What is the new name of Gurgaon

Back to the future with town signs

25 years ago, India's face began to change thanks to economic reforms. Likewise, a large number of cities have been renamed to distance themselves from the colonial past.

India is changing rapidly. The economic reforms are generally considered to be the hour of its birth, exactly 25 years ago. Since then, the face of almost every Indian city has changed: high-rise buildings have been erected, traffic has exploded.

But the cities are not only changing externally, also in their names. Since gaining independence, a large number of Indian towns have been renamed, which is often read as a break with the colonial past. It was just as important, however, to adapt the official name to the name in the local language and to transcribe it more consistently. So Calcutta was always called Kolkata in Bengali, and in Tamil one always spoke of Chennai, not Madras. The IT metropolis Bangalore and the neighboring palace city of Mysore were given a common ending in Kannada, the official language of the state of Karnataka, and are now called Bengaluru and Mysore. In Thiruvananthapuram, the fact that Kerala's capital is “the city (puram) of God (thiru-) Anantha” in the local language Malayalam, and Trivandrum is ultimately just an abbreviation for the admittedly tongue-twisting original.

Not all renaming are equally accepted. The residents of Mumbai continue to call their city Bombay, and Pondicherry or the loving Pondy are preferred in Puducherry. Most controversial, of course, are politically motivated new names. The Hinduization of Muslim city names such as Allahabad and Ahmedabad called for by right-wing circles has not yet been implemented.

In Delhi's suburb of Gurgaon, the trend towards renaming is currently combined with the dramatic external change in India. Nothing embodies the development of the last 25 years more than the skyscrapers, shopping malls and international company headquarters in the satellite town, which was recently a village. However, this is not reflected in the new name. The future Gurugram is named after a figure from the Mahabharata, a 3,000-year-old heroic epic.