[Assam] Fw: Plea to change name of State to 'Aso m'-AT

Barua25 barua25 at hotmail.com
Thu Feb 9 19:52:31 PST 2006

Re: [Assam] Plea to change name of State to 'Aso m'-AT
Chandan, Ram & Others:
I just want to make another point.
When we adopt a Roman letter to represent a sound in Assamese, we should not try to bend backwards and worry if others will understand it and will be able to make the proper pronunciation. A case in point is the Spanish place names in America;
In this country, we have place names like SAN JOSE.  They could have written SAN HOJE the way it is pronounced to satisfy the English speakers.  
In Assamese also if we decide to write Chongkordev, Chiboxagor, Chapekhati, Choikia, Chorma, Chotriya, (ie if we decide to use Ch =Assamese Xo sound) we can do so and non Assamese will gradually pronounce it correctly. That way Assamese can show some original thinking and Assamese nationality.  Today the only reason we donot do that is to satisfy our big brother Indians because the X, Ch sound not there.

Another point I want to make is the following:

The Assamese try to use the vowel A sometime for the Assamese vowel Hosro O mainly because in Hindi and Sanskrit they use it. They also use the double vowel AA to represent the Dighro A. But it does not need to be a expert in phonetics to realize that this is wrong in Assamese. They do it because they have TWO As. Hosro A (which we call Hosro O) and Dihgho A.  Following is the explanation:

In Hindi, they DONOT pronounce the Hosro O as we Assamese do like O=Only.
They pronounce Hosro O like U=Up. 
Hosro A is pronounced as U=Up and Dirgho A is pronounced as A=Father.

Ignorant Assamese intellectuals and scholars decided to follow the big brother Hindi and Sanskrit without realizing that in Assamsese the Hosro O is actually pronounced as O=Only.

This is eveident if one observe some of the spelling to Hindi or Sanskrit words.
For instance, in Hindi the following words are spelled with Hosro O (ie Assamese O) in the first vowel.
Koman, Komiz, Komal, Chona, Bokos, but are pronounced as U=Up (Kaman, Kamiz, Kamal, Chana, Bakos etc.)

Thus in Hindi when they use the letter A for Hosro O, they are correct. Beacsue they pronounce the Hosro O = U as in Up.

But in Assamese we pronounce the Hosro O = O as in Only. Therefore we cannot and should NOT try to use A for Hosro O only simply because our big brother Hindiwala are using it.

In the word Asom also, it applies.  Looking at the letter A, a Hindiwala will pronounce it Usom but not Osom.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Chan Mahanta 
  To: Rajen Barua ; Ram Sarangapani 
  Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2006 3:29 PM
  Subject: Re: [Assam] Plea to change name of State to 'Aso m'-AT

  That was a good set of recommendations Rajen

  I agree with most of it.

  One of the difficulties our Oxomiya compatriots have in regard to the choice of vowels 'a' or 'o' in case of Oxom for example, is that they got used to the 'a' vowel serving both as an amar or omor ( immortal). I guess it has something to do with how the British pronounce the 'a' vowel and handed it down to desis. Here in the USA, we don't use 'a' for both 'e' or 'o' sounds--a more logical way to pronounce I believe. For us it is more intuitive to use the 'o' for Oxom, instead of 'a' as in 'axom' or 'asom'. Add to that the POLITICAL problem certain kharkhowas have with the use of the 'x' letter to transliterate or 'xo' sound.

  But I agree, if it is changed, it should be to 'Oxom'.


  At 2:07 PM -0600 2/9/06, Rajen Barua wrote:
    Letter to the Editor:

    The Assam Tribune:

    Dear Sir,
    I am writing this letter in reference to a letter published in your paper by the President of Asom Sahitya Sabha suggesting to change to name of Assam to Asom. I completely oppose the suggestion. I am not opposed to change of place names. But let us keep things in perspective. The only reason for name change is to make sure that others  'pronounce' the name of a place the way the natives pronounce. That is the only reason.
    Therefore the world has gone through a cycle of name change of places specially where the strong headed British named the places as their wish.
    So we reasonably changed

    Peking to Beijing
    Bombay to Mumbai
    Dacca to Dhaka
    Calcutta to Kolkata
    Madras to Chennai
    Ceylon to Srilanka
    Gauhati to Guwahati
    Cittagong to Sttagram

    In the same line we should do some more changes to the following names, if we want to.
    Sapekhati to Xapekhati or Chapekhati
    Sibsagar to Xiboxagor or Chiboxagor
    Sankardev to Xongkordeb
    Sharma to Xorma or Chorma
    Saikia to Xoikia or Choikia
    Parishad to Porixod
    because that is how we prononce these words.
    Or we don't have to change.

    Now when it comes to place names like Assam, Bengal, Singapore or India we should think very deeply and see what we are trying to do.
    The words Assam, Bengal, Singapore and India etc have their own historical background of development.

