Monday, August 23, 2010

Pugh the Bug

There is going to be yet another round of road re-naming in the city quite soon. The obvious targets in this drive are the 'British' names, which are to be replaced by ones which are more representative of the Chennai-ness of the city, rather than its Madras-ity. Several rounds of such re-naming have taken place earlier, with varying degrees of success. TTK Road still answers to Moubray's Road, but Pasumpon Muthuramalingam Salai does not ring the Chamier's Road bell.

One attempt was made to include the old name in this sign. Sundaram refers to a prayer hall (?) further down the lane, which explains the plaque below the road sign. But "Bugys Road"? (In the Tamizh version above, it easily reads as "Bugs Road"). Well, that's a little bit of weathering and mis-spelling at work. In the early 1800s, the senior partner of the firm Pugh & Breithaupt bought some land on the stretch between Chamier's Road and the Adayar river. When his garden house was built there, he called the place Pugh's Gardens. Naturally (for that time), the road leading to Pugh's Gardens came to be called Pugh's Road. Over a couple of centuries, not only has the road been re-named, but Mr. Joseph Pugh has had the misfortune of his own name being mangled beyond recognition!

1 comment:

chorinchath said...

I remember to have read in Readers Digest years back, that the President of a newly independent African country wanted to erase all marks of the Commonwealth & announced that from the next day all motorists would observe righthand traffic.The embarassed Tpt Minister rushed to him to remind that the drivers were to be educated etc. The president made a correction that next day onwards the light vehicles would observe risghthand traffic & heavy vehicles left hand traffic!!!!!