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Bangalore rebrands as Bengaluru

Shouldn't that be Benda Kaal Ooru?

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The Indian IT hub of Bangalore is about to be rebranded as Bengaluru in recognition of the original name of Benda Kaal Ooru - that's "boiled beans town" in the local Kannada lingo.

According to the Beeb, this rather unsavoury name came about when a king named Vira Ballala lost his way on a hunting expedition and was eventually offered boiled beans by an old lady. In recognition of this act of kindness, he named the place Benda Kaal Ooru.

Along came the Brits and, since they really couldn't be arsed to say Benda Kaal Ooru, they simplified the name to Bangalore. Nor can the locals apparently be arsed to say Benda Kaal Ooru, since the new moniker is the "phonetic variation" of the hard-to-pronounce original.

The new name was announced this week by chief minister of Karnataka state, Dharam Singh, in response to a demand from a group of Kannada-language writers. One of them, UR Ananthamurthy, reckons the locals already call the place Bengaluru, so no big deal.

Others disagree. Bob Hoekstra, Philips' local head honcho, told AP: "We have spent 15 years building Bangalore as an international brand and going back to the native name could hurt that brand. It is like going from Philips to Philippos."

There may still be hope for the Bangalore lobby - the name change is not yet official and must be cleared by the state legislature, the federal government and India's prez before the Bengalurians can legally refer to themselves as such. ®

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