Sunday, June 28, 2015

Kolkata, Chennai, Chilipthang etc.

We had a visiting Rotarian from Chhenai, India who attended our Weekly meeting this Friday the 26th June, 2015. The Rotary norm is that any visiting Rotarian can attend any meeting of around 33,000 Rotary Clubs in over 200 countries around the world. Infact, if a Rotarian attends a Rotary meeting anywhere else in the world, it is akin to attending one’s own Club’s meeting. The host Club Secretary would sign a Visiting Rotarian’s Attendance Slip - to authenticate that the visiting Rotarian attended their Club meeting.

Rotary meetings are most often followed by what is called “fellowship”. Once the serious business of Rotary is over and the gong is sounded, Members loosen up and indulge in lighthearted banter and camaraderie - quite often accompanied by copious amounts of boozing. It hasn't happened yet - but I know that there is no escaping it - there will come a sozzled night when yours truly will have to be looking down the barrel of an alcohol breath analyzer. It does not help that our Meetings are always held on Fridays - coinciding with the ZERO TOLERANCE DAY declared by our men in blue.

The visiting Rotarian told us that Kolkata in West Bengal, India was originally a village named Kalikata which was later changed to Calcutta by the British - now, once again, back to being Kolkata. He tells us that his own city - Chennai was originally called Madraspatnam. The British changed it to Chennapattnam. Over time, it came to be known as Madras. Then in 1996, the state government changed it back to Chennai.

So, what about name changes in good old Land of the Thunder Dragon? Plenty - I think we have changed the names of few hundred of our villages, mostly in the South: Kilkhorthang, Rilangthang, Sergithang, Norbuthang, Dzamlingthang, Gawaithang etc. etc. and etc.

But the name of one small place in Chukha has adamantly remained unchanged over the past four decades, since I can remember: AWAKHA!

For those of you who do not know the meaning, the English equivalent of the name is: EATSHIT!

Any chance that this derogatory name will some day catch someone’s fancy and have it changed to something a little bit more dignified? I bet the Brits could have done much better - but history has it that these uppity, uppity chilips found the Bhutanese lot too barbaric, and the land entirely useless for anything! Had they colonized us, we would not have had to suffer this shame - may be they would have named the place - Chilipthang!


  1. Bangalore is the latest city to have its name changed as BENGALURU( in 2014). Bombay became Mumbai in 1995 after a 40-year struggle; Madras changed to Chennai in 1996; Calcutta to Kolkata in 2001; Trivandrum to Thiruvananthapuram in 1991; Pondicherry to Puducherry in 2006; Poona to Pune in 2008; and Orissa to Odisha in 2011.

  2. Hi Mallik,

    Thanks for the update. Hope you are well - my greetings to Sowmya and a pat on the head to Om.