British newspaper The Independent will go back to using “Bombay” rather than “Mumbai”, the official name adopted in 1995 by the Shiv Sena when it controlled the Maharashtra government. The Shiv Sena’s right-wing ideology is a mix of Marathi-language and Hindu nationalism.
The newspaper’s editor, Amol Rajan, claimed the move was a stand against the “closed-minded view” of right-wing Hindu nationalists in India. “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 raised in London – formerly known as Londinium.
The Shiv Sena had adopted "Mumbai" since it is the name of the city in Marathi, the language of the state of Maharashtra. While "Bombay" was adopted by the British, the name is also commonly used by Mumbai's English-speaking elite. A third name, the Hindi-Urdu "Bambai" is also spoken widely in the city but, like "Bombay", does not have any official status and is rarely used in written Hindi or Urdu.
Russel Peters, a well-known Canadian comedian of Anglo-Indian descent – his father was born in Mumbai – agrees with Rajan about calling it “Bombay” but for a completely different – and totally hysterical – reason.