When one observes Indian literature that was written somewhere around the time of Independence (Pre-Independence era according to what i know), proper nouns are spelled in quite a few ways (names of people and places). Of course, the ones i've read are those which were translated into English.
Perhaps, then, each region had a particular pronunciation for a specific word and the same pronunciation has been used to spell the word in English. I also think that, maybe, the localisation of a language in a geographical area could have given rise to this. These days, i don't assume there'd be much difference between two different lets say towns.