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Times of India, 08.09.2001
By Manju Ramanan

No bloody wars were fought. No annexations. Yet Baroda has transcended the boundaries of the Gaekwad state to other areas in the country and abroad. A recent research has found a generous sprinkling of the word 'Baroda' all across the world.

When city-based philatelist Prashant Pandya, who is researching the postal history of India, found that a suburb in the town of Craddock in South Africa was named Baroda, he was thrilled. His quest led him to discover "other Barodas" -- in the US, in Bangladesh and in as many as seven states of India.

Pandya now has evidence of 36 cities, villages and post offices in India and abroad named Baroda. He stumbled on a Baroda in Michigan state in the US and in Bangladesh's Khulna district, the town being called Barodal.

It was a historical event when Ranjit Chavan, the then mayor of Vadodara, was invited by the mayor of Baroda city in Michigan state, Peter Wolf, to commemorate its 100th anniversary. The function was attended by other Barodians settled in and around Chicago.

"It was in 1890 that a railway engineer went to the US from Baroda state to help lay tracks. When he found the last railway station along the track still unnamed, he christened it Baroda. A museum in the corporation office there still preserves memorabilia that the young engineer had carried with him," says Ranjit Chavan. Later, Wolf came to Vadodara on Chavan's invitation.

Baroda's there in Lalooland, too, as a small town called Baroda in Muzaffarpur. It's also there as towns and villages in the historic sites of Rajasthan -- Jhalawar, Bundi, Chittorgarh, Kota, Alwar. Baroda has also been found in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.

And, many of the post offices named Baroda are still operative in the country. Pandya had sent postcards and inland letters to post offices named Baroda with their pin codes. They all replied within a span of two months, confirming that they were operative. "Except for the area called Baroda Rayon at Surat, which has been re-christened Fatehnagar, almost all of them retain their old names," he says.

However, not all places are strictly called Baroda. Like in Bundi, Rajasthan, it is Barodia, Baroda Qehli and Barodia Kumaria in Madhya Pradesh, Baroda Bijlon and Baroda Dang in Uttar Pradesh while it is Baroda Bazaar in Midnapore in West Bengal.

Pandya hit upon this unique idea while leafing through a book at the Vadodara Philatelist Library that carried a list of names of old post offices compiled by the late philatelist Ashwin Patel, who had prepared it from the "Old Postal Guide Journal, 1977".

"In the past, the princely state of Baroda had connections with places all around India and even outside the country. Its influence could have led to naming of many towns and villages in other states after Baroda," says Pandya.

"The name may have migrated along with the Gujaratis, who fanned out to different countries, especially Africa and to the US. They also migrated to other states in the country. It is probable that they carried the name along with them. A sociological study may well prove this theory," says Raj Kumar Hans of MS University's department of history.

And the name appears to have been common even in the British period. An old postal journal of January 1903, listing the old post offices of India, has eight post offices named Baroda like Baroda-Alwar, Baroda-Bulundshahar, Baroda-Rohtak, Baroda-Bombay, Baroda Camp-S.Bombay and Baroda City.

Baroda and The World
Baroda - Craddock, South Africa
Baroda - Michigan, USA
Barodal - Bangladesh
Baroda - Jind, Haryana
Baroda - Sonepat, Haryana
Baroda - Damoh, MP
Barodara - Sago, MP
Baroda Qehli - Sagar, MP
Barodia Kumaria - Shajapur, MP
Baroda - Ratlam, MP
Barodia Sarak - Shivpuri, MP
Barode - Shajapur, MP
Barodia - Bundi, Rajasthan
Baroda - Brahmabol, Bharatpur, Rajasthan
Baroda Piplund - Rajasthan Bhilwara
Baroda Gajrapal - Rajasthan
Baroda Kan - Lachmangarh Alwar, Rajasthan
Baroda MEO - Alwar, Rajasthan
Barodia - Chittorgarh, Rajasthan
Barodia - Jhalawar, Rajastahn
Barodia (Bagidora) - Banswara, Rajasthan
Barodia - Quota, Chenchat, Rajasthan
Barodia - Chittorgarh, Rajasthan
Barodia (Bagidora) - Banswara, Rajasthan
Barodia - Kota, Chenchat, Rajasthan
Baroda Bijlon - Lalitpur,UP
Baroda Dang - Lalitpur,UP
Barodaswami - Lalitpur, UP
Baroda village - Muzaffarnagar, Bihar
Baroda - Midnapore, WB
Baroda Bazar - Midnapore, WB
Baroda Rayon (now Fatehnagar) - Surat, Gujarat


This article was published in Times of India, Ahmedabad edition on 8th September, 2001.