'(The Blog) With No Name', perhaps best described as a stream of notes and thoughts - 'remembered, recovered and (sometimes) invented'.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


As is well-known, the Indian railways insists on imposing Hindi at all levels, all over India. Display of place names, time tables and all other info is mandatory in Hindi along with English and the local language - even in areas where Hindi is unknown. Whether the largest fonts and most prominent position should be reserved for Hindi or for the local language is often passionately (and sometimes violently) debated.

Ottapalam is a small railway station in Kerala (the local language is Malayalam and Hindi is very much a peripheral phenomenon). Here too, one can see time tables in Hindi as well as Malayalam and English. The tables have columns for train names, timings and their frequency (whether the train runs everyday or on certain specific days of the week). All three languages are treated equally, font-wise and otherwise.

In the 'frequency column' on the Hindi time table, it is written - for trains running everyday - in confident Devanagari script - 'divasOm'. For non-Mallus, this 'divasOm' is a colloquial corruption of the Malayalam phrase 'divasavum' (=daily); and it has nothing whatever to do with the actual Hindi word 'roz' for 'daily'. And I know this entry to have existed in the time-table for many a year!

Update (June 2009):
The other day, I saw, on a multi-lingual road direction board in Bangalore, written in confident Devnagari (Hindi) script: "Kempegauda Bus Nildana" - an exact transliteration of the Kannada phrase meaning "Kempegauda Bus Station". Of course, 'nildana' would make no sense whatever in Hindi.


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