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Why Rename States, Cities, Airports, Buildings and Streets?

ET Cases, 15 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Syed Abdul Samad and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Case Preview

Why Rename States, Cities, Airports, Buildings and Streets?

In October 2016, Gurgaon city was officially renamed as Gurugram, more than six months after the process to rename the city was initiated (in April 2016) by the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar of Haryana State Government. The decision to change the name of Gurgaon had been taken on the basis of the representations received at several fora. The legend has it that the town derived its name from the name of Guru Dronacharya the village was given as "gurudakshina" to him by his students, the Pandavas, and hence it came to be known as Gurugram, which in course of time got distorted to Gurgaon. Hence, a case of going back to the cultural heritage. While the youngsters felt that the name did not go down well with the image of the city and sounded old-fashioned, opposition parties termed it a cosmetic measure and advised the government to better concentrate on improving the infrastructure in the city.

Another interesting case that is in the making, is the renaming of the state of West Bengal to Bangla (Bengal in English and Bangal in Hindi) which was proposed in August 2016, to align with the local language (read pronunciation) preferences.

Renaming isn’t a new trend. The British left India in 1947, but they left behind quite a bit of baggage — like jacket-and-tie dress codes, a passion for cricket and English and Anglicized names. Ever since, India found itself deeply clutched with the memories of its former rulers who changed (or anglicized) many things in order to diminish the identity of the nation. Most of the places were named after the British Lords, Viceroys and Governor Generals. To free itself from these haunting memories and cherish a new identity (created based on the sacrifice of millions of Indians in the freedom struggle), India began assigning new Indian names or restoring their original names. Kingsway and Queensway were among the first avenues to be renamed Rajpath and Janpath but rechristening of many other streets/cities happened decades later and was still an ongoing affair...................

Discussion Questions

I. What is your name? What does it mean? Why did your parents choose that name for you? Does your name suit with your character or attributes? On what basis, do you think your parents would have chosen your name? What do you like the most about your name?

II. Have you changed your name? If yes, why and how many times? If not, why not?



Exhibit I: Few Renamed Cities and States of India

Exhibit II: Procedures for Renaming a City/State


Annexure I: Renaming of States, Union Territories, Cities and Towns

Annexure II: Old and Renamed Street/Road Names in Mumbai

Annexure III: Renamed Government Schemes

Teaching Note Preview

Why Rename States, Cities, Airports, Buildings and Streets?


The purpose of this Teaching Plan is neither to outline the answers to Case Debate’s discussion questions nor to suggest an ideal way of conducting an effective debate basis the given topic. It is more to share the authors’ perspectives, basis their classroom orchestration of this Case Debate, on possible ways of orchestrating this Case Debate.

Purpose of the Case Debate

Purpose of this Case Debate, which is a prelude to the Case Method of Teaching, is to inculcate the following skills [Exhibit (TP)-I] that would amply benefit the participants during their careers......

As this Case Debate is based on a very generic topic, the purpose is not to dwell into only the research-based inputs but more to prepare the students/participants for the process of case discussion – except that while the case discussion would be based on the case facts, the Case Debate encourages the students/participants to present their ideas with no rigorous business dilemma.....................



Exhibit (TP)-II: Classroom Orchestration Plan – Why Rename Cities?

Rs 0
Product code: BM-9-0021, BM-9-0021A


A famous quote by Shakespeare had once raised the question, "What's in a name?" If the Indian history of renaming cities be considered, it could have been concluded that 'Name' would be a reminder of the glorious past, connect to the regional vernacular, the trauma of the colonial rule, the sacrifices of people during the freedom struggle, patriotism, and so on. Re-visiting and attempting to wipe out the past is common in any post-colonial country. Ever since the British left India in 1947, many cities, streets, places, and buildings throughout India were changed back to their original names. Certain traditional names that have not been changed, however, continue to be popular. One of the biggest challenges that faced the new leaders of the independent India, was to wipe out the colonial legacy, unify the country and inculcate patriotism in the masses. One way devised to achieve this was through renaming states, cities and streets in a way to reflect Indian heritage and impart a local identity. However, with the passage of time, renaming of states, cities, airports, buildings and streets seemed to have become more of vote-bank appeasement tool than imbued with lofty goals. While there is no study either to prove or disprove the relationship between renaming of a state/city/street with either economic development or promoting the spirit of 'legacy', the renaming was as at exchequer's cost. In some cases, there were protests and petitions against renaming. This Case Debate is an attempt to indulge the participants in debating on an evocative issue of renaming. This Case Debate helps the participants in understanding the benefits, challenges and economics of the process of renaming the cities.

This Case Debate centers around: (a) Why are the Indian cities renamed? (b) What is the process of renaming of a state/city or a street? (c) What purpose does any renaming achieve? (d) What are the challenges and costs involved in the process? (e) What should be the basis for renaming?

Purpose of this Case Debate, which is a prelude to the Case Method of Teaching, is to inculcate the following skills that would amply benefit the participants during their careers:

(a) Ideation
(b) Discussion and Debate
(c) Empathy
(d) Appreciation

Case Debate Positioning

This Case Debate can be used for either of the following:

  • MBA Program – Brand Management Course – Names and Logos module – What is the purpose of renaming of States, Cities, Buildings, Airports, Streets? What could be the implications of re-branding a state, building, an airport, a city or a street on the local, regional, national and international fronts? What are the financial implications of renaming cities and streets have on the government, businesses and public?
  • Undergraduate Programs/BBA Program: To discuss the reasons for the renaming of Indian states, cities, airports, buildings and streets and sensitize the participants to the positive and negative impacts of renaming states/cities/streets on the government and the people in general.

This Case Pack Includes:
- Abstract
- Case Debate
- Teaching Plan (**ONLY for Academicians)

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