Monday, February 20, 2006

Indian...What is in a name?

The desis are good at changing names of lackluster products in an effort to revitalize it. So, it comes as no surprise that the state run domestic airlines Indian Airlines will hence forth be called Indian. I can hear the cheers from the paint manufacturers and printers. They are expecting orders from the new Indian. But, to be fair Indian is not the first to do this and somehow I doubt if it would be the last.

Bombay became Mumbai, Madras became Chennai, Calicut became Kozhikode - All in the name of righting a wrong. Then, there were even more bizarre name changes – Victoria Terminus in Bombay became CST.

Indian just need to have looked at Air India and would have realized that the name change will not change the ground realities. Air India under Rajiv Gandhi changed its logo, upholstery etc… with much fanfare but they could  not change the attitude of the service personnel and nothing much came off the effort. A few years later  Air India went back to the old logo.

Now, how unique is the name Indian for an  airline? On a recent trip via Mumbai I had my answer – not that unique. South Africa has South African and Ethiopia has Ethiopian. These are the two  that I found on the tarmac in Mumbai.

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