Friday, 28 November 2008

The "Colonial" Times

Picking up my daily read this morning I was horrified to see on the Times front page the sub headline (since not searchable in the online archive):

At least 125 dead in Bombay [sic] violence spills into second day.

I'd not picked up yesterday's paper as I was walking to the newsagents on a day of when the express bus pulled up at my bus stop, so it may well have been the same yesterday. However, over 10 pages 7 of news, the leading article, the opinion piece of Maria Mistra and even the letters page, every single mention of Mumbai (the official name of the city since 1996) it is instead called Bombay.

Clearly the Times is still living in colonial Times.

Update: In the comments DG has tried to excuse the Times by saying they have used this because most British people now the city as Bombay. This is not much of an excuse as the Times being a broad street is generally read by the upper socio-economic groups. This is especially true when the equivalent MSM The BBC, The Independent and The Grauniad are all using Mumbai. Even the tabloid press the Daily Fail, the Scum* and the Daily Express have not deemed it necessary to so dumb down. The Times stands alone in its ignorance or deliberate editorial policy of using a rejected name of foreign imposition for the native name of the city making such sad news headlines over the past couple of days.

*As a Liverpool fan I had to break 19 years embargo on reading the Sun to check out their website for this piece.


  1. Quite simply the majority of British people know the city as Bombay. It's a non-issue.

  2. Actually DG seeing as the same paper referred the Beijing not Peking Olympics earlier in the year. And as the BBC, The Independent and Grauniad all seem to realise that the British people will know where they mean when they refer to Mumbai, it would appear to only be an issue with the Times. My newsagent wasn't too pleased when he saw his families home misnamed on the front page of my paper either.

  3. The front page headline in yesterday's Times read simply "Carnage in Bombay", and can be seen here.

    (Note that the Scottish edition front page is often different, but yesterday it was deffo identical.)

    Would have to say that 'Mumbai' has little resonance with me (sure it'll change now), but on the other hand Beijing is totally different.

    I suspect this is simply due to the volume of media coverage over the years - Mumbai/Bombay is rarely mentioned, whereas Beijing has had more lots more coverage in the last decade or two, at least from my perspective.

    To that extent The Times has a point, but now might be good time for it to change its usage.

  4. "As a Liverpool fan I had to break 19 years embargo on reading the Sun to check out their website for this piece."

    * hug *