Indias name change fetish

Bangalore is now officially Bengaluru— Mysore will be called Mysuru— twelve cities in Karnataka woke up to new names on Saturday, which is also the 59th Karnataka Rajyotsava (Karnataka Formation Day).

The new names have come into force after the state government issued a special gazette notification to effect the changes, giving them the distinct local flavour.

Now, Mangalore will be called Mangaluru, Bellary will be called Ballari, Belgaum will be called Belagavi, Hubli has become Hubballi, Tumkur is Tumakuru, Bijapur has changed to Vijapura, Chikmagalur to Chikkamagaluru, Gulbarga to Kalaburagi, Hospet to Hosapete and Shimoga will now be known as Shivamogga.

Bengaluru is said to be a derivation from the older name Benda-Kaal-Uru, which means ‘the city of boiled beans’.

The city has in recent decades metamorphosed into the country’s IT capital, earning it the tag the Silicon Valley of India, as also as Biotech capital, after its earlier forms as a Pensioner’s Paradise and Garden City.

Since independence, a number of India’s biggest cities and states have undergone place name changes as their states underwent reorganization. Many of these changes to city names were done to make those names reflect the linguistic systems in the various areas.

Mumbai vs Bombay

Mumbai was formerly known as Bombay, which has its origins (Bombaim) in the 1600s with the Portuguese. When the British then took control of the colony, its name became Bombay- an anglicized version of Bombaim.

The name Bombay then stuck until 1996 when the Indian government changed it to Mumbai. It is believed that this was the name of a Kolis settlement in the same area because many Koli communities were named after their Hindu deities. By the early 20th Century, one of these settlements was named Mumbadevi for a goddess of the same name.

Chennai vs Madras

In August 1996, the city of Madras, located in the state of Tamil Nadu, had its name changed to Chennai. The city was renamed because it is in the language of the area’s original inhabitants and Madras was seen as being a Portuguese name and/or was associated with the former British colony.

Kolkata vs Calcutta

In January 2001, one of the world’s 25 largest cities, Calcutta, became Kolkata. According to Bengali pronunciation the city was always called “Kolkata” prior to the arrival of the British who changed it to Calcutta.

The changing of the city’s name back to Kolkata in 2001 was then an attempt to get back to its earlier, non-anglicized version.

Puducherry vs Pondicherry

In 2006, the union territory (an administrative division in India) and city of Pondicherry had its name changed to Puducherry. The changing of the name to Puducherry was a result of the area’s history.

The city and territory’s inhabitants said the area had been known as Puducherry since ancient times but it was changed during French colonization. The new name is translated to mean “new colony”.


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