Challenging Hindu Nationalists, British Newspaper to Use ‘Bombay’ instead of ‘Mumbai’


Amol Rajan, the 32 year old editor of British daily ‘The Independent,’ had today in his challenge to the Hindu nationalists of India, said the newspaper will switch back to using Bombay rather than Mumbai when referring to India’s financial capital.

Defending his stand, Mr. Rajan said that it was against the close minded view of the nationalists. “The whole point of Bombay is of an open, cosmopolitan port city, the gateway of India that’s open to the world,” said Rajan, who was born in Kolkata–formerly known as Calcutta–and brought up in London.

“As journalists, as someone who edits The Independent, it’s incredibly important to be specific about our terminology, he told BBC radio.

“I’d rather side with the tradition of India that’s been open to the world, rather than the one that’s been closed, which is in ascendance right now,” he said, referring to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party which is ruling Maharashtra in coalition with the Shiv Sena.

It is the Shiv Sena that has forced the city’s name to be changed to Mumbai in 1995, after goddess Mumbadevi, the protector of fisherman who was the area’s original inhabitants.

Rajan said post-colonial India had the “open, secular, pluralist and tolerant” tradition of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.

It also had a “slightly nastier strain of Hindu nationalism” and it was important to “venerate the tradition of India which shows the best of India — an open metropolis.”