    In fact the word Oxom and Assam was developed, we may say, in parallel. Although the word Oxom was used since 13th century, during the British days the words Oxom and Axam both were used interchangeably. At the same time word Assam was developed separately by the British from the word Axam.
    Now during these almost two hundred years, the word Assam become like a international 'brand name' with Assam Tea Company, Assam Company, Assam Oil Company, ART Company, etc so much so that today Assam has its own recognition simply from its name Assam.

    Now if we want to change the name Assam, first, we must realize that we are going to loose that international recognition, an issue which we Assamese so much complain of.
    Second even inspite of that we want to change the names the way we pounce then let us change to the right spelling
    Let us Change
    Assam to Oxom.
    India to Bharat
    Bengal to Bangla
    Singapore Singhapur
    Before Asom Sahitya Sabha suggests changing the name of Assam to Asom, let us suggest that let Asom Sahitya Sabha change its name to Oxom Xahiytya Xobha.
    Otherwise it should not open its mouth in areas where definitely showing its incompetence of leadership.
    Assam has too many problem, nut let us not try to create new ones.
    Otherwise we will have to start s slogan
    Tej dim kintu Assam nidiw.
    Rajen Barua, Houston, USA

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Ram Sarangapani
      To: Rajen Barua
      Cc: ASSAMNET ; Vikramjit Kakati
      Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2006 12:37 PM
      Subject: Re: [Assam] Plea to change name of State to 'Asom'-AT


      Maybe, they don't like the 'X' factor. It looks now 'Sibsagar'  has become 'Sivasagar'.

      I personally (and usually) do not see the need for name changes specially for cities and states.

      One wonders if things were not working right when the old names existed? For example, what has benefitted Kolkata or Chennai or Mumbai or others after the name transformation? How has Guwahati become different after the name change?

      The bigger question is why has it taken so long for the Assamese(or others for that matter) to realize that all this time they were calling their state/city by a 'wrong name'. Why did this all too important matter come up after all these years?


      On 2/9/06, Rajen Barua <barua25 at hotmail.com> wrote:

        There is another falacy in the request.
        The word Assam in an Englished name of the Assamese word Oxom
        Like the word India is of Bharat.
        Before making such nonsense request Asom Sahitya Sabha should ponder why we are not try to change the name of India to Bharat.
        Asom Sahitya Sabha should concentrate on better things than trying to get into something outside its scope.
        This is called Nologa jengot loga
        I say Hobo Diok.
        Rajen Barua

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Ram Sarangapani
          To: ASSAMNET
          Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2006 10:37 AM
          Subject: [Assam] Plea to change name of State to 'Asom'-AT

          This is interesting. Why 'Asom' though? Why not Oxom or Axom?
          In the do such changes make a difference? And there would be expenses too. I would venture that once major problems in Assam (Asom) have been dealt with, one can play around with the name.

          Plea to change name of State to 'Asom'
          By A Staff Reporter
           GUWAHATI, Feb 8 - Learned circles have called for restoration of the original name of the State, 'Asom,' in place of the existing 'Assam,' as they feel the former alone can truly represent the unique culture, heritage and history of the State. The name of a place is not just something that has a simple, insignificant association with it. More often than not, it reflects the history, culture and heritage of the land and the people inhabiting it. The name is the key that holds the identity of the place and unveils its past, often transcending history and going back to the days of myths and legends. And Asom is no exception to this rule. That the roots of the name Asom lie in ethnicity is all too evident.

          Eminent litterateur and former Sahitya Sabha president Chandra Prasad Saikia, has been among the ardent votaries of Asom. In the editorial of the literary magazine Gariyoshi's February issue, Saikia says that continuing with the name Assam is against the ethos and spirit of Assamese nationalism. "It is perfectly desirable that the name by which a particular people identifies their State should also be the name of that State for all purposes," he says. "The name Asom will also be able to convey best the wishes, aspirations and sentiments of the people at the national as well as international level," he adds.

          Saikia also opposes the spelling 'Asam' for the original name, as it would be more or less similar to 'Assam.'

          The British had effected changes in the original names of many places of the country. This was primarily to suit their convenience and without giving any regard to local history and culture or to local sentiment. However, after India's independence, many States restored the original names - Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh, Kolkata, etc., being a few of these. In Assam too, the British 'Gauhati' was changed to Guwahati, 'Nowgong' to Nagaon and very recently 'Sibsagar' to Sivasagar.

          Saikia is also optimistic that the different ethnic communities of the State will not oppose reinstating the name Asom. "The word Assam in no way helps the growth of their language, literature and culture. Although the word Assamese originates from Asom, Asom - which stands for 'the unmatched' - has an exclusive meaning," he says.

          Urging the people to lend their voices to the cause, Saikia says that as the first step, the State Government should begin with using the word Asom in the place of Assam in all official exercises. Next, it must mount pressure on the Centre to circulate Asom at the all-India level. Moreover, it is time the various organizations related to the State's cultural and educational spheres put up a united and forceful stand on the issue.

          It may be mentioned that the State Government had issued a circular for using the word Asom for all official purposes but its implementation has not at all materialized.


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