22 MARCH 1997, Page 29

Etymologically correct

BOMBAY came in the dowry brought to Charles II by Catherine of Braganza, and is said to derive its name from the Portuguese born bairn: good harbour. This imperialist etymology would never do, and I must now try to remember to say Mumbai. If that is too much, I can go on to Yangon and try my luck in Myanmar — names dreamed up by a military government whose opponents show dissent by continuing to say Rangoon and Burma. Safer, perhaps, to stay put here and see what happens to the current sug- gestion of renaming it Bombay.