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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Chp 239. OPERATION AIZAWL – Phase 1(A)


Are you tired of seeing Aizawl wrongly written as AIZWAL, AIZAWAL, AIZOL, AIJUAL etc everywhere on the internet?


I can understand some old-timers referring to Aizawl as Aijal, because that was how non-Mizos used to pronounce it back then. Many historical documentaries written by British officers and missionaries even mentioned Aizawl as Aijal. Even the 1940 Lushai Dictionary [now online] compiled by J. Herbert Lorrain (Pu Buanga) shows no result for “Aizawl”, but search for “Aijal” and you will get Aizawl!

But that was many years ago. Now with the internet revolution, more and more people are coming to know who the Mizos are and where Mizoram is. In spite of the fact that there’s almost nothing mentioned about us in our school “educational” books, we are no longer the “mystical strange Chinese-looking Indians” that we once were.

With the internet making our world one complete global village, I believe it is high time we correct some of the spelling mistakes about us. We definitely do not want our Indian brothers to learn the wrong names of our cities, do we?

Just like how any Indian will correct us immediately if we misspell the names of their cities, towns, states, cuisines etc, we Mizos too need to strike back and educate the mass about us.

Hence I present you: OPERATION AIZAWL

This movement is endorsed by mutiny.in



This movement is also in partner with zawlbuk.net, lawrkhawm.com, buannel.com and misual.com.



Last but not the least, this movement is a tribute and dedication to all the Mizos out there who actually write to the admins and site owners asking them to correct the name of Aizawl. I have seen such people many times before, fervently writing out passionate comments at any place where Aizawl is spelled wrongly, and I sincerely salute you guys. RESPECT!


Taking all your admirable efforts one step further, let us all make this a group effort. Let us combine our resources and our man-power together and we can even be more effective this way.


OPERATION AIZAWL.

Step 1: As an individual, we will all take genuine attempt to search online for any website, especially ticket-booking portals [phase 1(A)] and tourism websites [phase 1(B)], where Aizawl is wrongly written as… anything, as long as it is not A-I-Z-A-W-L.

Step 2: You can either write to the Admin of that website directly, requesting him to please change the name to Aizawl, or you can inform us about the website and we will do the needful from here.

Step 3: We will publicly list out all such sites here on this page, and we will mention if they have changed the name to Aizawl or not after our request. Feel free to copy this list of such websites to your blog/homepage too, because the more we take part in this, the more chances we have of getting noticed.

Step 4: If this operation is successful, we will take our operation into Phase two – Correcting offline agencies like printers and publishers of diaries, maps, and official/private documents. This is a much bigger task, but first let’s see how we fare in Phase 1(A) – Ticket booking sites.

Step 5: What if they still refuse to change it after we inform them about it? Boycott these airlines/agencies. Spread the word to your Mizo friends about it, and more importantly ask your non-Mizo friends to help you with this mission, for they have the power to make this change for us.


--------------------------------

Sure, one may argue that the spelling mistake is how it is pronounced in a “foreign” language – the Anglicized Latin version and that the “English version” of a local language can have many different spelling versions and forms.

But the one very big, if not THE ONLY main difference in our case is that we Mizos have adopted this very same script, and so a mistake in “English” means a mistake in Mizo directly. We would very much like to see the correct name in the language that WE use (adopted).

It’s not like the case of most other Indian languages, where the respective names of the cities/places come from the English pronunciation. Such regions have their own languages and scripts, so many people may argue that you cannot have the exact English version which is correct. But as mentioned above, we cannot apply that same case for the Mizos.

It is also not like the cases of Bombay-Mumbai, Madras-Chennai, Calcutta-Kolkata etc because the “old name” had never been AIZWAL, AIZAWAL in the first place. We Mizos are an extremely young tribe, especially when it comes to language and technology but that doesn’t mean we can let the more developed people take advantage of us. We can’t let someone give us a name that is to their own liking or at their whim and fancy.

Secondly, AIZWAL/AIZAWAL etc. makes no sense in our language. The name Aizawl comes from “Aidu” and “Zawl”. Aidu (wild cardamom) covers a large part of the now Assam Rifles ground (near Governor’s Raj Bhavan), which is the heart of present day Aizawl. “Zawl” means plain, a large place. Hence Aizawl means a large area that is covered with Aidu.

