Posts Tagged ‘Bangalore’

Language and Bombay and Madras and Calcutta

August 17, 2014

During the period when Suresh Prabhu and Anant Geete were Ministers of Power in India I used to have to follow up any discussions with them about power projects with visits to the head of their party, Bal Thackeray, in Bombay. (They were in their posts as representatives of the Shiv Sena Party in the then BJP led coalition but had little freedom to act on their own. The Shiv Sena was embodied in Bal Thackeray and he always had the final word). Bal Thackeray and the Shiv Sena had led the very vocal, sometimes violent and parochially nationalist movement to change the name of “Bombay” to “Mumbai” in 1995. I have found all these “nationalist” movements – whether in Bombay or Madras or Calcutta or Delhi or Bangalore – to be small-minded, rooted in insecurity and representing a deeply-felt  – but real – inferiority.

On my first meeting with Bala-saheb I was given strict protocol instructions by one of his aides before being ushered into the sanctum sanctorum at Mathoshree. I was to make sure that I always referred to “Mumbai” and not to “Bombay”. At the end of the audience I was expected to end my taking leave of him with the words “Jai Maharashtra” (long live Maharashtra). I remember asking the aide then whether, if I said “Bombay”, he would not understand what I meant. As he spluttered and I entered, I remember telling him that while I had no desire to insult anybody, I used language and words and names to best communicate my meaning.

In the event, in about 6 or 7 meetings over a number of years with Bal Thackeray, I never once used the terms “Mumbai” or “Jai Maharashtra“. But I did not go out of my way to use “Bombay” excessively or to provoke. I do not recall that Bala-saheb was ever discomfited or upset at my use of language (or non-use of “Mumbai”), or that we had any difficulty in getting our messages across to each other.

I grew up with “Bombay” and it evokes for me a world of glamour and wealth but also of modernity and substance and rectitude. As a child we lived in Poona (not Pune) and travelled through Bombay regularly. Bombay was avant-garde. “Mumbai” for me conjures up an old dirty village. A picture of slums and unfinished construction and uncollected garbage and rotting mill buildings. All very subjective of course but names and language are about communicating meanings. I note that the international airport designation of Bombay remains “BOM”. Since it takes an Act of Parliament to change it, the “High Court of Bombay” remains the “High Court of Bombay” in Mumbai. The Bombay Electric Supply & Tramways Company Limited (B.E.S. & T Co.Ltd) remains BEST but the “B” now stands for “Brihanmumbai” (meaning Greater Bombay). The name of the main railway station Victoria Terminus (VT) was changed to Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus but it is still referred to by everybody as VT. “Bollywood” remains “Bollywood” and I see no moves to make that “Mullywood”. Bombay Gin would not taste the same as Mumbai Gin. Bombay duck is far superior to Mumbai duck. In the 2000’s I used to stay at a guest house on Malabar Hill. Taxi drivers know exactly what I mean when I refer to Flora Fountain or Cuffe Parade or Kemp’s Corner or Napean Sea Road. The magic of Marine Drive on a misty evening is still untouched. Bombay, Meri Jaan is still the original song with Dev Anand in the movie CID.

The politically correct name is “Mumbai” and foreigners – especially – are very concerned about being politically correct. When I use “Bombay” I have no fear of being misunderstood. And even ardent Marathi nationalists understand exactly what I mean when I say “Bombay”, and the cleverer ones (there are not many of them) may even understand that I don’t think much of their rabid parochialism.

I finished my schooling in Calcutta and my image of the city has to mirror that reality. I am not misunderstood today when I still refer to Calcutta rather than Kolkata. The Calcutta High Court is still going strong. The international airport code is still CCU. Back in 1963 the British Council Library on Theatre Road was one of my favourite haunts. The name of the road was changed to Shakespeare Sarani but when I was there earlier this year – 50 years on –  taxi drivers still referred to Theatre Road (and did not even know that there was any other name). School was on Park Street and Park Circus is just as congested as it always was. Lansdowne Road  and many others have been renamed, but the old names live on. Bangalore remains Bangalore for me and Bengaluru does not trip off my tongue very easily – if at all. In Delhi CP is the supposedly defunct Connaught Place but it is still CP and not Rajiv Gandhi Chowk. Madras airport remains MAA and the Madras High Court is now located in Chennai. Mount Road is still Mount Road and everybody knows where Parry’s corner is.

