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India's IT capital gets new 'old' name: Bengaluru

November 1, 2014

In a bid to shed anglicized place names from British colonial rule, 12 cities in India's Karnataka state have been officially renamed. Instead of Bangalore, the country's IT hub will be called Bengaluru from now on.

Indien 'Vidhana Soudha' in Bangalore
Image: Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images

The capital of India's Karnataka state has been renamed. Often termed the Silicon Valley of India for its booming information technology infrastructure, Bangalore on Saturday was officially renamed Bengaluru, in accordance with its local name in Kannada, the Dravidian language spoken in the state.

The city was dubbed Bangalore under British colonial rule.

The proposal to officially rename the city was submitted eight years ago and formally approved by the central government in New Delhi last month.

On Saturday, 11 other cities in Karnataka were also renamed, shedding their anglicized names: Mangalore became Mangaluru, Mysore is now Mysuru, Bellary - Ballari, Belgaum - Belagavi, Hubli - Hubballi, Tumkur - Tumakuru, Bijapur - Vijayapura, Chikmagalur - Chikkamagaluru, Gulbarga - Kalaburagi, Hospet - Hosapete and, finally, Shimoga will be officially called Shivamogga.

Other cities have been renamed in recent years as well. Bombay became Mumbai in 1995; Madras became Chennai in 1996; and the spelling of Calcutta was changed to the more phonetically-accurate Kolkata in 2001. More recently, in 2011, the state of Orissa became Odisha.

Several hundreds of languages are spoken in India, with 22 of them being listed as "official," including English. This gives rise to many variations of place names.

sb/tj (PTI, dpa)