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Monday, July 06, 2020

Tamil Nadu govt withdraws order on replacing anglicised versions of Tamil names of localities

Amongst some of the proposed changes were: Coimbatore – Koyampuththoor, Puducherry – Puthucherry, Vellore – Veeloor, Mylapore – Mayilaappoor, Ambattur – Ambaththoor, V.O.C Nagar – Va. Oo. Si Nagar, Tuticorin – Thooththukkudi, amongst others.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: June 18, 2020 10:46:32 pm
The spelling of Coimbatore, the second-largest city in the state, was changed to ‘Koyampuththoor’. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Tamil Nadu government Thursday withdrew its notification on replacing anglicised versions of Tamil names of at least 1,018 places in the state to match the Tamil pronunciation, saying it was working on alignment of views by experts on transliteration standards. The order was issued by the AIADMK government last week.

Minister for Tamil Official Language and Tamil Culture, K Pandiarajan said the government will reissue the order shortly after making necessary changes. “We are working on alignment of views by experts on Transliteration standards from Tamil to English. Hopefully, we should get this released in 2/3 days,” he said in a tweet.

According to a government release issued earlier, an announcement had been made to change the names of places and towns in Tamil Nadu in such a way that they have the same phonetics in English and Tamil during the Tamil Nadu budget allocation session for 2018-2019. This was mainly because certain places have different names in English and Tamil such as Triplicane in English and Thiruvallilkeni in Tamil.

A committee was also later formed to implement the changes after it had finalised the new spellings. The committee also took into account the recommendations of district officials.

The impact of changing over a thousand names officially in government records was said to be not only expensive but also a laborious process as signages were to be changed on highways and railway stations. Corrections were also to be made on government records, postal and attached services etc.

Amongst some of the proposed changes were: Coimbatore – Koyampuththoor, Puducherry – Puthucherry, Vellore – Veeloor, Mylapore – Mayilaappoor, Ambattur – Ambaththoor, V.O.C Nagar – Va. Oo. Si Nagar, Tuticorin – Thooththukkudi, amongst others.

The decision had brought mix reactions from the Tamil literary circle and citizens.

Theodore Bhaskaran, a historian familiar with the state’s modern history, had earlier said that the decision was “totally unwarranted” during a pandemic and blamed the government for not taking railways and the postal department in confidence before going for this massive project.

However, K Pandiarajan, Minister for Tamil Official Language and Tamil Culture had told The Indian Express that it was “long-pending project”.

“Major challenge was that it required correction in revenue, registration and local body departments, a massive task before us. There used to be strong resistance from these departments. Like Bombay became Mumbai and Madras became Chennai and Trivandrum became Thiruvananthapuram, it was important to preserve our native language and expressions in our place names and spellings,” he had said.

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