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Mumbai or Bombay? A British newspaper reverts to a colonial-era name.

Mumbai or Bombay? A British newspaper reverts to a colonial-era name. | Kelvis' Regional Geography |

The Independent's concerns over Hindu nationalism led to a change in policy.


The city has been officially known as Mumbai since 1995 when it was renamed by the far-right regional party Shiv Sena, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which currently holds national office in India. Shiv Sena advocates the use of the Marathi language, which is dominant in the state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital. Marathi speakers have long referred to the city as Mumbai, after the Hindu goddess Mumbadevi, the city's patron deity.

Shiv Sena had argued that the previous name, Bombay, was an unwanted relic of British colonial rule in India. That name is believed to be an Anglicized version of the city's name from when it was occupied by the Portuguese — "Bom Bahia," which means "good bay." Both Bombay and Mumbai are now used interchangeably by locals during casual conversation.


Tags: culture, India, South Asia, colonialism, place, regions, language, toponyms.

Kelvis Hernandez's insight:
This is a tough situation. Do you refer to a city by the name given to it by its colonial masters or to the name it was changed to by ethnic or religious nationalists? Honestly neither is an out-right great option, both have negative connotations. The people of the city use both Mumbai and Bombay interchangeably in everyday conversation, so id the best option to ignore the rest?  There are many other cities and nations whos names have changed after colonization, or by extremist. How will those be judged by the media or by the people within them?
Matt Manish's curator insight, March 29, 2018 7:52 PM
Personally, I find it very silly that a single newspaper in England is taking on the role of bringing Mumbai back to its original colony name. If Mumbai is the official name of the city then news being reported about that city should be in reference to Mumbai, not Bombay. The goal of this newspaper should be to educate its readers about the stories it is reporting on and not confusing them by using an old name for the city of Mumbai. This also seems a bit ridiculous to me because there is not a large margin of people trying to bring the old name of Bombay back to this city. It is only this newspaper trying to bring about this name change, which I feel makes their articles more confusing for their readers.
Nicole Canova's curator insight, May 1, 2018 8:04 PM
This highlights a significant part of decolonization.  When colonial powers like Great Britain, France, etc. took control of lands in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, they gave places new names.  This enforced their legitimacy as the colonial power in places by chipping away the local identity and replacing it with their own.  After colonization, many countries renamed places in the language of that region, stripping away unwanted remainders of colonial rule and reinstating their own local and national identity.
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40 Maps That Explain The Middle East

40 Maps That Explain The Middle East | Kelvis' Regional Geography |
These maps are crucial for understanding the region's history, its present, and some of the most important stories there today.
Kelvis Hernandez's insight:
Being able to explain any region in just 40 maps is a very bold claim. While no one would be able to do this Vox was able to make a very interesting set of historically, culturally, and politically themed visualizations of this continuously changing part of the world. Some maps show the borders of an empire past, others discuss the many ethnic groups that call the region their home, and yet another discusses the importance of oil and who has it. 
Lora Tortolani's curator insight, March 15, 2015 8:47 PM

It is interesting to see the same trends over and over again.  These maps are a great tool to show the history of the area, as well as the history of religion and political views.  I appreciate the information provided since the Middle East has undergone the most transitions (going all the way back to Mesopotamia) and its history can be confusing. 

Alex Vielman's curator insight, November 23, 2015 3:17 PM

Maps like the ones posted in this article, really helps people to understand and break down deeply of understanding the entire region as a whole. Visualization is very important in geography when trying to understand the region people are talking about. this region as goes down to the Mesopotamia Era. It is important to know, how the culture was in this area to how it differentiated during the Ottoman Empire. During the first couple of maps, we can begin to see the division of the entire region. As you go on, we begin to notice the divisions between people, religion, language between states and in-states. There is so much information to know about the Middle East region and it may be even harder to understand due to the tons of changes and separations, but it is important to understand these divisions like the Sunni's and the Shi'ites in order to fully explain the development and the current situations that are occurring in this region as we speak. 

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, December 7, 2015 5:18 PM

These 40 maps are a very interesting way of showing how people have traveled around and moved about the Earth from the time of the fertile crescent era to the people of today. It shows us the paths that people have taken to move to a new location. How they used the Meditteranean Sea to move from one side to the other. It also shows how the Tigris and Euphrates came together to form a smaller area of the Persian gulf. This led to smalled economic growth because now there is less land for imports and exports.

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Dropping water levels reveal hidden church

Dropping water levels reveal hidden church | Kelvis' Regional Geography |
A 16th century church has emerged from the receding waters of the Nezahualcoyotl reservoir in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. This is the second time water levels have dropped low enough to reveal the church since the reservoir was completed in 1966.

Tags: drought, Mexico, water, environment, religion, culture, Christianity,  colonialism, architecture, landscape.

Kelvis Hernandez's insight:
"You go in the cage, cage goes in the water, you go in the water. Churches in the water, our church." At least I am pretty sure that's how the line from Steven Speilberg's 1975 thriller "Churches". This 16th-century church just emerged from the nezahualcoyotl reservoir in Mexico which hasn't occurred since 2002. The temple of Santiago was built by monks who came to Mexico around the late 16th century, but it was ultimately abandoned after being hit by the plague in 1773-1776. The drought in the area caused the water level to drop 82 feet. This being the second time water levels have revealed the church, in 2002 visitors were able to walk into the temple itself. 
more...'s curator insight, November 6, 2015 5:39 AM

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Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, February 13, 2018 9:13 PM
In the Chiapas, Mexico there is a 16th century church that has been revealed due to the decrease in a reservoirs water level. This brief article is accompanied by pictures of the church that was abandoned in the 1770's do to the plague. According to the article, this is the second time the place of worship has been seen since 2002. 
Olivia Campanella's curator insight, September 19, 2018 10:53 AM
This 16th century church first emerged from the waters of the Nezahualcoyotl reservoir in the Southern Mexican state of the Chiapas. And since the reservoir was completed in 1966 with the waters dropping low enough to reveal the church for the 2nd time. The waters have dropped low enough in 2002 for people to actually walk inside and stand on.