Renaming of cities in India

The renaming of cities in India started in 1947 following the end of the British imperial period. Several changes were controversial, and not all proposed changes were implemented. Each had to be approved by the central government in New Delhi.

The renaming of states and territories in India has also taken place, but until recently with actual substantial name changes in both local language and in English such as the old British state name of Travancore-Cochin to Kerala (1956). The most notable recent exceptions are Indian English spelling-changes of Orissa to Odisha (March 2011)[1] and the Union Territory of Pondicherry (which includes the City of Pondicherry) to Puducherry.

Renaming in local languages

In the post-colonial era, several Indian states' names were changed. Some of these changes coincided with the States Reorganisation Act of 1956, a major reform of the boundaries of India's states and territories that organised them along linguistic lines. At this time, for example, Travancore-Cochin was renamed Kerala. Later state name changes include the reorganisation of Madhya Bharat into Madhya Pradesh in 1959;[2] and the renamings of the Madras State to Tamil Nadu in 1969, of the Mysore State to Karnataka in 1973, and of Uttaranchal to Uttarakhand in 2007.

Name changes have varied with respect to the levels of language at which they have been applied, and also accepted. Some of these local name changes were changes made in all languages: the immediate local name, and also all India's other languages. An example of this is the renaming of predominantly Hindi-speaking Uttaranchal (Hindi: उत्तराञ्चल) to a new local Hindi name (Hindi: उत्तराखण्ड Uttarakhand). Other changes were only changes in some of the indigenous languages. For example, the renaming of the Madras Presidency to Madras State in 1947 and then Tamil Nadu in 1969 required non-Tamil speakers to change from an approximation of the British name (Tamil: மதராஸ் மாகாணம் Madras Presidency, then Madras State Tamil: மதராஸ் மாநிலம்) to a native Tamil name (Tamil: தமிழ்நாடு Tamil Nadu, "Tamil land").

In general, changes to the local names of cities in the indigenous languages are less common. However, a change in English may sometimes also be a reflection of changes in other Indian languages other than the specific local one. For example, the change of Madras (Tamil: மதராஸ் Madras) to Chennai (Tamil: சென்னை Chennai) was reflected in many of India's languages, and incidentally in English, while the Tamil endonym had always been Chennai and remained unaffected by the change. Similarly, Bombay, which was always called 'Mumbai' in Marathi, was restored to Mumbai in 1996.