Quiz on old station names in India-1

Here we have a list of names of railway stations which were being used in timetables between the 1930s and 1970s.

Do you know the current names?

1. Begamabad

2.  Cambay

3.  Cannanore

4.  Chakki Bank

5.  Chicacole Road

6.  Chutiapara

7.  Contai Road

8.  Daman Road

9.  Ellis Bridge

10. Ellora Road

11. French Rocks

12. Futwah

13 Goya Gate

14 Hyderabad (MG)

15 Kankanadi

16 Kirkee

17 Kothapetta

18 Manipur Road

19 Margao

20 Mhow

The best effort is by Bharat Prashar, 18/20.

Answers are given below:

Old and new names-1

Chutiapara was associated with the Chutia tribe of Assam.

Ellis Bridge is a locality in Ahmedabad near the British-era bridge of that name. There is still a Vidhan Sabha constituency of that name.

Potul is between Manmad and Aurangabad.

Kothapetta became Sirpur Kagaznagar when a paper factory came up there. The station to the south was Sirpur which became Sirpur Town.

Manipur Road was listed as Dimapur Manipur Road in the 1960s before it became Dimapur.

 

Bad days for geography quizzers

Geography used to be a stable subject which did not need much updating. For many years the only genuine new country formed was Bangladesh, and the dubious Republic of Northern Cyprus a little later.

But quizzers in this line took a long time to recover from the twin shocks of the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, which meant about 23 new countries which had to be memorized along with their capitals. The reunification of Germany and (earlier) Vietnam at least helped to REDUCE the number of countries to be studied.

Then people had flights of fancy, changing Swaziland to Eswatini (to encourage E-commerce?) Its neighbors had earlier made the switch from Bechuanaland and Basutoland to Botswana and Lesotho. Meanwhile a few other new countries such as Eritrea and South Sudan sneaked in when nobody was looking.

Then we have the renaming of cities in India. Many of them involved reverting from the British pronunciation to the original pronunciation (as in Calcutta-> Kolkata, Calicut -> Kozhikode and so on). This topic is enough for a few doctoral dissertations.

Now the rulers of India have bigger ideas, playing around with the names of larger entities. The creation of the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir AND Ladakh was hailed as a masterpiece. So next comes a mini-masterpiece, the Union Territory (yes, just one) of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu:

https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/bill-to-merge-uts-of-dadra-nagar-haveli-daman-diu-passed-by-lok-sabha-150241

(It will take a while to figure out where the “and” and “&” will be used). Also, the people in these places do not seem to have asked for this reunification of the smaller bits of Portuguese India.

Perhaps there is a point here. How many of you can find D & NH on a map? Even if you can, do you know WHY it is an Union Territory? (Another interesting point is why Chandernagore is a part of West Bengal and not an Union Territory like the rest of French India); see

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/oddities-in-indian-history-chandernagorechandan-nagar/

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:

Nangi

Though there are many words common to 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:

Bang-sue

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:

lund-and-blockley-opticians

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.

Places with bad names-1

There are places which have names which may sound funny or offensive in other languages. Probably the most famous one is this:

Fucking, Austria

More about this tiny place with a population of around 100:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fucking,_Austria

Obviously this name is not particularly significant to German speakers, but is a source of amusement to English speakers, especially Brits.

The Brits have something similar in Surrey, but not in the same class:

Dorking, England

While “dork” is not a verb, it is a noun in American English:

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Dork 

A standard sign in the US (especially in college classrooms) in “No food and drinks”. Someone at Stanford had put up a realistic sign stating “No freaks and dorks” which the faculty chose to leave untouched.

There was a controversial judge named Robert Bork who was nominated by President Reagan to the Supreme Court, but his nomination was rejected by the US Senate in 1987. While his name rhymes with “Dork”, the word predates him.

This town is somewhat larger than its Austrian counterpart. It is perhaps appropriate that it is famous for poultry:

Dorking Cock

More on the general topic of places with unusual names:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Place_names_considered_unusual

That is a bit exhaustive and lengthy, but a shorter one is:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/united-kingdom/galleries/Britains-silliest-place-names/

This topic is indeed worthy of a doctoral dissertation.

Next we will take up a few such cases in India.

