The Jury Talks Back


Mumbai – Formerly known as Bombay

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amphipolis @ 5:49 am

My family was having breakfast in Old Town Albuquerque last summer when we struck up a conversation with an Indian couple at the next table. My daughter mentioned that she was trying to learn the new name of Indian cities like Bombay (Mumbai), Madras (Chennai), and Calcutta (Kulkata). She thought that he would be pleased with her awareness of the change, but he frowned – he said that he likes the old British names.


  1. “he said that he likes the old British names.”

    Me too. I refuse to change my language just to honour a Hindu goddess. But then I also still refer to The Ukraine, with the definite article, and to Burma. And when I’m feeling particularly atavistic I tell people I live in Breuckelen.

    Comment by Milhouse — 12/2/2008 @ 8:02 am

  2. Milhouse: !

    All of a sudden I understand the name ‘brooklyn’. I’d never seen that connection before.

    Comment by aphrael — 12/2/2008 @ 11:06 am

  3. I work with several engineers from various parts of India, and we were discussing the name changes today. Someone mentioned that it seemed India changed the names after they kicked the British out; the guy sitting next to me (from Bangalore) said, “Yes, but it took us 50 years to realize the Brits were gone.”

    Comment by Steverino — 12/2/2008 @ 1:30 pm

  4. I have yet to adjust to the fact that Beijing is the same place as Peking.
    But then, I usually think of Istanbul as being merely a fashionable modernism for a city whose real name is Constantinople.

    Comment by kishnevi — 12/2/2008 @ 8:01 pm

  5. At least Russia got Saint Petersburg right. Back to the future.

    Comment by Amphipolis — 12/2/2008 @ 8:46 pm

  6. …and Ekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk).

    Comment by Another Drew — 12/3/2008 @ 1:01 pm

  7. It’s a real shame many schools don’t teach geography. Learning geography also exposes students to the topography, crops, resources, and history of various areas and gives them a better perspective on the world.

    Comment by DRJ — 12/3/2008 @ 5:55 pm

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