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Sunday, February 3, 2013

What's in a name!

Haircuts on a Sunday morning are always pleasant affairs. And if the morning is wintery with a bit of chill and a lot of sunshine, the walk to the barber’s can indeed be an exhilarating experience. Besides it also sets the mind racing as experienced by me today.

The first street of importance on the way was the “Nyaya Marg” that made me wonder whether the existence of this street has any relevance to the state of affairs in so far as dispensation of justice in this country is concerned.  The second was the “Satya Marg” or the street of truth. For a nation and its constituents steeped in lies, it appeared to be a travesty of truth in the land of Mahatma, to be naming streets after his biggest quality without really meaning it. The third was the “Niti Marg” or the street of propriety that was also out of sync with the daily happenings in the nation. The fourth was the “Shanti Path” that houses embassies of various nations deeply involved in acts of violence.

And the fifth and the most interesting of them all was the “Vinay Marg” on which lie the houses of many senior bureaucrats who contrary to sentiment conveyed by the name of the street they reside in  lack even basic courtesies in their dealings with the commoners. Even “Satya Sadan” ostensibly the houses of the truthful have many whose integrity apparently is not above board.

Can mere naming of streets inculcate value systems in a society seemingly devoid of it and the mandarins of the nation should indeed be doing much more than that in their half hearted attempts at nation building. The attempts at renaming are however even more blasphemous with Connaught place becoming Rajiv Chowk, Victoria Terminus becoming Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Madras becoming Chennai, Bombay becoming Mumbai and Calcutta Kolkatta. What are we aiming to achieve by these exercises I wonder?

Perhaps these are symptoms of a nation aspiring for a feeling of achievement in fancy ceremonies associated with these silly pranks of naming and renaming, pranks that we used to indulge into as children.


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