 

Zeros and signboards

First take a look at this sign in Kerala:

Nilambur

Not too clear why the place name (Nilambur) was not written in English. This relatively small place is served by this station:

Nilambur Road

This station has the code NIL. This is one of the numerous synonyms for zero or nothing. Some of them are:

http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/zero

This list of synonyms became popular at the time of the Delhi elections in 2015, while discussing the results of the Congress party. The BJP fared better with 3 seats, which made it an “Auto rickshaw party” as its MLAs would fit in one. In various parts of the country there are other auto rickshaw parties where the entire membership fits in one.

Some are not originally in English but have come into common use. Like Nada in Spanish.

Appropriately, there is another zero-themed place name in Kerala:

Nadapuram Road

And the railway across the Nullarbor Plain in Australia (the route of the famous Indian Pacific:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nullarbor_Plain#Railway_line

Then there is this place in Arunachal Pradesh:

Which is spelt both as Ziro and Zero. It has an airport which is supposed to have regular flights-at least, it did when Vayudoot was around:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_Airport

Then there is Zero Road in Allahabad, which is perfectly logical:

https://www.quora.com/Why-is-Zero-Road-in-Allahabad-India-called-so-Is-it-because-of-the-IST

Zero Bridge in Srinagar also has a perfectly logical explanation:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_Bridge

And of course there was actor Zero Mostel:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_Mostel

Even Salman Rushdie got into the act with the Maharani of Kooch Nahin, which must have been inspired by this place

Cooch Behar

although it is now served by this larger station:

New Cooch Behar

Finally, there is Zero Point station on the Pakistani side of the border which is reached via Munabao:

 

 

The Devil’s scoreboard and other devilry

It had to happen one day in a Test: 666/6

devils-score

On the 4th day of the India vs England Test at Chennai, 19 Dec 2016.

Meanwhile, here is the Devil’s own locomotive (picture credit Sachin Balwatkar). It is now homed at Sabarmati shed, and was homed at Mhow some years ago. There were also some 666* s homed at Golden Rock.

loco-6666

More from the Devil’s domain here: Hell, Norway:

hell-signboard

And the railway station there:

hell-station

You may think that God has some influence here:

hell-goods-shed

However, this is Norwegian for “Goods dispatch”

In closing, there has to be at least one joke involving devils. Here is one from 2016, which refers to the US presidential election:

trump-devil

 

Fruit on rails

A collection of picture of stations of the Indian Railways whose names involve fruit:

SitaphalMandi_Railway_StationNarangiSantragachi

There is Mango, a suburb of Jamshedpur, which does not have a station. As Robert Vadra said, there is no space for the mango man in a banana republic.

Take a closer look at the sign for Sitafal Mandi in Hyderabad. It appears to be one of the old signs from the time of the Nizam’s State Railway, with the Hindi inscription added later.

One wonders how the citizens of Nagpur allowed a much smaller town to grab the title of Orange City.

And Amla may not be named after the fruit but is supposedly an acronym for “Ammunition Land”, where a large military storage facility exists.

Afterthought-Prior to partition, Afghanistan used to export fruits to different parts of India by train. These fruit trains usually started at Chaman (a railhead to the north of Quetta), travelled down the Bolan Pass and made their way to faraway places.

 

 

 

 

 

Stations which have a cricket connection

There are a number of cricket stadiums which have nearby stations with the same name, ranging from this one in London:

Oval-tube-station-006

A station by the name of Lord’s existed in the past, but the section was closed in 1939. The nearest Tube station is St. John’s Wood. Details here:

http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/l/lords/index.shtml

Elsewhere in England we can see stations for these Test venues:

In India, we have stations for Chepauk and Eden Gardens among others.

Also. if you travel from Mumbai to Surat, you will pass

Atul station

and then

Sachin station

The second one needs no explanation, while the first relates to the lesser-known international players Atul Wassan and Atul Bedade and possibly a few more.

The route north of Nagpur is more promising, as it has

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

followed by

Amla station

Note that the name Amla is supposed to be derived from “Ammunition Lands” as it has one the largest ammunition depots in the country.

Although Hashim Amla’s ancestors were from Gujarat this does not appear to be a common surname. Amla does mean a fruit (something like a gooseberry) in several Indian languages.

