Saturday, May 12, 2007

On renaming of islands in the Andaman and Nicobar

There have been some interesting responses related to the renaming of the islands in the Andaman and Nicobar that have appeared in an ongoing discussion on ‘andamanicobar’ an active yahoo group dedicated to the issues of the islands.
I am pasting a selection here…If you would like to join the ediscussion group please write to me at

while there is a race to change the names of the islands it is absurd to change them to the names of warriors who were defeated by the Britishers. Why don't we rename all these islands, if they have to be , by their original names still intact in Andamanese languages? We have been fortunate in collecting indigenous names for all of the relevant islands.
Prof. Anvita Abbi
Centre For Linguistics
School of language, Literature and Culture Studies
Jawaharlal Nehru University
New Delhi 110067, India
Phone +91-11-26704234 [Uni]
+91-11-26172401 [Res]

Thanks Anvita.
Can you also please give us a few examples of this? Are there for instance Andamanese names of islands in the Ritchies's archipelago - Havelock, Neil.
Also other places on South, Middle or North Andaman islands?
Pankaj Sekhsaria
C/o Kalpavriksh
Apt. 5, Sri Dutta Krupa,
908 Deccan Gymkhana
Pune 411004, India
Tel: 020 - 25654239

Dear Anvita,
I completely agree with you-- this would afford many opportunities at once- primarily one of knowing what the Andamanese language sounds like and how they named these islands-- no doubt these would be based on some special characterisitc of each island-- related to flora/fauna or anything else—a great way to bring in these ideas into the public realm. I can well imagine that perhaps some children's publishing/ creative writers and illustrators coudl use what you know to produce something based on this for children!Should we ask our friends in this sector? God knows whether administration or any one else would take note of this idea, but if implemented in this way, it will certainly capture the imaginaiton of the next geenration!
Warm regards,

Madhulika Banerjee
Reader, Department of Political Science
University of Delhi, Delhi 110007.
XB4 Sahvikas Society
68 Patparganj
Delhi 110092.
Phone : 011-2223 1846 (home)
98 181 81661 (mobile)

Hi Pankaj!
For Discussion sake. If one is keen to rename the Islands, (which I personaly should not be done) why not name them after those Freedom Fighters who have spent their life in " Kalapani" or heros like Sher Ali who stabed Lord Mayo to death here in the Islands. Certainly not those who even did not know about the existance of these Islands.

Col. KV Cherian

Renaming the islands with heroes and zeroes is absolutly absured- in any context- but we have people who can only see and think so far. A couple of years ago i had placed layers of names- Andamanese, british and Indian for the islands and places which have them or such-it looks quite nice- Wonder if the renaming lobby would care to take a look- there are stories in these transformations and quite interesting too.

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