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Economics/Bank of Baroda name change


Dear Prof Raza

Do you feel there should be Bank name change for Bank of Baroda to Vadodara Bank or Bank of Vadodara?.


Hi Prashant,

Thank you for posing this question. This is a very interesting question, and at the same time carries significant implications. There are two sides to it.

First, the name Bank of Baroda is very well known, harking back in history to the naming of the third largest city in the Western Indian State of Gujarat. Bank of Baroda is India’s international bank, and people know this bank across continents by this name. If the name is changed, it may take quite some time for the customers to get used to it. Besides, many in the Western world would not even know of Vadodara, even though that was the original name of Baroda. It is something like bringing to the world a new international bank. Even in India, many people who know of Vadodara may not know anything about the original name of Baroda, attributable to the British Raj.

Second, the very name Vadodara was corrupted by the colonialists, and the people of the land have the right to use their pristine name. For example, Bombay or Calcutta was a name attributable to corruption of the original name by the British. Bombay has been changed to Mumbai –it has taken quite some time for the Western world to get used to the name change. Even today Bombay is not uncommon. On the other hand, Kolkata did not catch up well. The Western world would still refer to Calcutta rather than to Kolkata. Maybe it will take some more time.

The original name has got its own strength. Even though Nippon is known throughout the world as Japan, we still see Nippon Steel or Nippon Airways. Yet I doubt if anybody outside Japan would call Japan by the name Nippon. Bharatya Reserve Bank is as well-known as Indian Reserve Bank. Yet nobody outside the country call the country Bharat. The world knows it by the name India. English nomenclature, when there is not too much hue and cry about language, seems to be fine: so in India we have ICICI or IDBI as the names for large industrial banks. On the other hand, in Bangladesh, where too much affiliation for mother-tongue works, they have changed names from English nomenclature to Bangla nomenclature –e.g., Industrial Bank of Bangladesh has been renamed Bangladesh Shilpa Bank or Bangladesh Airways has been changed to Bangladesh Biman (part of the reason being hatred towards foreign language).

Now the question comes: What if Bank of Vadodara replaces the name Bank of Baroda? Here there is no jingoistic connotation of “English hotao” but simply chauvinistic affiliation for returning to ancestral designations. This is quite logical and at the same time quite acceptable by international standards. Even though it may take some time for the world to get used to the changed name, history tells that people soon get to it. It would be fine.

As Shakespeare says, “What’s in a name?” It intrinsically matters little whether we keep Bank of Baroda or espouse Bank of Vadodara. It’s all in the name. The Bank is as famous, the city bears as great magnificence, whatever the name.

I hope, Prashant, this serves to give you an idea about whether the name change is desirable or not –after all, it is simply value judgment, nothing economic or commercial. I shall be happy if this gives you some food for your further deeper thought on this important question.


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Eklimur Raza


It appears some students in this website are confused about elasticity of demand and the slope of the demand curve when they are trying to figure out why rectangular hyperbola comes up in case of unitary demand curve. First, they don't know that RH can be depicted in a positive quadrant of price,quantity plane. Secondly, they make the mistake that the slope of RH is constant at -1. Two points could help them: first, e=1 at each and every point of the RH, because the tangent at any point shows lower segment=upper segment (another geometric definition of e); yet slopes at different points,dQ/dP, are different; second, e is not slope but [(Slope)(P/Q)]in absolute terms. Caveat: only if we measure (log P) along the horizontal axis and (log Q) up the vertical axis, can we then say slope equals elasticity --in which case RH on P,Q plane is transformed into a straight-line demand curve [with slope= -tan 45 deg] on (log Q),(logP) plane, and e= -d(log Q)/d(log P). [By the way, logs are not used in college textbooks --although that is helpful in econometric estimation of elasticity viewed as an exponent of P, when demand equation is transformed into log-linear form.] I have not found the geometrical explanation I have given in any textbook followed in undergraduate and college classes in Canada (including the book followed in a university where I taught for a short time and in the book followed in George Brown College, Toronto, where I teach.


About 11 years' teaching economics and business studies, and also English, history and elementary French.Practical experience in a development bank, working with international donor agencies like the World Bank and the ADB. Experience in free-lance journalism, including Canada's "National Post."

I teach micro- and macroeconomics at George Brown College (continuing education), Toronto, ON, Canada.

Many articles and editorials, on different subjects, in English newspapers. Recently an applied Major Research Paper, based on a synthesis of the Solow growth model and the Lewis two-sector model, has be accepted by Ryerson University, Toronto. Professors Thomas Barbiero and Eric Cam, Ryerson University, accepted the paper.

Master degree in Interantional Economics and Finance and diploma with honours in Business Administration from Canada.

Awards and Honors
Received First Prize in an inter-university Literary Contest.

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