Also see: https://abn397.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/who-or-what-is-amla/

There are also stations such as Pataudi Road and Vizianagaram which are indeed the places where the concerned player’s families were rulers.

And finally this one in India which reminds one of Sri Lanka:

Attipattu

 

 

 

 

Hyderabad and Gujrat are not only in India

Have a look at these pictures and decide whether they are in India or somewhere else:

Note the Sindhi signboard in the right picture, which should help you to locate it. The first one is in Pakistan’s Punjab.

The “other” Hyderabad can be reached from India by the Thar Express, which you board at Zero Point after leaving India from Munabao.

Up to Partition, one had to refer to Hyderabad (Sind) and Hyderabad (Deccan) as both were important cities in undivided India.

Also this one:

Jhelum

While the river of this name flows through a part of India, this town is in Pakistan’s Punjab. One Indian Prime Minister (not Manmohan Singh) was born nearby.

Bangalore to Mysore by rail: Renaming runs wild

First we take a look at different signs at SBC station, in its various avatars as Bangalore City, Bengaluru City and finally Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna (Bengaluru Station). Also don’t ask why the S got into SBC.

Bangalore CityBengaluru CityKR Bengaluru station

But the average Bangalorean might prefer to stick to calling it Majestic, like the way Hyderabadis stick to Nampalli, Amdavadis to Kalupur and Banarsis to Cantt (well, it was officially known as Benares Cantt until the 1940s).

At the other end of the line 138 km away we have Mysore (now Mysuru):

mysore-railway-station

Mysuru station

But the line between these cities has seen more than its share of renaming. Let us first look at an Indian Bradshaw entry from 1935:

Bangalore Mysore 1935

The reproduction is not too good, and the mileage is not visible in this scan. Odd things you can see here are Maddur listed as a junction (though no branch line from there is listed in this Bradshaw or anywhere else). And several place names do not appear in present timetables.

Here is an extract from an official website showing the timings of a passenger train between Bengaluru and Mysuru:

Bangalore Mysore TT 2015

Even this train does not stop at a few stations such as Krishnadevaraya Halt (5 km from SBC), Palahalli Halt (between S and NHY) and Mysuru New Goods Terminal (4 km before MYS) which is a pure goods station.

(Palahalli is apparently not on the present alignment but is still mentioned in railway documents).

Note the rare one-letter codes for Yeliyur (Y) and Shrirangapatna (S)

Apart from the changes to the names of SBC and MYS, we also note:

Closepet is now Ramanagaram (possibly it had been named after a British official)

French Rocks is now Pandavapura

Seringapatnam is now Srirangapattana (changing the simplified spelling of the British).

Other points of interest: the 1935 timetable shows 13 intermediate stations. The present slow passenger train stops at 19, while at least 3 more are known to exist.

Of course, there has been progress on this line. It was converted to broad gauge by the mid-90s and electrification continues at a snail’s pace-apparently it is complete up to Mandya. There is now a Shatabdi from Chennai along with numerous trains to different corners of the country. Even the former single track MG line is almost completely doubled apart from a short stretch outside Shrirangapattana where Tippu’s armoury building is being bodily shifted to make way for the new line, as you can see here:

Armoury

Thanks to Raghavendra Rao and Sandeep Mohan for useful updates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ding and the dong

You would probably not think much of dings and dongs except in the context of bells (and American slang). However, the disambiguation feature of Wikipedia tells us about several other dings and dongs:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ding

There are a couple of examples from India which Wikipedia did not catch-such as the small railway station of Ding in Haryana:

https://www.google.co.in/maps/@29.4609337,75.2582959,15z

It is served by a number of trains (mainly slow passenger trains) between Hisar and Bathinda.

You may also have heard of Ding as a derogatory term for Anglo-Indians. The internet has an explanation for this, apparently from a blogger from Tamil Nadu:

http://www.samosapedia.com/e/dingo

Not sure if that was to be taken seriously. However there is a traditional Anglo-Indian dish called ding ding, which is called jerky in other countries:

http://bridgetwhite-angloindianrecipes.blogspot.in/2014/08/ding-ding-savoury-sundried-meat-crispies.html

The dong has many more meanings including names and places, and even a large company based in Scandinavia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dong

Dong is a common name in China and Vietnam, where Pham van Dong was one of the architects of their victory over the US: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ph%E1%BA%A1m_V%C4%83n_%C4%90%E1%BB%93ng

Then there is the Vietnamese dong, which until recently was the least valuable world currency unit. More recently the thinly traded Iranian rial has taken this position.

