7 May 2016

Mullywood

Norwegians refer to their country as Norge, not Norway. The Portuguese call their capital city Lisboa, not Lisbon and over in Italy, the city that English speakers call Rome is known as Roma. Germans call their country Deutschland but we call it Germany and the country we call Japan is known as Nippon to the Japanese.

I have no problem with the differences cited above and I am sure we could all come up with dozens of similar examples. Naming protocol within any particular country  will often be at odds with the names applied by foreigners.

And so to India. In the sixteenth century, Portuguese trading vessels happened upon a lovely coastal inlet  that they christened Bom Bahia  or "good bay". There was no significant settlement there at the time but it later became a thriving trading city that was known for two hundred and fifty years as Bombay - until in 1995, the Indian government renamed it Mumbai. The reason for this name change was never made entirely clear but there were vague noises about ridding the country of the last vestiges of colonialism.
The Gate of India in Bombay
The Indian government are more than welcome to call their cities whatever they want. They could rename Delhi Boaty McBoatville for all I care but why should the rest of us fall into line with their dubious name changes? As I say, we call Norge Norway. And I for one will continue to ignore name changes dreamt up by the Indian government.

For me, Mumbai will always be Bombay. Chennai will always be Madras. Kolkata will always be Calcutta. Kopchi will always be Cochin, Puducherry will always be Pondicherry. Mysuru will always be Mysore. Varanassi will always be Benares. 

I wish that the politically correct white flag wavers could see sense and stick to the historical, familiar names of these places instead of going along with ill-considered name changes proposed by meddling politicians. Should the name Bollywood now be changed to Mullywood? Should "Bombay Sapphire" gin now be called "Mumbai Sapphire"?  It's all a load of cobblers.

26 comments:

  1. Bombay sapphire should be renamed " nectar"

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    1. And those who gulp it down should be called alcoholics.

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  2. I still call Uluru, Ayres Rock at times and then correct myself. What I think you are really pointing out is that it is difficult to unlearn something that we have learned and used (reinforced). On the subject of India though, I worked with some IT people from Mumbai and never thought of them as being from Bombay. Although British colonialism never affected my life except for It Ain't Half Hot Mum. I know I still refer to Hong Kong as Hong Kong instead their reverted Chinese name, whatever it is.

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    1. 香港 = Fragrant Harbour (Hong Kong)

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  3. Now if you're buying an atlas be careful. Some atlas's have all the new names. We have all the aboriginal names to deal with. Places were named long before the white man came. Now some places are taking the original names.

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    1. Places like Bombay and indeed many Canadian settlements only came into being because of the dreaded "White Man". Some so-called original names are just modern inventions and in India with its several different languages and dialects, how can you really settle upon a correct name anyway?

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  4. And they call Australia - "Lee's Place"! ;)

    And I still call politically correct, politically correct nonsense!

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    1. And I'm not fond of gin...whether it be Tanqueray, Brownqueray, Redqueray, Bombay Sapphire or Mumbai Topaz. The last time I had gin was in late 1986 when I had a couple of Singapore Slings in the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel, in Singapore...of course.

      If I were to drink gin it would be Tanqueray or Bombay; in that order of preference.

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    2. I wondered where all those places disappeared to YP. No chance of me visiting India anyhow. Not interested !

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    3. I am surprised you are not interested in visiting India Helen. It is a vast and multi-faceted country with much colour and historical interest. Well, that's what I think anyway.

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    4. And I don't even get a mention!! I'm hurt! I'm sulking! :(

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    5. Trouble was Tony's wife jumped in before I could reply to you Lee. I know how sensitive you are - like a fragile flower - so I am deeply, deeply sorry for any uset I may have caused.

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    6. *sob* I'm sorry...but I can't respond right now...*sniff*

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    7. Is that because I spelt "upset" incorrectly?

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    8. Uset it, not me!!!!

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  5. Well as a person living in a country (Scotland) where many names have changed over the last 40 years and in a part of that country where almost everywhere now has at least two names (a Gaelic and an English one) I see things in a different way perhaps.

    My initial reaction was that you had your tongue in your cheek when you wrote that post. I hope you did have.

    Many places on Lewis, for example, were named or re-named by Viking settlers. Over the centuries Gaels, Scots, the English and Uncle Tom Cobley and All have altered spellings and pronunciations to suit themselves and over the last 40 years the resurgence in the Gaelic language and culture has seen everywhere outside (the principally English speaking) town of Stornoway (Steòrnabhagh) with a Gaelic or Gaelicised name.

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    1. My tongue was not in my cheek Graham. Plenty of Indians of different cultures, religions and social sects have been troubled by all the confusing and seemingly pointless name changes imposed by pretentious politicians who have often failed to think the proposals through.

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  6. This business of countries around the world reverting back to the original place names is all about national identity. I agree that it is difficult at first to re-educate our selves however, ultimately it is all about respect!

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    1. For example, many residents of Mumbai still prefer Bombay. It is a great name. I think it was disrespectful of Indian politicians to try to take away the old name without reference to the people who live there. The choice of Mumbai in a land of many languages is also politically and culturally loaded.

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  7. This is a bugbear I share with you. We say Florence, not Firenze, Spain, not Espana, Brazil, not Brasil and even Paris, not 'Paree'. And of course the French say Londres not London. I'm not sure what they call Sheffield - probably something unprintable or unpronounceable.

    Meanwhile the media feel they have refer to Mumbai, Kolkata and Beijing presumably in a fit of guilt at our colonial past, a guilt I do not share.

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    1. We are united Ian but thankfully not in a physical sense!

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  8. Wherever it is, and whatever it's called these days, all I hope is that GPS can find it !

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    1. I didn't realise that you are an airline pilot CG!

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  9. Ultimately, Mr. Pudding, city name changing in India has nothing to do with you or me. It has to do with the people who live there. I think we can refer to those cities however we like...the old names or the new. I doubt the average Indian citizen thinks too much about this given the many problems that India has such as their ineffective government bodies and water quality issues and poverty and crime.

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    1. That is just what I said Mama Thyme - they can call their cities what they like but just as we call Lisboa Lisbon and Deutschland Germany why on earth should we be falling into line with Indian name changes? But obviously I take your point that India has much bigger and more prickly fish to fry.

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  10. I suppose the most prominent example of name-changing or actually name-reverting in North America recently is probably that Mount McKinley in Alaska is now being called Denali in a nod to the Inuit (formerly called Eskimo) population.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.