The world hardly resides in a sphere of existence that does not harbour the probability of doing a full circle. All through, what goes around comes around. And while this might be an adage not suited to what concerns our interest today, it still remains as relevant as ever. Exploring the trails of travel have landed us in a world of dualities whereby we discover with some part surprise and some part delight the many identical existences that dot the arena of the global space. For instance, a lot many Indian cities have lend their names to a lot many less or more popular global places of which we are lesser aware. Below we single out some of the most striking ‘adaptations’ that these global destinations have encompassed in varied parts of the world-
The capital of India, Delhi is a place boasting an aggregate of emotions that indeed stands as a testimony to the unity running through the uniqueness in diversity of our mighty country. However while this city is the one and only capital of India, it seems that it itself is not exclusive to us. Well the city most certainly is, the name though not so much.
There indeed exists cities named Delhi in not just one but three other countries of the world. Most prominent of these would be its small town presence in the USA region of New York. Named indeed after the Delhi of our own in honor of its founder Ebenzer Foote who was known as The Great Moghul and pronounced as something like Del- hy, this shared name and pronunciation extends also to the American country of Canada. Located in Ontario and known as the Heart of Tobacco Country, this Canadian town came to be known as Delhi in 1856 courtesy a postmaster honoring the then British dominion over India. And yet, despite their relative prominence, these two Delhis aren’t the only namesakes of our capital within the American identity.
The US itself has at least a dozen such places that are named Delhi, mostly in reference to the Indian capital. Distinctive however is the Delhi of California that was so named because of its locational proximity to the Delta-Highline Canal. Beyond the continent of America, Delhi persists in its popularity through its second Asian presence in China. Known also as Delingha, the etymology of this rather small city has its origins in the Mongolian language and means golden world.
India’s famed city of the Nawabs, noted for the tehzeeb of its disposition and the exquisite essence of its very being, Lucknow is the capital of the state of Uttar Pradesh. But the global eminence of this name that seems so very English but sounds essentially and innately Indian spans also the expanse of a couple other continents. Named after this flamboyant presence within the Indian concerns is the Lucknow of Pennsylvania in the US as well as the namesake community in Canada’s Ontario region. Even the Scottish hamlet of Lucknow takes after the Indian nomenclature, not surprising given that the Scot link is also explored amply in the Canadian version of Lucknow.
A couple other Lucknows venture into the continental expanse of Australia with a Victorian and another New South Wales identity. A rural Lucknow manifests its presence closer home to India in the Andaman Island, remarkable beyond the prominence of its name as being a village boasting of a literacy rate that exceeds even the entire islandic average.
Yet another capital city of an Indian state that inspired the name of a lush green village in faraway Scotland is the Bihari identity of Patna. Founded in 1802 by William Fullarton who was born in the Patna of India, the Scottish hamlet was established to provide provisions of housing to the workers of the coalfields. Quite steeped in the Indian essence is this peaceful little pretty haven of East Ayrshire that has also taken to celebrating Bihar Diwas as a tribute to the links that fostered its origin!
The Queen of the Arabian Sea, Kerala’s kaleidoscopic city of Kochi finds an unlikely ally in Japan in the capital city Kochi of the Kochi Prefecture as a land besotted still with the many beauties of nature. Beyond the natural connect fostered by the abundance of its bestowing, both of these Kochis are eminent also in their exemplary tourism potential as well in their harboring of a singular love for seafood, stemming indeed from their shared essence of being coastal cities, although spread several miles apart.
A not very surprising duality in which another Indian city dwells beyond its national premises is the homeplace of the Nizams of Hyderabad. Persisting with an exact same name but not in a similar identity is the Pakistani city in the province of Sindh. But despite India and Pakistan having been historically a part of the same land, it is not any split city that the Hyderabad of either of the modern day countries happens to be.
The Hyderabad of India was established in 1591, while its namesake in its neighbouring country of Pakistan came into being in 1768. Both though were named after Caliph Ali Ibn Abi Talib, also known as Haydar because of his lion like valour in battle. Translating literally therefore as Lion City, the Indian presence was formerly renowned as Baghnagar or the city of gardens or even perhaps as Bhagyanagar after Bhagmati who later converted to Islam as Hyder Mahal therefore endowing the glittering city its present day name.
India’s City of Joy Kolkata too has its counterpart in the USA, albeit sharing its old name of Calcutta with a rural town. Taking indeed after our very own land steeped in culture and traditions and mithais galore is the presence in Ohio that also goes by its alternative name of Foulkstown. Far removed from the vibe permeating through its bustling presence in India is this place in the United States that was established as a coal town in 1870.
One of the many Indian City of Lakes, the Maharashtrian region of Thane might not have inspired the name of the Thane of Australia but that does not make it count among the list of cities of our country that manifests its identity in a distant country. As a rural town in Queensland with a population not even counting in triple figures, the Australian Thane is far removed from its Indian counterpart geographically as well as demographically and even in etymology. Assuming its identity from the railway station named Thane after a drowned pioneer pastoralist John Thane is this locality in Australia that is not anywhere near to being the boisterous region that our very own Indian Thane is.
Another of the big Indian cities, Bombay or more modernly known as Mumbai too has turned out to be influential enough to guarantee its own namesake in the US. A particular town in New York still goes by the name of Bombay, having been named after the wife of an Irish ship captain, in honour of the place of her birth as an Indian princess.
A Dhaka in India? Well, while that sounds highly unlikely, the capital city of Bangladesh exists also as a separate identity in our own country at least in its name. Far removed from the rather famed prominence of the Dhaka of Bangladesh is the Dhaka of Bihar that in fact is an Assembly Constituency of the state. As an aberration of some kind in being much, much less popular than its eponymous global cousin to still star in our list, our very own Dhaka indeed would be an eye opening revelation for the many of us.
Another very prominent global tourist destination that makes also its presence felt in India in of course as different a manner as possible is the identity surmised by the mention of Bali. While the Bali island of Indonesia is world famous for its extravagant beauty, the Indian version persists as a town in the royal state of Rajasthan. Within the ambits of the state, Bali is quite well known as well, though certainly not to the extent the lush and dramatic Indonesian landscape is explored in all its amalgamation of wonders.
The Diamond City of India, Surat in Gujarat corresponds to a rural town in the Queensland region of Australia. Named indeed after the expansively urban Indian region of global fame, the Surat of Australia though is a tiny presence both in the extent of its territory as well as the count of its inhabitants.
The United States of America would indeed rank at the topmost among countries that has localities and cities and towns bearing names of prominent Indian places. This time it is the largest central Indian city of Indore that finds expression within the American identity as community in West Virginia. Despite the exact sameness of name with our Madhya Pradeshi region, the Indore of USA is named in fact after the Canaanite city of Endore mentioned in the Hebrew Bible.
Whether the location of the Salem you are concerned with is the one dotting the Indian state of Tamil Nadu or the US states of Massachusetts or Oregon, one thing is certain- the name comes with a varied lot of history. The etymology though is diversely different in each of the cases but what binds these three separate city entities together is indeed their shared name and the shared legacy of a separately distinguished history endowing them with their own definite individuality.