I am told that Mumbai and Chennai and Kolkata and Bengaluru are the only “correct” forms but that is just a rather empty political statement. There are no rights or wrongs with language. There are only successful communications or misunderstood ones. There is no correctness about grammar – only compliance with a prevailing usage. My point is that as with grammar so with names. Inventing words or rules of grammar – or names – is of little account if the invented terms are not used.

Maybe the old names will be forgotten in a generation or two – or maybe not. The reality of usage always trumps the desires of  “political correctness”.

Nightmare continues: Panel falls off Air India Dreamliner in flight

October 15, 2013

A new problem every few days for Boeing with their Dreamliner but their share price does not seem to be much affected:

The Hindu: 

An Air India Boeing 787 Dreamliner. File photo

An Air India Boeing 787 Dreamliner. File photo

A large panel in the belly of a Bangalore-bound Dreamliner of Air India fell off mid-air, putting about 150 passengers on board at a grave risk, but the aircraft landed safely.

The DGCA is probing the incident which occurred on Saturday when an 8X4 feet panel in the fuselage fell off while the plane was on its way to Bangalore from Delhi, leaving a gaping hole in the cargo hold, official sources said.

There were 148 persons, including the crew, on board flight AI-803 which landed safely at the Bangalore airport, the sources said, adding that the hole was noticed by the ground staff when they came to inspect the aircraft for its return journey.

A spare panel was flown to Bangalore and fitted on the Boeing 787, which was later declared fit to fly. But the return flight was delayed by over nine hours, they said.

Confirming the incident, airline officials said a panel had fallen off but was replaced and the aircraft was cleared for flights.

“Yes, there was a gaping hole. During the normal transit inspection, it was observed. Engineers immediately rectified it,” an AI official said requesting anonymity.

“It was not an emergency. There was no safety problem,” he added.

Besides long-haul international operations, Air India operates the Dreamliners on domestic routes like from Delhi to Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata.


Light blogging for 2 weeks

November 30, 2011

I am on an assignment in India and blogging will be light for a couple of weeks.

In a rainy and cool Bangalore where I haven’t seen the sun in 4 days — but traffic is horrendous:

New elevated highways provide car parking!!!

Aero India 2011 kicks off tomorrow: MMRCA and technology transfer are the issues of the day

February 8, 2011

The 5 day Aero India 2011 airshow kicks off tomorrow in Bangalore and is expected to attract over 600 equipment vendors from over 60 countries. It also brings to a head the discussions within India as to how to stimulate the indigenous aviation industry and whether offset requirements in defence procurement are effective. There is a school of thought that technology transfer should be used and that offset requirements do not contribute to developing the industry. In the background is the competition for the $10 billion, 126 MMRCA aircraft contract that must be decided in March / April.

DNA reports:

In the premier Indian defence journal, Maj Gen (Retd) Mrinal Suman — who retired from the Indian Army in 2003 and currently heads the defence technical assessment and advisory service of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) — prescribes that India, at present, urgently needs FDI in the defence and military aviation sector which is technology-centric with inherent flexibility. He has suggested that FDI could be 26% for low-tech products, while it could be 51%-74% for matured systems, and 75%-100% for cutting edge technologies.

Maj Gen Suman has decried the drastic fall in defence exports from ordnance factories from Rs41.07 crore in 2008-09 to a mere Rs12.28 crore in 2009-10, and has called it “a reflection of the nature of quality items being produced indigenously”. He has called for significantly increasing FDI and private sector’s participation in defence production and manufacture instead of just restricting to doors and frames of aircraft bodies. Suman also blasted India’s offset policy which envisages Indian companies to manufacture components worth 30% of any deal bagged by a foreign company as a seller to India. He termed it a “flawed policy” as it was not contributing to upgrading the indigenous technological base. He instead suggested that the current offset policy be amended to make transfer of technology the preferred mode.

