Home » I Didn’t Expect This Name For This Car Made In This Place: Cold Start

I Didn’t Expect This Name For This Car Made In This Place: Cold Start

Cs Mahindra Indian Top
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This is very strange, or at least unexpected. The term “Indian” to refer to Native Americans hasn’t really been the preferred term for years, and justly so: the whole name came about as huge mistake. Christopher Columbus was deeply confused as to where he was – I’m not blaming him, I still get lost in a town I’ve lived in for almost 10 years – and thought he had reached India, even though he was way on the other side of the globe. Still, the name stuck, so the incredibly varied cultures of indigenous peoples all over the American continents were all saddled with that lazy, inaccurate, and already spoken-for term. Meanwhile, over in the actual India at the other side of the globe, Mahindra had been building license-built Jeeps for years, and, it seems, at least a few times named them “Indian,” but not the kind of Indian they actually are, as in from India, but Indian as in Native American. It’s all very weird.

Mahindra’s Jeep-building is impressive; if you think about it, they may have a better claim to all of the jealously-guarded Jeep trademarks, like the seven-slot Jeep face (even though that was actually designed by Ford) that Stellantis currently holds, because Mahindra has had a license to build Jeeps since 1947s, far longer than Stellantis, which is even younger than the Covid pandemic.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Mahindra’s first license-built Jeeps were CJ3As, and made many variations of the CJ-series of Jeeps with various names, like the Mahindra Major or, yes, the Indian and Indian Chief, made around the 1980s:

Cs Mahindra Indian1

These may have been UK-only model names, but still, it’s not like British people weren’t aware of India or the fact that Indians are not actually “Indians.” And there’s no confusion about what is being meant: the use of “chief” confirms that, if the drawing isn’t enough. I certainly understand the desire for a certain kind of American cachet for these Jeeps not actually built by Jeep, but the whole confusion of an Indian car named for the other, questionable use of Indian is just making my head hurt.

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Later, around 2010, Mahindra started naming their Jeeps Thar, which is a kind of Himalayan antelope, and a desert in Rajasthan.

Cs Mahindra Indian That

I got to drive a Thar once throughout Rajasthan in that very desert, and it was incredible.

Cs Mahindra Meinthar

They put me in the one with the big exo-cage because they thought the paperwork for having to deal with killing off an American journalist just wouldn’t be worth it.

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The Thar was incredibly capable and rugged, and had a torquey diesel engine. It also had an odd modern-ish-looking dashboard that felt very much at odds with its old-school Jeep looks. They’re pretty great. Great Indian cars. From India.

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Beater_civic
Beater_civic
4 days ago
1961ford
1961ford
4 days ago

Do Indians wonder about this car?
Rambler American – Wikipedia

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
5 days ago

> it’s not like British people weren’t aware of India or the fact that Indians are not actually “Indians.”

The UK is the only country to have lost two kinds of Indian.

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
5 days ago

I’ve spent a modicum of time on reserves and the only term I ever heard bandied about was “Indian”. It seems like it’s pretty much just white folks getting their panties twisted up about that word

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
5 days ago

Jeep must have gotten the bug out of their butt about the Sacred Jeep Grill, because these Mahindras definitely look like Jeeps up front. I wasn’t sure if Jeep even had a case since Mahindra has held a license to build original Jeeps since WWII.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
5 days ago

I’m just grateful I don’t live in Vespucciland.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
5 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

Very funny.

Beater_civic
Beater_civic
5 days ago

It’s mind-boggling how little places knew of each other. My family in the UK genuinely used to struggle to understand that Canada and the US aren’t both “America”, and that people in Canada in the 90s weren’t busting open some swinging double doors at the saloon and checking in their six shooters.

My guess is they wanted to invoke Actual Jeep names like Comanche and Cherokee and couldn’t quite grasp which of the one is not like the others.

Last edited 5 days ago by Beater_civic
TriangleRAD
TriangleRAD
4 days ago
Reply to  Beater_civic

Actually I’m pretty sure there was some of that Old West-y type action going on in the Yukon during the gold rush.

Miles Long
Miles Long
5 days ago

What’s with the XPEL popup screen video shit? I’m outta here.

Matt Hardigree
Matt Hardigree
5 days ago
Reply to  Miles Long

If you’re a logged-in member you shouldn’t be seeing it, but it’s testing now and maybe that logic isn’t working. We’re looking into it.

OldJackBurton
OldJackBurton
5 days ago
Reply to  Matt Hardigree

I’m logged in and I’m seeing this on every article. The embedded video pops up and keeps playing once you scroll past it.

