‘Rename Udhagamandalam as Ooty’

Making a plea to rename Udhagamandalam as Ooty, Dharmalingam Venugopal, of Nilgiris Documentation Centre (NDC) and coordinator for Vote for Ooty, says that continuing to call Ooty as Udhagamandalam makes no economic or cultural sense.

He added that over 26 lakh tourists visited Ooty last year. Of these, 60 per cent was from Kerala and Karnataka. Others came from all over India and outside. Ooty was the only name known to them.

The name Ootacamund had been in use since 1821. Over time, it got shortened to Ooty, by which it is known world over.

In 1972, the name was abruptly changed to ‘Udhagamandalam’. The change of name had since been a source of confusion and inconvenience for tourists. Many think Ootacamund and Udhagamandalam were two different places. Besides, visitors often mistook ‘Udhyogomandal’ in Kerala for Udhagamandalam.

M.B. Emeneau, an authority on all Dravidian languages, had clearly documented the origin of the name several decades ago. Where Stone house (the first house built in Ootacamund by its founder John Sullivan) now stands, there was formerly a Toda mund, called by the Badagas as ‘Hottegemund’ and later as the British developed the place, the whole town was called by that name.

Considering the national and global importance of Ooty, the State and the Centre should restore the name Ooty in English and Udhagai in Tamil. It would be most appropriate if the change was made this year as Ooty Municipality celebrated its 150 anniversary.

Vote for Ooty, a coalition of local stakeholders, would raise this as an election issue in the coming Assembly polls, he added.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 12:15:24 AM |

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