While this is expected to take centre-stage at Aero India 2011, the intensifying contest for winning India’s $10 billion contract to procure 126 medium-weight multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCAs) will undoubtedly be the second most important issue in focus.

Not surprisingly, this is the first time ever that all six contenders for the contract are participating at an Aero India show — Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Super Viper (both from USA), MiG Corporation’s MiG-35 (Russian), Dassault’s Rafale (French), EADS’s Eurofighter Typhoon (European Union’s) and SAAB’s Grippen (Swedish).

The contest between these six, this time round, will be there for all to see with these aircraft displaying their skills and manoeuvrability to win the hearts of the Indian Air Force and ministry of defence experts who are expected to place a finger on one of them for procurement.

The IAF is procuring the 126 MMRCAs to bolster its depleting squadron strength. The IAF squadron strength is at present below the sanctioned strength — just 34 squadrons as against the sanctioned strength of thirty-nine-and-a-half.

There is a formidable Russian presence at the air show.

Russia will exhibit over 80 types of weaponry and will be represented by 35 companies at the upcoming Aero India 2011 air show, state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport said in a statement.
Russia will be represented by 35 companies, including MiG , Sukhoi, Almaz-Antei and Engineering Design Bureau.
Russia will traditionally promote MiG-35 and Su-35 fighter jets, the Yak-130 combat trainer, two versions of Il-76MD transport plane (with different engines), the Il-78MK aerial tanker and MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB naval fighters.
The Be-200 amphibious aircraft will most likely be one of the top attractions of the Russian exhibit as its popularity with foreign customers steadily grows. The plane could be used in a wide variety of roles, from maritime reconnaissance and rescue to firefighting.
Rosoboronexport and Russian helicopters will show the Mi-28NE attack helicopter, the light multirole Ka-226T and the heavy transport Mi-26. All three helicopters are currently taking part in separate Indian helicopter tenders.
The visitors will also be able to receive information about the Mi-35M combat transport helicopter, the Kamov Ka-31 radar surveillance helicopter and the Ansat and Kamov Ka-32A11BS multi-role helicopters.
The air defence part of the Russian exhibit will be represented by the Tor-M2E, the S-300VM, the Buk-M2E and the Tunguska-M1 systems.


Airbus engineering to grow in India

October 3, 2010
Airbus A320 (9M-AFA) der Air Asia

Airbus A 320: Wikipedia

The Telegraph:

Airbus expects India to need around 1,000 new planes over the next 20 years, compared with 3,000 in China. Air traffic has expanded by 16pc in India this year.

Airbus, which has 68 per cent Indian market share, as measured by orders, believes it can build on its current success by selling more aircraft. The European plane maker is also building relationships on the ground. It has 25 partners in India, eight of them top-tier suppliers. Airbus is also leaning more and more on Indian engineers.

The company will decide this week whether to go ahead with its next development programme, a new engine for the single-aisle A320 plane that generates much of Airbus’s profit. “Airbus has never made a secret that our engineering resources are stretched thin,” Mr Enders said during a two-day visit to Airbus’s Indian operations in Bangalore last week. “We’re taking this decision very seriously because we cannot afford that other programmes, especially the 350, should suffer.”

At its base in Bangalore, Airbus has 160 engineers working on the A350 and A380 programmes in conjunction with staff in France, Germany and Britain. The company plans to have 200 staff at the engineering centre by the end of the year and 400 by 2013. India produces around 350,000 engineering graduates a year, about 25pc of which Airbus describes as “employable”. “I don’t think 400 is going to be the final number, there is a huge pool of talent we can tap into,” said Mr Enders. “In terms of the work we sub-contract, there’s a lot more to come.”

In the past, most of the work done for Airbus by external suppliers has been making parts of the airframe, and while some manufacturing work is now being done in India, it is the engineering and technology base that is more attractive, Mr Enders said. “IT, simulations, technical publication – all these are things which India is particularly good at,” he said.

It makes sense and is inevitable that more will shift to India and China – where the market is.

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