It was not even a “village” back then, and there were different hamlets surrounding this area, Chaltlang being one of them (my locality). Hence when the Britishers came, they thought the entire area was Aizawl. That’s where the name came from. Lt Colonel G. H. Loch “officially founded” Aizawl in the early 1890s, and “Fort Aijal” was established.

And thirdly, regarding the very common misnomer “AIZWAL”, if you think two simple misplaced letters is making a mountain out of a mole hill, try calling cities as Mumbia, Hydarebad, Chinnai etc and see the reaction you’ll get from the locals. I dare you. We are all proud of our respective background and history, hence we should also respect the pride others have for their history.


OPERATION AIZAWL:

PHASE 1(A): Airlines Ticket Booking Sites.


The National Airlines code for Aizawl is AJL, which I presume was derived from Aijal (duh!). I have no personal qualms regarding this (and since it is the official IATA code, it will be next to impossible to get this changed – Mumbai is still BOM, Kolkata is still CCU and Chennai is still MAA). Let us concentrate on just “Aizawl”.

Among the popular ticket booking sites, both makemytrip.com and cleartrip.com correctly labeled Aizawl as Aizawl. Yay!!! I’m booking my tickets only through you guys.

And special mention must be made about my twit-friend @Usha of cleartrip.com who changed the name of AJL Airport from “Turial Air Force Base” to “Lengpui Airport” immediately when @rualthan pointed it out, in less than 5 minutes! Cheers Usha!

From the lesser known ticket booking sites, travel.indiatimes.com, ezeego1.co.in and indiaairtkt.com have written Aizawl correctly too. Love you guys!

kingfisher.com also labeled Aizawl correctly, but when they made a full-page announcement/advertisement in the local papers a month ago (was it MM or TOI, I forgot), I was extremely disappointed on seeing AIZWAL boldly printed on the destination list. I guess somebody must have corrected them after that mistake.

Indian Airlines too is now proudly displaying “Aizawl”. Thank you, you guys, although I think this was the airlines that first started using AIZWAL, which led to all the other new airlines copying them. Still, it’s good to know that has changed now.

yatra.com, one of India’s biggest online travel portals on the other hand still shows AIZWAL in its database, at both yatra.com and yatra.in

Air Deccan (now known as Kingfisher Red after the merger)’s site deccanairlines.in also shows AIZWAL… They should be lynched, considering the number of Mizos who used to fly Air Deccan every day as they were the first airline to fly to Mizoram after Indian Airlines.

Another ticket booking site I came across recently – ticketwindow.in also shows Aizawl as AIZWAL.

zoomtra.com also shows AIZWAL

Meanwhile rediff.com is confused! I think they don’t know which is the correct spelling, so what do they do? Very clever. They use both AIZAWL and AIZWAL! Below is a screen shot from lowest-fares.rediff.com:



Naughty me of course searched for flights between Aizawl and Aizwal, and I got the result: “Currently this feature can only be used for sectors on which direct flights operate.” lolz! So there are no direct flights from Aizawl to Aizwal. How sad!

indiatravelite.com on the other hand, goes even one step further. It is not just AIZWAL in this site. It is AIZAWAL!!! Goodness gracious me!

And then I went to primetavels.com and saw Aihole! Fortunately, that’s not a misspelling of Aizawl, lolz, and it’s actually a place in Karnataka. Phew!

But this next one is no joke. Aizawl is Aijwal at dewpointtravel.com

Another lesser known travel agency infotainmentcenter.com labels Aizawl as Aizwal. I guess that is neither informative nor entertaining. Funny thing about this particular site – Its AIZWAL in the “Leaving from” section but correctly written as “Aizawl” in the “Going to” section. lolz. I guess it’s time they too leave from the misspelling habit and go to the correctly spelt one.

naxtravels.com is another site with AIZAWAL in its database. indiatravelite.com must be so happy to find a likeminded travel agency!

dreamtickets.in using AIZWAL in its database is not exactly a dream for me.

travel.expressindia.com labels Aizawl as AIJWAL. Whoah!

cheapindianairlines.com also uses AIZWAL, but then, what else do you expect from something cheap? (ok I’m just trying to sound trollish here…)

The rest of the lesser known travel agencies, I will skip for now. Kindly do submit the web address if you come across any other agencies/airlines misspelling Aizawl. We shall print it here for everyone to see.