Matt Hardigree
Matt Hardigree
5 days ago
Reply to  OldJackBurton

Well that’s not good…

CSRoad
CSRoad
5 days ago

I remember cowboys and indians, on black and white TV.
Isn’t there some sort of religious cow thing with somebody?
Are cowboys still politically acceptable?
AMC had a bunch of Cowboy car/pickup/ute concepts, don’t know they made production anywhere in the world. Maybe there is holy chalice in there somewhere?

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
5 days ago

Of course, India isn’t really referred to as “India” any longer. Most of the world is moving to the actual name of the place, “Bharat”. It was those English conquistadors who named it the very Yurp term “India”.
Things change. We used to call the capital of China “Peking”, and we just stopped using “Kiev” and use the proper “Kyiv”.

Cable jockey
Cable jockey
5 days ago

Japan, Nihon (or Nippon)
Germany, Deustchland
Spain, España
Italy, Italia
Mexico, Mexico (meh-he-co)
Paraguay, Paraguay (pah-da-why)
Uruguay, (oo-du-why)
Greece, Hellas
Iceland, ???
United States, ‘Merica
Poland, Polska
China, Zhōngguó
Philippines, pilipinas

The list goes on

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
5 days ago
Reply to  Cable jockey

Endonyms vs Exonyms is very interesting. Using Deutschland (the endonym), there are several Exonyms used by different cultures such as Germany (England and others), Allemange (France), Niemcy (Poland), Saksa (Finland), Kelemania (Hawai’i).

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
5 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

Gotta love the French exonym for Germany- “Allemagne”
Rhymes with champagne.

Last edited 5 days ago by Michael Beranek
Patrick
Patrick
5 days ago

For the record, Germania was the Roman name for territories north of the ‘limes’ (border). Meanwhile, the French -who speak a romance language derived from latin- named the country after one of the many peoples that migrated during the “Barbaric Invasions” period and installed themselves in the area: the Alamani. (The Franks themselves also being a migrating people that influenced a name change from Gaul to France).

As for Bharat… Really? Why would they not use it at the UN or with the IOC?

Citrus
Citrus
5 days ago

Isn’t the India vs. Bharat thing actually really politically contentious within the country itself? I admit I’m not an expert on the politics in the country, just read an article or two, but there’s a lot more going on than “they are Bharat now.”

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
5 days ago
Reply to  Citrus

I mean, pretty much everything Modi advocates is politically contentious, to put it very mildly.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
5 days ago

> Most of the world is moving to the actual name of the place, “Bharat”.

I’ve worked in the US with well over a hundred Indian staff members for many years, and this is the first time I’ve even heard the word “Bharat.” They all say India, I’m from India, I’m visiting my parents in India, the support team in India, etc.

Meanwhile I also work with teammates in Ankara and I asked them how I should refer to their country (Turkey or Türkiye). Many didn’t have a preference, some requested Türkiye. Notably nobody told me to use Turkey and not Türkiye. Sadly I know very little about the country and nothing about the cultural connotations of either name.

Last edited 5 days ago by Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Joshua Christian
Joshua Christian
4 days ago

The term ‘India’ is an ancient Greek term for the region that everyone outside it has always called it. It derives from the name of a major north Indian river. It wasn’t a name the British came up with at all. While there is certainly a strain of Indian nationalists (both on right and the left, but particularly the former these days) who prefer ‘Bharat’ outright, most Indians use the name ‘India’ when speaking in English and variants of ‘Bharat’ or ‘Hindustan’ while speaking in their local languages. In fact , the use of ‘Bharat’ as an overall term is something Indians are very polarized about these days, because the fairly right-wing government currently in charge is pushing for it (and oddly appeared to start doing so right after the opposition parties formed a loose coalition referred to as the ‘I.N.D.I.A.’ alliance). There’s also some clamour against it from South Indians, whose native term for the country is ‘Bharatam’. That might seem like a trivial difference compared to ‘Bharat’, but the Southern states have always had a deep, albeit sometimes overblown, concern about the Northern states imposing their language and norms on them. That’s actually part of why English is still spoken so heavily in India… the Southern states threatened rebellion if Hindi, a North Indian language(which, through its various dialects, is the most commonly spoken language in the country other than English), was made the national language and used for government affairs.

Sid Bridge
Sid Bridge
5 days ago

Columbus, arriving at America: Look! Indians!
Native Americans: No, dude. You need to keep going another entire hemisphere.
Columbus: Oh. Thanks.
(Columbus continues, arrives in India)
Actual Indian (pulls up in a Mahindra Indian, speaks in British accent): Welcome to India!
Columbus: Ok, I have no clue where I am now.

