When Did Bombay Become Mumbai?

Locals have always called it that, but city made it official in 1995
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2008 2:07 PM CST
An unidentified girl playfully chases away pigeons as life returns to normal in Mumbai, India, Monday, Dec. 1, 2008.   (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
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(Newser) – The terrorist attacks last week saw Mumbai dominate headlines across the world. But when did Bombay become Mumbai? For locals it’s always been Mumbai, in honor of Mumbadevi, the city’s deity, writes Christopher Beam for Slate. But the city’s official name change happened in 1995, when the nationalist Shiv Sena party came to power and enacted a number of measures to reassert Marathi identity in the region.

Shiv Sena saw “Bombay” as an English version of “Mumbai” and therefore a reminder of British rule. At the time, the party also sought to do away with “Bollywood,” which derives partly from “Bombay”—but the nickname of India’s film industry has persisted.