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?

Answer in the Facebook comments section.

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

 

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 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:

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.