What’s in a Name?

Naming of roads and fly-overs has become a virtual battleground for political parties, each trying to upstage the others.

A few weeks ago here in Mumbai, the Shiv Sena won a victory of sorts by “inaugurating” the Navghar Flyover in Mulund (East) ahead of schedule and naming it after a person of its choice’.

The Shiv Sena was angry at the government’s decision to name the the Bandra-Worli Sea Link after Rajiv Gandhi instead of after Veer Savarkar. So it went ahead of schedule and named the Mulund flyover after policeman Prakash More, who had died fighting terrorists at Cama and Albless Hospital during the Mumbai terror attacks on November 26, last year.

There was an interesting news report in DNA yesterday, according to which, “The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking plans to have bus-stops in Mumbai named after you, at a stiff price, of course.”

Controversies over naming roads and flyovers have become outmoded, it seems, now people will fight over naming bus stops!

According to this proposal, the BEST will advertise the naming of a bus stop. Interested parties may then file their nominations. The right to name the particular bus stop will go to the highest bidder at an auction which will be held for the purpose.

This proposal, if passed, will open up some other very interesting possibilities- apart from the chance for government officials to accept bribes at every step of the auction process!

Local leaders in political parties will be eager to grab the rights to bus stops in their area. Wonder whether they will name them after themselves, or after their political ‘bosses’?

Want to please your party leaders? Simple. Name a bus stop after them! And choose the colour of the name plate according to the party- saffron, red, blue, green or multicoloured!

I wonder whether only new bus stops will be named in this manner, or even the names of existing bus stops will be auctioned? If so, then travelling by bus in Mumbai will become an adventure of sorts!

How easy to remember the names of bus stops when they are named after local landmarks! If this proposal passes, people will have to guess which person the stop is named after. And it may be named after not only a prominent personality, but after anyone who has the money to bid the highest in the auction! Maybe even after a fictional character. We may well have bus stops named after Munnabhai MBBS, if a fan of the movie buys the rights to them.

According to the proposal, the rights to name a bus stop will be held for 10 years by the buyer. What if the buyer decides to change the name every year- that will certainly be confusing!

If a political party worker buys the rights to a particular bus stop, names it after a leader and then switches parties- then of course he will have to rename it and change the colour of the name plate at the same time!

A naming convention is a a set of generally accepted norms for naming things. The intention is to enable users to deduce useful information from the names. Names are supposed to make it easy for the public to navigate structures.

Logic dictates that bus stops should be named after local landmarks which would be useful for the traveller.

Of course, that is only if we assume that the BEST wants to make things easy for the traveller!

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20 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?”

  1. Any party which comes to power uses it's establishment to name/rename roads and institutions after their party big wigs.Unless,there is a people's movement against this shameless act,we will have only few rly crossings only left to be renamed.

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  2. thanks fro sharing this MAnju… as you have said its always better to name a bus stop and when the officials were concerned about the common man's problems… its a way of getting money../*If a political party worker buys the rights to a particular bus stop, names it after a leader and then switches parties- then of course he will have to rename it and change the colour of the name plate at the same time!*/that is the important problem… hope this plan fails..

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  3. 'Logic dictates that bus stops should be named after local landmarks which would be useful for the traveller.' If only Logic were used! As you say, we could look forward to a lot of Chaos 🙂 And interestingly named bus stops.. Whether it helps the commuter or not – is not something anybody is bothered about.

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  4. Why stop at busstops ? Why not rename buses too, with names instead of numbers ? What if someone told you, "Take the Kareena Kapur Limited , get off at the Tribhovandas stop, walk down 50 metres and take a left at Sonia Gandhi Marg. Third building on the right"….. You could even go into minute detail and name potholes too. Maybe after me , since I have blogged so much about them.:-)(Cant you see Google Maps saying," Go straight 2 miles on Paisawalla Marg, slight left,go thump through the Ugich pothole, the Manju Pothole,change gears to drive thru Kavi pothole….Sharp right on Bhajiwalla St.")The possibilities are endless. Shakespeare must have rued the day he said "Whats in a name?"…

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  5. This idea of naming of bus stops has appealed to me. In fact it should be extended to other places that the public uses. But, there shoul be two conditions: nothing should be named after a politician and the person/organisation it is named after should assume responsibility for maintaining it to the highest standards. So, if a Gavaskar or a Godrej want something to bear their name, then they should look after it too.

