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Digging Indian colonial roots: British newspaper to call Mumbai as Bombay

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New Delhi: In the latest move, The renowned British newspaper and online publication, The Independent, has decided to call India’s largest city, Mumbai with its previous colonial-era name of Bombay.

We give you heads up on what the issue is all about:

  • The newspaper’s India-born editor, Amol Rajan, stated the decision to be in direct response to what he argued were the Hindu nationalist connotations of the name Mumbai. “If you call it what Hindu nationalists want you to call it, you essentially do their work for them,” Rajan told BBC radio.
  • The decision has led to a debate both inside and outside India, sprouting many supporters as well as challengers of the new policy.
  • The city has been officially known as Mumbai since 1995 when it was renamed by the right wing regional party Shiv Sena who advocates the use of the Marathi language, dominant in the state of Maharashtra. Marathi speakers have long referred to the city as Mumbai, after the Hindu goddess Mumbadevi, the city’s patron deity.
  • It was argued by Shiv Sena that the previous name Bombay is an Anglicized version of the city’s name and was an unwanted relic, reminding of the British colonial rule in India. The interchangeable use of both names among locals can be witnessed during their casual conversation now.
  • After consulting with senior staff members, Rajan attributes his decision to the general feeling of growing intolerance in India. “I do believe that a spirit of intolerance is spreading through India, with very alarming news about censorship every day,” Rajan added. “That strengthens the case for making this move, in my view, to defend the tradition of a country whose commitment to openness, tolerance and pluralism is both ancient and endangered.”
  • Hoping to not have instigated a fierce backlash back home, Rajan believes that the publication’s standing would not be affected in India. However, no immediate comment could be acquired from the Mumbai city officials.
  • “I don’t know what the reaction will be in India, and wouldn’t want to guess,” he said. “I hope India’s grand tradition of free expression is strong enough for it not to impede our reporting – and believe it will be.”
  • While the involvement of Shiv Sena in renaming Bombay makes it a unique case, there are several other cities apart from Mumbai, which have been renamed in a bid to shake off their colonial links.
  • The city previously known as Madras was renamed to Chennai in 1996. Rajan’s own birthplace of Calcutta is now officially called Kolkata.
  • Rajan hinted towards the newspaper examining other such cases inside or outside India, in the near future. “I am not committing to it yet, but there may well be a case for dropping Myanmar for Burma – the former being the junta’s favored option,” he said. “I wouldn’t call Sri Lanka ‘Ceylon,’ and other cases such as Beijing/Peking don’t warrant a change for now.” (Inputs from Agencies)
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Punjab National Bank detects $1.8 bn fraud at a Mumbai branch, Links to Nirav Modi

Punjab National Bank, the second largest public sector bank in India

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Punjab National Bank is India's second largest bank. Wikimedia Commons
Punjab National Bank is India's second largest bank. Wikimedia Commons
  • Punjab National bank has detected a $1.8 billion fraud
  • The fraud happened in their Mumbai branch
  • The matter has been referred to law enforcement

Punjab National Bank, the second largest public sector bank in India, has detected a $1.8 billion fraud in one of its branches here, the bank said in a regulatory filing to the stock exchanges on Wednesday.

Punjab National Bank experiences a fraud of $1.8 bn.
Punjab National Bank experiences a fraud of $1.8 bn.

“The bank has detected some fraudulent and unauthorised transactions (messages) in one of its branch in Mumbai for the benefit of a few select account holders with their apparent connivance,” the filing by the bank said.

It had quoted the quantum of such transactions was to the tune of around $1,771.69 million (around Rs 11,515 crore).

The amount of fraudulent transactions is equivalent to eight times the bank’s net income of about Rs 1,320 crore ($206 million).

Also Read: Raghuram Rajan: The Man Who Revolutionized The Indian Banking System

This case has happened at a time when the Indian banking system is already grappling to tackle its swelling non-performing assets.

“Based on these transactions other banks appear to have advanced money to these customers abroad. In the bank these transactions are contingent in nature and liability arising out of these on the bank shall be decided based on the law and genuineness of underlying transactions,” the filing said.

Punjab National Bank's Mumbai branch is now under high scrutiny. Wikimedia Commons
Punjab National Bank’s Mumbai branch is now under high scrutiny. Wikimedia Commons

The bank informed: “The matter is already referred to law enforcement agencies to examine and book the culprits as per law of the land.”

On February 5, the Central Bureau of Investigation had booked billionaire diamond service provider Nirav Modi, his brother, wife and an enterprise companion for allegedly cheating Punjab National Bank of over Rs 280.70 crore last year.

Also Read: Con man in Delhi Duped Amazon for over Rs. 50 Lakh; Arrested by Delhi Police for Fraud

Following the complaint, the CBI registered a FIR under the Indian Penal Code sections related to criminal conspiracy, cheating and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act against the four.

The stock of Punjab National Bank was trading at Rs 149.20 per share, down 7.70 percent at the BSE at 1.59 p.m. IANS