Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mumbai, Bombay, Mambai & Bambai

The original 7 islands inhabited by Kolis that became this city

Till 1996, we called this city what we wanted, we called it Bombay in English, Mumbai in Marathi, Mambai in Gujrati and Bambai in Hindi. Then divisive politics happened and the one and only exclusive name became Mumbai. Bombayites and Bambaiyas became Mumbaikars. If after that you dared call this city anything but Mumbai you risked the wraith of political goons assualting you, or attacking your house.

Why this divisive politics? What is the need for a divisive strategy? Does it win more votes? Is it the only way? What about an inclusive strategy? Why not have added the names Mumbai, Mambai and Bambai to the then official name Bombay? After all isn't dosen't our own country have 3 names: India, Hindustan, Bharat ? Germany has 2 names: Deutschland and Germany; Holland is called both Netherlands and Holland; and there are many more examples.

The names Bombay and Mumbai both have historic origins. Bombay comes from the Portuguese term Bombaim, which means Good Bay, which probably refers to the fantastic natural bay and shipping harbour, that lead to the establishment of the Bombay port, which was instrumental in giving birth to this essentially trading and shipping city. The word Mumbai, originates from the patron goddess, Mumba Devi, of the Kolis (the original inhabitants of this land before it became a city) where the word Devi translates into the word Ai, which means mother in Marathi.

So why can't we have 2 names or 4 names? Why can't we allow people to use whatever they are comfortable in using? Whatever suits them. Surely our heart is large enough, because we have an Indian heart, which is known to be especially large.

Now that the follies of our divisive methods, which pits man against man, are coming haunt us through terrible events, where the lives of innocents is being lost, let us roll back these silly divisive actions and thinking, because more than adding 3 names, it is a roll back in our divisive thinking to a purer thinking, where we are once again inclusive in our thinking.

Lets campaign for Inclusive thinking, starting with adding 3 names to the existing solitary name of this beautiful city with beautiful people.

1 comment:

zo said...

Russel Peters still don't call Mumbai "Mumbai" but "Bombay" :)