of land that would later be called Gurugram. Over centuries -- like it happened with the names of most historical places -- the common lingo took over and the present name got distorted.
While the number of both supporters and critics is equally high, you should consider the following four points before jumping into a debate over the merits of the name change.
- Paperwork: The name change will lead to a lot of paperwork, and the state exchequer will have to bear the brunt. For a fast-growing city like Gurgaon, which is still struggling to provide its rising population a proper infrastructure, investing in a name change should, perhaps, not be the priority.
- Impact on dwellers: The ultimate sufferer of any policy change is the general public. The name change might hinder their day-to-day civic dealings. Home buyers, for example, will have to get their registry done with the new name. Also, they will have to get accustomed to pronouncing the new name.
- The question of language: The change is more of a language problem than a civic one. Language is subject to constant changes. That is why the city became Gurgaon from Gurugram in the first place. Enforcing the “right” word while a distorted” one has already taken roots may not be good for linguistic progress.
- Investments: The people who have invested huge money in the city's commercial or residential space are unlikely to shun it just because it is being renamed to something that does not sound western enough. The noise over this issue might appear ill-formed opinion if the precedent is considered. Cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru did not suffer any major problems because their names were changed. It only took a bit of time for people to get used to the new names and use them in civic machinery.