A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Friday, November 28, 2008

BBC wins - The Times loses - It's Mumbai!

The BBC, with its slavish attachment to calling Bombay Mumbai, has caused The Times to bow out gracefully and, from 1st December, refer to the city “formerly known as Bombay” as Mumbai.

Richard Dixon, chief revise editor of The Times, says, "Key to policy at The Times on the usage of place names is that they are adjudged to be recognisable to a majority of our readers. After the events that started on Wednesday the name Mumbai has been used extensively in other media to which our core British readership is exposed. It would be foolish to ignore that context. We also have a global online audience to consider." I would think that when all this has died down, many in the UK will still think of Bombay as Bombay.

I wonder if anybody who said Bombay on a BBC broadcast would be corrected or whether it would be allowed to pass. Maybe there's a naughty room for those who prefer to say Bombay. It is a sad reflection that such an insiduous adherence to this perceived political correctness has caused The Times to consider this move. I'm not convinced that a "majority of our readers" at The Times are helped by the change.

If the BBC is of the opinion that this name-changing is important, let them revise every Italian city for starters. That would be a sign of consistency. They won't, though.

I realise that this is of minute importance compared with the other problems in the world, not least the outrage in Bombay itself. However, I am miffed by the ever-so-slightly pompous way this has been brought about in this country.

I think The Times should have stood firm, but there you go!

PS - Another interesting take on this in The Guardian. And this gem from a BBC blog - "As a regular traveller to Bombay, it has been impressed on me many times by Bombayites, that Mumbai is a politically invented name and as such is deemed by a large majority of Indians to have racist conotations. General chit-chat in the bars of Bandra or Worli will always refer to the Anglicised Bombay when English is the language being used." So much for the BBC's local knowledge!!


I agree - I am well acquainted with Bombay - but still have to stop and wonder where on earth Mombai is - see I can't even spell it properly.

I'm pleased I'm not alone on this! Thanks.

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