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  6. This 'naming of bus stops after anyone and everyone' – should we treat it as comedy or feel sorry for ourselves? 'Logic dictates that bus stops should be named after local landmarks which would be useful for the traveller.'In Chennai too, many bus stops are named after landmarks. The names of the roads are being changed, one by one, nowadays. Definitely our CM will take this cue!'If a political party worker buys the rights to a particular bus stop, names it after a leader and then switches parties- then of course he will have to rename it and change the colour of the name plate at the same time!' ha ha ha!Our CM has got, as far as we know, 3 wives. One is dead. He might have to name all the bus stops in the city, in his childrens', grand childrens' and great grand childrens' names! Whoever visits Chennai have to keep our CM's family tree in their hands, to tour our city!My husband says, he will name the bus stop near our house in our cat's name, Zorro!Sorry, Manju, this comment, looks like a post! We enjoyed reading your post, thanks!

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  7. Chowlaji– True, political parties have always done this. This is their way of letting everyone know how much clout they have!Kanagu– The proposal hasn't passed yet- so we shall have to wait and see what happens!Smitha– Nobody is bothered about the general public. The advertising agency which is pushing this proposal stands to get 15% of the total revenue so it will try hard to convince the BEST Committee to pass it. 🙂

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  8. Ugich Konitari– Ha ha! Nice scenario you have described! In that situation chaos will reign in Mumbai.I like the idea of naming potholes- though if their positions shift in the Monsoons, no one will be able to follow a map of Mumbai roads!:)

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  9. Vinodji– If the BEST insists on the two conditions you have mentioned, there will be no takers for this scheme! This type of scheme can work for places where the name does not make much difference. But don't you think that naming a bus stop after a local landmark would be more helpful? Of course, if the aim is to make a visitor to Mumbai see more of the city, then this scheme would be better- the visitor would probably get down at the wrong bus stop and so see areas he would not have otherwise seen!Currently there are gardens or road roundabouts that are maintained by corporates in Mumbai. They are not allowed to name them, but can put up signs stating that they are maintaining them.

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  10. Sandhya– Zorro is a nice name for a cat- the 'Zorro bus stop' sounds nice, too!With so many children and grandchildren of your CM, there will be no problem thinking of names- and probably no problem paying for the right to so many bus stops either!

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  11. I didnt know of this proposal. Not that i am interested in proposing my own name. But then..i guess i can think of a few names myself. Like 'Don'. Perhaps 'Mowgli'. Perhaps Rani ! All by the way are names given to some of the pets that i know !

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  12. Hi Manju,So many names have been changed and for years but what is the result.It is still Pedder Road, Napean Sea Road, VT Station, Santa-Cruz Airport, Andheri flyover, or Kemps Corner flyover. Even the new sea link is known as the Sea Link. It is still Western Express Highway instead of Ali Yavar Jung Marg.I have yet to meet anyone who mentions it as Rajiv Gandhi…….The whole game seems just a political stunt. It is just not accepted by the common man.

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  13. Regional transport authorities have found that people are willing to pour money if they get special numbers for their cars, telephone nos, etc. so now apparently they see opportunity in this proposal to rake in some moolah. These names will never be used by general public as some have already pointed out. Ugich Konitari's potshots at municipal potholes is hilarious, we have all had our posts on them and if we have to sign a petition to assign these names to potholes without us having to pay for them just go ahead and take my signature! Who'll pay money going down holes?

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  14. Radha– Then there will truly be confusion!Kavi– Ah, but the question is- how many would you be able to afford? Bus stops will not come cheap!Mavin– True- not all roads/ flyovers are called by their new names. But at least until now the changing of names was for the purpose of commemorating leaders, etc.This bus stop proposal seems to be purely to generate revenue (and satisfy the egos of those who can afford it).

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  15. Gopinathji– True, it is just for the purpose of obtaining revenue- and as you say, there are people willing to pay for such things.Yes, for Mumbai residents, potholes is a popular subject! 🙂

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  16. Antarman– I agree, most policies are about revenue, much of which goes into the pockets of politicians or bureaucrats! The convenience of the public is secondary…

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