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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

confusing acronyms

It is high time that a special cell is formed to look into the subject of confusing acronyms – it could be named the Department of Acronyms. Unless the DoA grants approval, no one can introduce an Acronym.

We have grown up on acronyms – right from our KG days. KG is the acronym for Kinder Garten – a word of German descent that means the Garden of Children. Once out of school, we graduated in BA or BE or some such stream that was supposed to mean Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Engineering – the word Bachelor has always been confusing: is it that those who acquire the qualification should be bachelors at the time of attaining the landmark or remain bachelors as long as they display the title?

Take the case of a simple acronym PO – it was supposed to indicate Post Office. Later, the alphabet ‘I’ was prefixed and it became known as the Indian Postal Order. Today, IPO also stands for Initial Public Offer – of company shares to the public!!!! Another PO is the BPO – or Business Process Outsourcing: a means of raking in the dollars by working while others sleep. The BPO culture has given rise to Call Centers where all the activity is in the cover of darkness. Healthy pay cheques, holidaying in exotic locations, and unbridled freedom are the logical outcomes. And now, the latest is KPO to join the list – Knowledge Process Outsourcing. A relatively new arena, it is already making its presence felt. The persons involved need not be computer professionals or qualified engineers or those who have to be trained in medical terms and terminologies – KPO is open to anyone who possesses knowledge to sell.

Then comes the IT group – until recently, IT was discussed in whispers and was the exclusive domain of the Income Tax department. Today, we shout of IT from roof tops – every state is wooing the IT fraternity as never before. No, we have not become honest tax payers overnight – by IT we now mean Information Technology. We keep inviting foreign IT delegations to invest in our cities; we expect them to shell out dollars for improvement of our crumbling infrastructures.

CBM is the acronym for Confidence Building Measures – if you prefix ‘I’ to it, it becomes ICBM – Inter Continental Ballistic Missile. It is difficult for Nations who have ICBMs to convince others about the noble intentions covered in their CBMs. NDA was, till some years back, the prestigious institution that gave us the officers of the Armed Forces. With a couple of ‘I’s thrown in, NDA became INDIA. Unfortunately, today NDA is better known as a group of politicians who keep changing their principles and agenda to suit their needs based on revised situations.

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