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Created on Jan 24, 1996; last updated Jul 21, 1997.

What's in a Name?

Changing the names of places to reflect the inclinations of rulers was a game played all through history. The recent spate of renamings, though, raises questions about the desirability of a democratic government making such decisions without involving the citizens.

The British changed names with abandon--- transliterating mispronounced versions of local names (Al-Omani became Old Man's Island) or Anglicising them (Palva Bunder changed to Apollo Bunder). Immediately after the independence, nationalistic feelings supported many changes of name. Some were well thought out. Apollo Street in the Fort was renamed Mumbai Samachar Marg after the famous newspaper whose offices are on this road. A few of the changes did not take. Marine Drive is hardly ever called the Netaji Subhash Bose Road.

The renaming fever hit again in 1995, when the city underwent a change of name. Now political parties are vying with each other to rename streets, localities, railway stations and organisations.

List of places which have been renamed

Old name		New name
--------		--------
Apollo Street		Mumbai Samachar Marg
Bellasis Road		Jehangir Boman Behram Marg
Bombay			Mumbai
Churchgate Road		Veer Nariman Road
Flora Fountain		Hutatma Chowk
Marine Drive		Netaji Subhash Bose Road
Sydenham Road		Mohammed Ali Road
Victoria Terminus	Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

List of places which might be renamed

Old name		New name
--------		--------
Marine Lines		Sonapur
Charni Road		Girgaon
Grant Road		Gavdevi
Ulhasnagar		Sindhunagar