Home > Art + Culture > “#Bombay, because Mumbai is the city, Bombay is an emotion!”

“#Bombay, because Mumbai is the city, Bombay is an emotion!”


By Ushi Patel


Photo Taken At The Bombay Canteen


On my husband’s first adventure to Mumbai/Bombay, India, he asked many times what name to use when speaking to locals in reference to their beloved city. “I’m a white guy from America with British ancestors!” This question would also come up in relation to the name of our brand, Bombay House, despite its beautiful origins.

I didn’t have an answer. I’d always heard mixed opinions about the use of Mumbai versus Bombay – my nationalistic uncle heatedly speaking of Imperialism and my South Bombay friend scoffing at the backwards thinking of her country people. Writers use Bombay to describe an exotic port city of India, while Mumbai didn’t quite have the same ring. Every perspective had weight.


When we did a quick online search, the results were mixed. We went the old-school route and started polling local and international friends, family, journalists and professors. Again, mixed. While traveling throughout India and listening to conversational usage, also mixed. We we’re perplexed.

Then, we discovered the sign above at The Bombay Canteen (our new favorite restaurant). It helped us decide about the name of our brand, summing up our sentiments and experience of an amazing city – brimming with a diversity of ideologies, ethnicities, culture, innovation, and walks of life. An evolving city firmly rooted in India, but with global impact and cultural prominence.

“#Bombay, because Mumbai is the city, Bombay is an emotion!”


We respect that the name-change fits the tradition of India versus that of colonizers, bringing a new hope and sense of identity. We love cultural reverence. But our brand is focused on the emotion versus solely the locale. We represent the blend of tradition and culture with modern life. So we chose to proudly keep, Bombay House, the namesake of our great grandparent’s business (founded in South Africa – btw) in tact. A shout out from across the world. Thank you Bombay Canteen for the inspiration!


For those of you wondering, here’s an interesting New York Times article, by William Safire that gives a good overview of the name changes in several countries (including Mumbai/Bombay) and the complications of such shifts. Here’s another from Christopher Barn at Slate that gives a shorter and more precise summary of the reason for the Bombay to Mumbai change.

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