Names of Indian Cities

The biggest issue with the names of Indian cities is that they change :). I know of some other countries where it changes as well.

Of the 4 largest cities in India, 3 have changed names in the recent past. Calcutta became Kolkata (2001), Madras became Chennai (1996), Bombay became Mumbai (1995). The most recent being the change of Bangalore to Bengaluru (2006). So next time someone uses the term Bangalored they need to be corrected.

The change of names is typically done to replace imperial names with a local names or to correct the spelling to match the local pronunciation. Frequently the name change is controversial.

Additional problem is that the names of streets also change. I have a friend whose house shifted from Theatre Road, Calcutta to Shakespeare Sarani, Kolkata without them having to call a packer and mover.

I guess that explains why I attended University of Calcutta in Kolkata or why Kolkata airport code is CCU.

Comments (4)

  1. Rajesh Kumar says:

    Ok, I remember the name change is also to avoid confusion for the stock exchange!!

    Previously, stock exchanges were: Delhi Stock Exchange (DSE), Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), Calcutta Stock Exchange (CSE), Madras Stock Exchange (MSE).

    When Bombay changed the name to Mumbai, it was difficult to have two MSEs. Same would have happened if Madras was called Chennai without allowing Calcutta to change, then we would have two CSEs!!

    Hence the name change!! (Just kidding)

  2. J B says:

    I am not a blogger and do not have any URL of my own. I have an e-id : and am a resident of Kolkata. I had been desparately looking for a comprehensive list of all roads, streets, lanes and by-lanes pincode wise. My search has not yet yielded the desired results. If you know or happen to find a source please forward the link at the anbove address.


  3. Yes I understand their names have been changing since long 🙂

  4. ravi says:

    Madras is always Madras, no matter whoever changes it or calls it otherwise.

    Changes are so much irritating and make life more difficult . I always say Madras as I’m used to from childhood but people around me frown as I’ve uttered some obscene word.

    Well, If you don’t like british names or anything done by british then, why do you still celebrate Jan 1st as New year? We have seperate Tamil New Year right? Why don’t you destroy the high courts, railway tracks constructed by british & reconstruct from the start? Sounds stupid right… Same way, It sounds stupid to change from Madras to Chennai when both co-existed without any problem. Now , only Chennai exists . where’s my magnificent Madras? My DOB Certificate lists it as Madras. A’m I born in a city which does not exist? These changes promote regionalism & not nationalism… which will ultimately result in a separate Country ThamizlNadu(Once known as the State of Madras).

    Don’t know where will it End?

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