Chronometric
Chronometric
5 days ago

Maybe the Indians were just making a culturally insensitive joke at the expense of their former colonial oppressors.

Lotsofchops
Lotsofchops
5 days ago

Okay so the autoplay videos were annoying enough, but now on desktop it’s popping an autoplay mini video in the top left of the screen, and there’s no way to close it. I seriously will not renew my subscription to this site if that stays, it’s as bad as Jalopnik was. Honestly terrible.

Gubbin
Gubbin
5 days ago
Reply to  Lotsofchops

I just added the Disable HTML Autoplay Chrome extension and it make the site much more pleasant to read. I’m a subscriber and I hate autoplay video.

Matt Hardigree
Matt Hardigree
5 days ago
Reply to  Gubbin

That shouldn’t be showing up for members! I’m sorry, we’re fixing it.

Gubbin
Gubbin
5 days ago
Reply to  Matt Hardigree

I installed the HTML5 blocker because the autoplaying “Autopian TV” widgets are not only painfully distracting, they hammer the CPU/GPU of my newish MacBook. I get the need for user engagement, but thank goodness for browser extensions.

Scramblerken
Scramblerken
5 days ago
Reply to  Matt Hardigree

Non-members can suck it? It seems postal David and pao Jason are working for venture capitalists now.

Papa Bruyant
Papa Bruyant
5 days ago
Reply to  Scramblerken

Oh please. If we want the site to continue existing, it needs to make money somehow. Until enough people sign up as paying members, advertising is one of the necessary evils, and I figure less of it is a worthwhile tradeoff for my membership dollars.

You may have a different take, and that’s your prerogative. But saying that D&J are working for the venture capitalists because they need to generate revenue to support the very comment section you’re bitching about is silly and in my view disrespectful of the work this entire team continues to put into the site. Unlike their competitors, Team Autopian actually listens to and is transparent with their readership and I’m more than willing to suffer some annoying advertisements until it becomes less necessary (sign up, people!)

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
5 days ago
Reply to  Papa Bruyant

Especially considering venture capitalists aren’t primarily interested in revenue compared to bootstrapped businesses.

Anonymous Person
Anonymous Person
5 days ago
Reply to  Gubbin

Thank you for this. hate autoplay video as well.

VanGuy
VanGuy
5 days ago

…okay, I’m a bit confused. This is tangential to the article, but I’ve read that in the US, the closer you get to reservation land, the more people refer to them as Indian.

To some sort of manner as: we forced them out of their separate tribes to one shared identity as “Indians” when we first stole their land, and they eventually adopted that shared label, but now we’re trying to change that label for ourselves to feel better rather than them wanting it themselves.

Drew
Drew
5 days ago
Reply to  VanGuy

It depends on the tribe, the person, and the circumstances. And the water is further muddied by the number of official documents, laws, treaties, and organizations with the term “Indian.” But, yeah, you’ll often hear the term, though a lot of folks on/around some of the reservations I’ve been around tend toward “Native.” Not “Native American,” generally (and, really, that’s fair–the folks who called it America have not historically been great to Natives). And I don’t think I’ve heard any Native refer to themselves as First Peoples, but I also haven’t really spent time in Canada.

There’s also a push in some circles to refer to Native folks by tribe, but that becomes a lot trickier, due to the shared identity and, in some instances, tribes being grouped together in ways that they had not historically been combined.

Citrus
Citrus
5 days ago
Reply to  Drew

Canada has moved towards using “Indigenous” and “First Nations” for the overall group with a preference for using the specific group (Cree, Dene, etc.) if you know it – and First Nations is very weird if you use it for an individual, it’s more for groups and organizations. “Aboriginal” is often accepted but never the first choice. “Native” is still used, though not that popular – it’s pretty specifically American, and I have NEVER heard a Canadian put “American” after it if they use it – “Indian” is one of those words that is okay if you’re the in-group but if you’re white do not. It’s a relic that still exists on a lot of official documents but there is a constant move to change it.

A good example of the changing language is the FSIN, which went from “Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations” to “Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.”

Source: Canadian who had to write about Indigenous people and issues a lot in his career.

Hamish48
Hamish48
5 days ago
Reply to  Citrus

for several decades there was a team in the Canadian Football League called the Edmonton Eskimos, a word which came to be seen as an insult to our Inuit People. They recently changed to the Edmonton Elks and life goes on. It was a fairly easy way to confirm respect to those for whom it was owed and they didn’t even have to repaint the EE logo on their helmets.

Citrus
Citrus
5 days ago
Reply to  Hamish48

They also did the new elk alternate logo which is kinda badass.

