INDIA: E Pluribus

If Smith spells his name Psmith, that's his business, but it's a nuisance to telephone companies. The Calcutta phone company decided last week to take a strong line with variant spellings. Its trouble was not with Smiths (everybody in Calcutta knew the billboarded Smith Bros., Dentists) but with Mukerjees. They spelled it Mookerjee, Mookharjea, Mookarjie, Mocurgey, and a dozen other ways. The Chatterjees and the Bannerjees also went in for whimsical variations.

Hereafter, each name would be listed only one way in the phone book. But which way? That was left up to Calcutta University (which already standardizes its students'...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!