Meanwhile a mail will be sent to all the listed sites above, kindly requesting them to change the name to the correct one, and this post shall be updated regarding whether the mistake is corrected or not.

Given below is the letter I am planning to send to them all, and please do copy this letter or write your own letter and send it to them too. Remember, the more we take part in this, the higher chance we have of the Agency complying with our humble request.


Subject: Erratum in your website – AIZWAL should be AIZAWL.

Respected Sir,

We have noticed that the spelling of Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram, is incorrect in your website. AIZWAL is wrong. We request you to kindly change it to “Aizawl” because the error hurts our sentiments and it can even be misinterpreted as a form of neglect people usually have for the North Eastern people, which I hope is not the case here.

A correction will be truly appreciated!

Thanking you in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Kima.


PHASE 1 (B) will cover the Tours and Travel websites (tourism, hotels etc), so sharpen your nails for that too. For now, let us concentrate on the ticket booking sites. Your cooperation will be highly appreciated.


# Special thanks to Pu Chawnghilh @ misual.com and Pu Hruaia @ Hyderabad University for their in-depth assistance and research regarding the history of Aizawl. You guys rock!





39 comments:

incognito said...

This is good, Kima, really wonderfully done. KUDOS to your energy, enthusiasm, willingness, creativity, etc, etc (am running out of Adj here!) to come up with such a beautiful campaign. High time too! Why are you the first one to come up with this? Well, you have to be... so go on, as we follow.

Everybody, Let's....

Jinx said...

Titha lutuk Kima. Mizo ho chuan kan vei theuhin ka ring. Change tir pawh kan duh. Mahse, a sipel siamthatna kawnga hmalak tak tak ala awm loh avangin phun ah kan tlak ta mai thin a. Hetianga hma i rawn la hi lawmawm takmeuh.

Ka tihtheih ve tawk....I ron sawi ang hian kan thon ve nghal keuh hlawm ange :)

codeAries said...

Hats off, Kima... Full support. (Ka la chhiar vek hman lo deuh mai pawh a)

Jona said...

I've also long been really irritated to see so much of this AIZWAL, AIZAWAL spelling of AIZAWL but rather clueless on how to effectively start a corrective strategy, and my main hope- the MZP has been conspicuously silent on this issue (as far as I know).

It hurts to see even in Aizawl itself (not to speak of the numerous mistakes in other places,records and media)things like "AIZWAL to SILCHAR" direct Sumo service counters, etc. being put up.

Whatever be the reason for this spelling mistake, I believe it is no trifle matter, and I believe it fringes to one's pride and self-respect.

Hats off to illusionaire for initiating this campaign. Let's all do our bit in support of this operation.

benjamin said...

I can understand some old-timers referring to Aizawl as Aijal,
>> Possibly due to this, the IATA code of Lengpui Airport (near Aizawl) is AJL

Pixie said...

nice campaign...

I always say that the level of ignorance that most people sport is quite high when it comes to NE India... and the problem starts with something as simple as spelling a city...

luliana said...

This...I like!! :D

Ka veina a rei toh, mahse tihngaihna vak ka hre thin silo. ICICI ho tihsual pawh nikum lam khan misual[dot]com ah ka post a, an lo hmuh leh hmuh loh chu ka hre chuang law, hmanni ka haw tum kha chuan an lo tidik ve tawh.

You have my full support bro!

baruk said...

i had some trouble with yatra and makemytrip-found that writing to the CEO/founders helped. http://www.yatra.com/yatra-team.html

Thinchhia said...

Ti peihawmlo eee
puih in ngaihchuan min rawn dawn nia hehe
aizawla vai dawr velah a inziah dik leh dik loh ka lo chhui ang e

vana said...

bro full support ka pe zel a che :)

Anonymous said...

Thianpa chu ti tha khop mai....theih top kan chhuangh tlang ang chu ....

Jinx said...