At the moment the US dollar will get you over 22,400 VND (Vietnamese dong). while the Indian rupee will get you over 330. Even the Indonesian rupiah will get you 1.6 VND. The most valuable currency unit is the Kuwaiti dinar, which will get you 3.29 US dollars, 221 Indian rupees or…73,800 Vietnamese dong.

And Dong is the easternmost village in India. Its population fits into three huts. You still have to travel about 20 km further east to reach the tri-junction of India, China and Myanmar.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dong,_Arunachal_Pradesh

This map shows its location more clearly:

https://www.google.co.in/maps/@28.0680455,96.7613483,10z

There is no railway line anywhere in that area, though there are stations such as Dongargaon and Dongargarh:

 

 

The latter station used to have a large steam shed earlier. It lies in Chhattisgarh on the main line from Mumbai to Kolkata.

Then there is the more common American usage for the dong, which needs no explanation.

The dong had its place in Bollywood. In the early 90s the film “Tahalka” featured Amrish Puri as Dong, dictator of Dongrila. One catchphrase of his has persisted down the years:

 

Acronyms true and false

We take many acronyms and their explanation for granted. A good example is VT, the prefix for civil aircraft registered in India. Many times we may have heard in quizzes that this stands for Viceroy’s Territory. This is untrue, as we will see below. It is a kind of reverse engineering to find something which fits the initials.

As my friend Ash Nallawalla pointed out….”India has several sequential prefixes as part of a global assignment. VU is used for radio callsigns, for example in amateur radio; VT for aircraft etc. If you check the global allocations, you will see that the main British dominions and colonies were in the Vx series. Australia uses VK and VL for radio (possibly more), VH for aircraft etc. It is just reverse translation by people who need to remind themselves of our British colonization every day.”

Another famous one is “Military Headquarters Of War” for Mhow which many people consider to be true. This phrase seems to be too clumsy to be true and apparently was created by someone as an afterthought. This is what Wikipedia says:

“There is total lack of unanimity on how Mhow got its name. One possible source of the name might be the Mahua (Madhuca longifolia) tree, which grows in profusion in the forests around Mhow.

Some articles in popular literature state that MHOW stands for Military Headquarters Of War. However, this is a backronym, and there is no proof to support the theory that the name of the village comes from the acronym. The village near Mhow was called Mhow Gaon in the pre-British era, when English was not used in India. The Cantonment which came up in 1818 came to be known as Mhow Cantt after the name of this village. Sir John Malcolm spelt the name of this town as MOW in his writings. The 1918 edition of Encyclopædia Britannica also mentions ‘MAU’. However, the Cantonment was referred to by British officers as Mhow at least as early as the end of 1823 (letter from Lt Edward Squibb to his father in London).”

A lesser known backronym from the Army is the one for Babina near Jhansi: “British Army Base In Native Asia” and sometimes……Northern Asia”. This also sounds as contrived as the one above, as the phrase “Native Asia” does not seem to be used anywhere else. And Northern Asia would be Siberia where Britain never had a hold.

The airline and railway companies have many examples of this sort;

Queer And Nasty Types As Stewards

Better On A Camel (and in the mid-60s, Bend Over Again Christine)-google for Christine Keeler if you didn’t get it.

Pan Demonium Scareways

Good Airline Run Under Dutch Administration (i.e. Garuda of Indonesia)

and the jokes about the FA asking “do you want TWA tea or TWA coffee”.

From the British railways we have:

London & Nearly Everywhere Railway, a fair description of the London and North Eastern Railway during its heydays.

There are a number of nasty ones connected with the Indian Railways:

Bribes Never Refused – BNR, predecessor of the SER before the 2002 reorganization.

Great Improvement Possible – GIPR, predecessor of most of CR as it was pre – 2002

Sambar Idli Railway – SIR, most of the present SR

Mails Slowly Moving – M & SMR, now part of SR, SWR and SCR

and the nastiest would be:

Beastly, Bad and Cannot Improve – BB & CIR (predecessor of the WR  as it was pre – 2002).

This article may be useful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backronym