My Circle, your Circle, whose Circle is it?

Circle renaming fine, but has it really made a difference?

Mysuru: Our city is continuously going through the phase of renaming where Circles, roads and junctions are renamed after prominent personalities. So much so that the well-known names of particular roads, in practice from the days of the British Raj, are renamed to either localise the area or to name them in remembrance of leaders – remember how Madras became Chennai and Bombay became Mumbai. The latest prominent city to be renamed soon is Gujarat’s Ahmedabad that will be renamed as Karnavati.

Coming back to Mysuru where a host of roads and Circles have been renamed after well-known political, spiritual and social personalities, one wonders what difference has it made after rechristening? Surprisingly, renaming of streets and localities has evoked little protest from the people. In fact, this has been welcomed by the people and the area Corporators.

The purpose of renaming is to recall the contribution of personalities to the society. They are renamed so that people passing by that Circle or on that road can recollect the services of that particular person in whose name the road or Circle exists. In a way, names of personalities are a landmark from where people can take inspiration to do something good for the society.

But unfortunately, most of the names of the Circles or roads have retained their old names in popular parlance and despite renaming people call the places by their old names. The classic example here is Jayachamaraja Wadiyar Circle. Ask an autorickshaw driver to take you to Jayachamaraja Wadiyar Circle, he will be confused. But if you say its old name (Hardinge Circle or ‘6 Gate’), he will immediately recognise the place.

An exception to this, however, is the Krishnarajendra Circle and the Chamaraja Circle as these two names have been well-etched in public memory. Even many would not know that K.R. Circle stands for Krishnarajendra Circle though almost everyone who comes to the city invariably passes through the K.R. Circle.

Likewise, everyone recognises Metropole Circle as it is near the landmark Metropole Hotel but many would not recognise its new name — Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa Circle. Similarly, take an auto and say FTS Circle and the auto driver takes you there without any confusion. But if you mention B.R. Ambedkar Circle (the new name of FTS Circle), the auto driver might ask you the route.

The Fountain Circle still retains its old name as there is a fountain there instead of its new name – Dr. Rajkumar Circle. The Circle on the Bengaluru Road near LIC Head Office is seldom called by its new name – T.N. Narasimhamurthy Circle. The Circle is still called LIC Circle or Millennium Circle. Akashavani Circle retains its old name in conversations instead of its new name – Ta.Ra.Su Circle named after famous Kannada littérateur Ta.Ra. Subbarao.

Similarly, old names like Highway Circle (new name Moulana Abul Kalam Azad Circle), Nanjumalige Circle (Kanaka Circle), BGS Apollo Hospital Circle (Sri Balagangadharanatha Swamiji Circle), Ballal Circle (Ashoka Circle), Akshaya Bhandar Circle (Prof. U.R. Ananthamurthy Circle), Vontikoppal Sri Lakshmivenkataramanaswamy Temple Circle (B.C. Lingaiah, Chikkannadasa Circle), Railway Station Circle (Babu Jagjivan Ram Circle), RTO Circle (Srikanteshwara Iyer Circle), Vijaya Bank Circle (former CM S. Nijalingappa Circle), Jayanagar Railway Bridge Circle (Kannegowda Circle), Kantharaj Urs Road-K.G. Koppal Junction (freedom fighter Barakki Ramegowda Circle), Bogadi Road-Manasagangothri Campus Junction (P.R. Thippeswamy Circle), Paduvarahalli Signal (S. Venkataramaiah Circle), SDM-MMK Circle (Vedanta Hemmige Circle) MUDA Circle (new name Jois Circle) have been retained when the public mention these Circles in their day-to-day activities. New names are hardly mentioned and even if they are mentioned by the new names, there may be very few to recognise that Circle.

Forget Circles, even some roads that have been renamed have retained their old names. For example, the Bus Depot Road at Bannimantap which is seldom called Nelson Mandela Road. Likewise, Old RMC Road is still referred by its old name instead of being called Sheshadri Iyer Road. No one will recognise the Chikkaboraiah Road in Vijayanagar but if you call by its old name – High Tension Road – everyone will recognise the same.

So, what is the solution for this problem and how to tackle this? Do our duties end after a Circle or a road is renamed? No. Efforts must be initiated to make the new names familiar by constantly mentioning them so that they can be retained in memory. School and college students must be sensitised about the new names and must be told about the purpose of renaming the particular Circle after a famous personality.

Also, the new names must figure in display boards outside the buses and at the same time announced inside the bus either by the conductor or through the automatic electronic announcement system. Rallies and marathons can be organised through these Circles so that the names become familiar.

By S.B. Devaraju

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