From Bombay to Mumbai – Not Just The Name Change

“The historic identity change of renaming financial capital city from ‘Bombay’ to ‘Mumbai’ in India has many things on story board reasoning the emotional attachment to city inside Maharashtra state. Answers to questions like What was Mumbai called before, Is it an Island city, Who gave the name ‘Bambai’, ‘Bumbai’, ‘Bombay’ and later changed the name and why, What was the meaning behind name ‘Bombay’ and what major changes happened in and after 1996 when Shiv sena officially declared the renaming ?. I have tried to put on major details for those who wanted to know the old and new name tussle and its effects..”

Kalbadevi Streets in Bombay Era
Kalbadevi Streets in Bombay Era

When and How Bombay Was Renamed to Mumbai

Bombay was named referring a Portuguese word called ‘Bombiam‘, just a word which was formed with two original words ‘Bom (Which means Good)’ & ‘Bahai (Bay)’. Many ask’s if the city Mumbai is on an Island? and answer to which is YES. Many changes to the way the city island looked before and now around, This city was originally called an Island city because of the beautiful way it looks (See City Aerial Pictures) surrounded by small islands which are now called Colaba, Worli, Parel, Mahim and Mazgaon and 2 more. In 1995, A Hindu nationalist political party ‘Shiv Sena’, which has strong roots and foundation by Late Shri Balasaheb Thakrey, a tiger persona leader behind the forming party of then ‘The Bombay’. This party kept appealing for changes in name of city and various other related, time after time prior to its existence as governming bosy of Maharastra state which gave the power to execute the will to rename the city. They believed that the name ‘Bombay’ and many of names given to streets and Railway stations (Like Victoria Terminus, Now CST) which was given by then ruling British has to be removed and renamed with the legendary leaders and freedom fighters of India.

Another reason being the city Goddess ‘Mumbadevi‘ who is believed to keep its blessing for survivor of this city has its name ‘Mumba’ which should be the name of this commercial capital of India, which was officially declared in 1996 and the new name ‘Mumbai’ shined everywhere. Not just the city name, Every other business identity, businesses and anything which has till date referred to the old name ‘Bombay’ has to be renamed and referred as ‘Mumbai’ here on. The strong hold of political party which was also known for its violent reply when needed has super pressure on individual citizen too who actually feared to refer city with former old name. Still this city is referred and many time remembered with unique names of retro era like ‘Bambai’ pr ‘Bumbai’ when senior citizens discuss about the the past black and white era and quality time spent in city. You must read about the Old and New names of Mumbai streets which will give the feel of how city was renamed with desi names of legendary personalities of India. Well, If it is a Maharashtra state it has to be the Marathi leaders and freedom fighters along with many others who actually dedicated their life for Nation.

Adding on to the historic details, When Portuguese conquered this bay in 1508 A.D from Arabs, they renamed it from old name given by Arabs which was ‘Al Omanis‘ to new Portuguese given name ‘Bom Bahia‘ as detailed before which means ‘A Good Bay’ with beautiful harbour’s of east side. Later on Britishers developed the bay, started some businesses etc and gradually renamed it to ‘Bombay‘. Later on a great Maratha fighter Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj took over and ruled Maharashtra up and high all in the Maratha hands from various others who has an eye on the state being one of the best for business and commercials.

As the development took place the localities started referring the city name to ‘BAMBAI SHEHAR‘ in Hindi language. Some famous songs from Bollywood used the name in the songs like ‘Mein Bambai ka Baabu‘, ‘Ye hai bombay meri jaan‘, ‘Bambai humko jam gayi‘, ‘Yeh Bombay Shehar Hadso Ka Shehar Hai‘ etc. Forget about this retro songs, Bombay word is still be loved to be used in Bollywood, For example the 2006 released song ‘Bambai Nagaria‘ which shows the strong roots of this city’s past. Still the current name is used everywhere and while referring in written or verbal and so are the reasons the names plates, hoardings and boards on local railway stations and places around are renamed, like from ‘Bombay Central’ to ‘Mumbai Central’. This beautiful Island city has also a strong story about early residents known as ‘East Indians’ with a unique culture and traditions they still follow which had fishing as one of the primary business in those days. Worli Koliwada fishing village is one of the best examples in city and a place of attraction. See Mobai Bhavan museum to know more about East Indians roots in Mumbai as it still has glimpse of former Bombay. Also see videos to feel the same.

Some Old Fact Of Bombay

  • In 1995 a movie named ‘Bombay’ was released which showcased a love story around Hindu Muslim riots in city.
  • It was year 1996 when Bombay was officially renamed to Mumbai.
  • Bollywood was allowed to use word Bombay in Hindi songs, Like ‘Ye Hai Bombay Meri Jaan’ which is now ‘Ye Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan’.
  • Stock Exchange is still named as ‘Bombay Stock Exchange’ (Short reference BSE).
  • An famous old Hospital is still called with its Original name ‘Bombay Hospital’.
  • Due to the changes in old name ‘Bombay’, Impact is so much that today no shops in market are allowed to use the word and has to have its hoarding’s in ‘Marathi Language’ besides any other language like English which is commonly used.

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My love towards Mumbai city took me to passion blogging from hobby. Upon quitting job, now i am one of the online city & travel guide since 2007. Hope my efforts helps citizen, foreign nationals & tourists in some or other ways.

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