Keipawh yatra.com ah ka thon theilo. A dang chu a kal deuh vek e.

illusionaire said...

Thank you all so much for your support. Now if we can all mail the concerned sites regarding this issue, it will be very very effective. Comon people, lets do it!

@ Jinx and Baruk: Thank you so much for sending the mails to them. Yup I agree yatra.com is one tough nut to crack as it was the only site listed above which did not accept comments and feedbacks!!!! An error kept coming when I pressed "submit". #FAIL.

And Baruk thank you so much for that link, I sent my mail directly to the head honchos! (comon, I had no other option because of a screwed up contact form in their site)

So I simply sent it to nikhil.rungta@yatra.com, mudit.khosla@yatra.com, dhruv.shringi@yatra.com, sabina.chopra@yatra.com, manish.amin@yatra.com, bhawna.agarwal@yatra.com

:-)

expressindia.com, naxtravels.com and indiatravelite.com are three other sites which didn't have a proper contact form so I had to send the complain letter to editor@expressindia.com, admin@naxtravels.com and indiatravelite@vsnl.com respectively.

deccanairlines.in is another site where I could not find any contact form nor the email address of the concerned person to contact. Help anyone?

The rest of the sites I was able to mail them. Kindly do it too, as it will take just 30 minutes of your time.

rediff.in responded immediately with an explanation and assurance that it will be changed by Monday evening/Tuesday morning. Thank you so much Mr. Indranil Gupta. You rock.

Others, please, keep writing to them... until they notice our displeasure. Remember, we have to make this a combined group effort. Write write write!!!

illusionaire said...

Notification from Benjamin:jayanm: "Today's discovery. Mizoram's capital is not aizwal. It is aizawl."

Yay, thanx for that link, Ben. Comon people, we are making the right noise! Lets keep it up!!! Aizawl! Aizawl! Aizawl! Aizawl!

Mos-a said...

ticketwindow.in is Andy's site :P
hmanni khan ka hrilh tawh a. Admin a puh zel.or database. hehe.

blackestred said...

Nice move, dude.. I just submitted a grievance to Kingfisher Airlines regarding the AirDeccan ticket website, sicne they are the parent company and stuff, let's see if they respond.. if not, we'll HACK it and spell India as INDIDA.. lolzz..
I googled AIZWAL and you'd be surprised how many websites still misspell it.. the first result (www.iloveindia.com) alternately used both AIZAWL and AIZWAL on their "AIZWAL" information page, showing complete disregard for the spelling.. I mean, you either misspell it or don't, but not both!! Seriously!!

VaiVa said...

I'd just booked e-ticket from Yatra.com. Ticket ah chuan Aizawl a in ti Boss. Mah se, website ah kha chuan Aizwal inti than in ka hria.
Monday ah ka haw dawn bik Aizawlah!
I fully support your cause... oh... it's our cause!

aduhi said...

great initiative from your part, hope it bears fruit. we can also correct all our non-mizo friends and strangers everytime Aizawl comes up in the conversation which I guess is pretty frequent (like oh I like your shoes did you get them from Aizwal)..little things also help a lot in the long run. If we can educate 10 people and each of these 10 people educates another ten people and so on...

odzer said...

Kima : Nice that you are trying to get the right spelling. If i had a dime for every time I saw Chandigarh written wrong in Hindi I would have a million dollars by now. I hope you succeed. However honestly do you really think most people in 'mainland' India care about the North-East? I do not really think so. It seems to me it is a classic case of 'out of sight, out of mind.' However I guess its probably the same between North/South India as well. I wonder how many North Indians can spell Thiruvananthapuram. Oops I had to look it up in google to spell it here :-)

Jinx said...

Received this today. Only thing is, they referred to me as sir!! :( But still....Yayyyy!!! One nut cracked...hope more's to come :)

from Devika Sen devikas@zoomtra.com
to
cc vikas jawa vikasj@zoomtra.com
date Sat, May 2, 2009 at 4:38 PM
subject Zoomtra.com Customer Care
mailed-by zoomtra.com


Dear Sir,

We sincerely apologize for the typo on our website and want to inform you that it has been rectified to " Aizawl".

We hope you continue to use Zoomtra.com for your travel needs and assure you of our continued patronage.


