Places with bad names-2

As we have seen in the previous post, a name of a place or person may become offensive if it means something else in another language. We start with this station in the outskirts of Kolkata:


Though there are many common words in Hindi and Bengali, this is not one of them. In any case, the Bengali inscription indicates that it should be spelt Nungi or Noongi. This locality is known for the manufacture of fireworks, possibly the largest such centre in India after Sivakasi.

India has many place names such as Bangarapet, Bangiriposi, Banganapalle of mango fame and the former Bangalore. Then there is Bangkok, where you will find:


Poor Susan! She will have to be particularly careful there – especially as this is to become Bangkok’s main station in the near future.

There are other things traveling Indians will run into, such as this place in Sweden:

Lund sign-2

I have passed that way by train many years ago, although no suitable picture of the station sign is available on the net.

While this is not one of the largest cities of Sweden, the University of Lund is highly ranked.

Surnames such as Hammarlund are common in Sweden. The Hammarlund Radio Company was one of the leading manufacturers of radio receivers in the US. Back in Mumbai, there is this long-standing establishment near the Gateway of India:


We close with this sign which causes amusement in northern India:

Mr Banchhod

Names like this are found in Gujarat. Morarjibhai’s middle name was Ranchhodji.

To be continued.

Colonel Bogey and his successors

Most adults in Commonwealth countries have heard this tune, possibly through military bands which still play it. It dates back to 1914, but the words came later during World War 2. It became famous worldwide with the film “Bridge on the River Kwai” which was released in 1957, but was still making the rounds of cinemas in India in the 1970s.

Here is the “official version” by a British army band:

You are more likely to have seen this version from the film:

Although most of the film was shot in Sri Lanka, the actual bridge still stands in Thailand and is a popular tourist destination:

It is not very close to Bangkok, but many conducted tours will take you there and back in a day.

The tune became so ingrained in popular culture that: “Since the film portrayed prisoners of war held under inhumane conditions by the Japanese, there was a diplomatic row in May 1980, when a military band played “Colonel Bogey” during a visit to Canada by Japanese prime minister Masayoshi Ōhira”

As to the lyrics, Wikipedia goes into them in great detail:   Most versions had only the first four lines, though longer versions exist. Variations in the second line mention local prominent buildings such as the Albert Hall in London and the Free Trade Hall in Manchester. Also, as General Rommel was one of the few German military leaders who was respected by soldiers on the other side, the second line sometimes became “Rommel has three but small”. The more obscure variations (particularly on the second verse) are here:

Indian schoolboys made up other variations such as:

Hitler, he had but one big ball,

Rommel, he had three but small,

Nehru, he went to Peru,

And poor Gandhi, he had none at all.