Patrick
Patrick
5 days ago
Reply to  Hamish48

It was indeed a good name change that was done in respect for the Inuit and the fans (colours and EE), but it being Alberta, did the fans really follow through? I remember reading a lot of frustrated fans when the name change was initially announced. Not changed for the same reasons, but MTL soccer fans still name their team the Impact even if it’s now CF mtl.. and the “Eskimos” have a couple more decades of history. I can easily imagine a trucker convoy of pissed fans in green and yellow…

In any case, much better than the Washington Redskins fiasco..

Patrick
Patrick
5 days ago
Reply to  Citrus

To add on to your correct and informative post, French Canadians traditionally used the term “Amérindien” to refer to First Nations, obviously a portmanteau of America (continent) and Indian. Because it avoided the confusion with actual India and the fact the term acknowledges location, it kept being used commonly until about 20 years ago. MANY people still use “Amérindien” and while some may frown upon it, it hasn’t reached “Eskimo” status yet. The preferred term now is “Autochtone”

Cheers! Or rather, Kwe!

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
5 days ago
Reply to  Patrick

In Yurp France “autochtone” has a pretty negative connotation. It’s the kind of word old colonial anthropologists would have used in their description of native peoples, from up high on their elephants.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
5 days ago
Reply to  Drew

I worked with a native language teacher and she preferred First American. She didn’t mind Indian.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
5 days ago

As I sat in my Mahindra Indian, drinking an orange Mirinda, and listening to the Baja Marimba Band on the wireless, I thought to myself, is there really such a thing as cultural appropriation?

Last edited 5 days ago by Canopysaurus
Tim Cougar
Tim Cougar
5 days ago

TVS, an Indian motorcycle manufacturer (from India, not building Indian motorcycles) builds the Apache, named after an Indian people (Native American, not Indian Indian).

An Indian company building a motorcycle named after an Indian group, but no relation to the motorcycle builder Indian.

Spikersaurusrex
Spikersaurusrex
5 days ago

I definitely agree that an Indian firm using Indian as a term referencing native Americans is strange, especially for a non-US market vehicle. The term “Indian” used to refer to native Americans would not be extraordinary in 1980; in those days, it was the accepted idiom. Mores change over time, and looking at it through today’s lenses just makes it seem weirder than it was.

Also, did you know the USA still has a Bureau of Indian Affairs? It’s not in charge of relations between the US and India.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
5 days ago

Yeah, the term is still far from eliminated. Most federally recognized tribal governments also still include “Indian” or “Indians” in their official name

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
5 days ago

Wait: that red tag up top lists laminated windscreen as a feature. Which rather implies that non-laminated glass might otherwise be encountered. Am I just accustomed to first-world vehicles, or are there actually car companies still selling regular glass windshields this century??

boy, do I feel bougie

(TIL that bougie is ‘a thin, flexible surgical instrument for exploring or dilating a passage of the body’. I am, of course, not using that meaning here)

Last edited 5 days ago by TOSSABL
Jack Trade
Jack Trade
5 days ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

I bet it’s the same thing that automakers do here when they try to bulk up the text of base versions models by calling out things like “rearview camera” as a key feature. Yep, that’s what government says too.

FlyingMonstera
FlyingMonstera
5 days ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Laminated windscreens were required by law in the U.K. from 1983 and in practice every car from about 1975 had inertia reel front seatbelts. Mahindra didn’t start importing until 1990, so I can hear the sound of a barrel being scraped very thoroughly to come up with that feature list.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
5 days ago
Reply to  FlyingMonstera

It’s like when Russian automakers were still trying to sell warmed over Soviet era designs during the 2000s, and their brochures would call out things like “new, modern door handle design” or “attractive molded plastic dashboard”

Actually, Reliant in the UK were following that strategy toward the end, since their product line hadn’t been meaningfully updated since the early ’70s, every minor change had to be highlighted just to have something to advertise

Sklooner
Sklooner
5 days ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Could be tempered instead

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
5 days ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

“Bougie” (rich) is short for “bourgeois.”

“Bougie” also means “candle.”

Flyingstitch
Flyingstitch
5 days ago

If you’re in the South, what do you call the sky above a late-model Mahindra Jeep?

Over Thar.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
5 days ago
Reply to  Flyingstitch

Those thars are badass.

Mikkeli
Mikkeli
5 days ago

I started typing a joke, and then deleted the joke. Let’s just all agree: shame on me.

DialMforMiata
DialMforMiata
5 days ago
Reply to  Mikkeli

I’ve done that about 5 times so far. I think that makes me a bad person.

Jj
Jj
5 days ago
Reply to  DialMforMiata

Yes, but this is your safe space.

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