Thank you for using Zoomtra.com!

Regards,
Customer Care

illusionaire said...

Way to go Jinx! Ok I think we should all post the replies we get too!

Starting with rediff.com mentioned above:

-----------------

Dear Kima,


Thank you for writing in.

The reason for the error was that an earlier airline site had the erratum and we were forced to pick the same as we wanted to source airfares to and from Aizawl. Please give us till Monday to correct the issue. We will get this resolved by Monday evening or latest by Tuesday morning.


Regards

Indranil

Team Faresearch

illusionaire said...

indiatravelite.com also responded. I replied with the exact page where Aizawl is mentioned as AIZAWAL.

-----------------

Dear Kima,

Please advise in which page there is incorrect spelling. Hence we can correct it.

Regards,
Mr. Bhavin Toprani / Ms. Manisha
Customer Service Executive
Top Communications
Indiatravelite.com
Mumbai.

illusionaire said...

@ Mos-a: errr... can you please ask Andy to change it. Zorami Zote too told me its his site and I asked her if she can reuqest him to change it...

@ blackestred: Yeah even I googled AIZWAL and there are a LOTTT of results! Anyway, hope this campaign slowly reduce that amount of AIZWALers.

@ Vaiva: Keipawh Monday ah ka haw dawn!!!! Ka rawn phone ang che.

@ Aduhi: Rightly said! A little step here and there is indeed a big jump in the end. All we need to do is make this little effort and that will be the ned of the dreaded AIZWAL.

@ Odzer: I know what you're talking about. And its absolutely true many people from the North and North East won't be able to spell "Thiruvananthapuram" correctly. But the one big difference is, those who are making online sites like online ticket booking portals should take that little "extra" effort in at least googling for the correct name. We can't educate everybody, that is true. But at least websites and tourism agencies should sport the correct name, otherwise it is just plain disregard of the particular culture/people.

faka said...

Thanks Kima for taking this initiative. It's good to know that you have already gone such far. You have my full support in this campaign.

I think our operation should also focus on various documents, signboards and the like which are found in many places within Mizoram itself.

odzer said...

Kima, you are right people who make commercial websites should make an effort to put the right names indeed. They are not allowed the out of sight, out of mind thingy!

illusionaire said...

@ faka: Thanx hotupa. Yup we plan to move to those too in phase 2, but that will depend on how effective we are in phase 1.

@ odzer: Rightly said, bro. As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility... :-)

Sekibuhchhuak said...

Boss, nang hi chu i ti tha thei hle mai. Kan tluk lo ngawt mai che. Tuna i thil tih hian change tam tak a siam ngei ka beisei.

Keichala said...

Ka vei ruk reng thil a nia keipoh, a thra ka ti khop mai i hmalakna hi. Kudos, Sandman :-)

Keichala

blackestred said...

http://www.flyairdeccan.net/index.aspx?locale=en

DUDE.. Air Deccan has changed the Spelling!! Success!!

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zap said...

Hi Kima...we are http://zapbooking.com/ an upcoming online Travel Web portal. In India we're associated with myriad hotels and we do offer have contacts with hotel owners in Mizoram. Certainly, Mizoram is a captivating territory but irnoically tourists are more inclined towards norther hill stations and tourists destination but I think nowadays travel agents and Travel Web portals are highlighting north-eastern destinations as well and that's a great news for the East India Tourism Industry. And surely I like your passion towards you city and your motherland.

zap said...

Hi Kima...we are Zapbooking an online Travel Web portal. In India we're associated with myriad hotels and we do have contacts with hotel owners in Mizoram. Certainly, Mizoram is a captivating territory but ironically tourists are more inclined towards northern hill stations and tourists destination but I think nowadays travel agents and Travel Web portals are highlighting north-eastern destinations as well and that's great news for the East India Tourism Industry. And certainly I like your passion towards you city and your motherland. Great initiative, we’ll also promote it.

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skiing holidays said...

Hi kima,

This is really a very useful info about the travel related sites.


Thanx,
Barny

Dr. R.Anand said...

I am an avid traveller and a blog writer but have never explored the North East, will luv to travel to Mizoram some day, I have heard it is a beautiful place.

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