Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Name changing pastime

Political parties have indulged in name changing in order to bolster their image as true nationalists and believe that by being name changers, it will be a game changer politically. Political parties indeed feel a sense of great achievement by this “great sense of national duty”. Names of many cities and important places have been changed during the past decades and the habit will continue whenever the need arises. The Congress had done it in the past and today, the BJP has gone a step further by making it amply clear they are going to change the names of cities, roads and institutions especially with Muslim names. Some years back, BJP changed the minority affairs ministry and department of empowerment of persons with disability from Paryawaran Bhawan to Deendayal Antyodaya Bhawan, after Jan Sangh ideologue Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay. Critics say the name changes are an attempt to rewrite India’s history and extend the Sangh’s cultural influence. RSS leaders believe the names of places should be tied to their “history and culture” and the Sangh already uses “historic names” to address cities. Aurangzeb Road in Delhi’s Lutyen’s zone was changed to Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Road to honour the late president. BJP also proposed to change Shahjahan as Dashrath Manjhi Road. The notion behind renaming Muslim names is based on the theory that the Mughals did not create anything but only destroyed existing mandirs to build their monuments and give Muslim names. This was the argument against the Babri Masjid that it could not be a new monument; it had to necessarily be built on the ruins of an earlier existing structure. The once familiar and popular Gurgaon was also renamed as Gurugram because the BJP at Haryana felt Gurgaon was a nativist and vulgar name. However the renaming of the well known historic city of Allahabad to Prayag by the Yogi Adityanath government in UP has less to do with historical fact but more because it was a Mughal name.However, according to Hindi poet Bodhisattva , there never was a Prayag that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claim to be restoring now. New Delhi is set to have renaming of at least half a dozen streets with Mughal names that will be renamed. The process has begun under the BJP-controlled New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) . Those likely to be affected besides streets include villages or colonies such as Humayunpur, Yusuf Sarai, Begumpur, Saidul Ajab, Hauz Khas after freedom fighters, Delhi riot victims, famous selected artistes and sportspersons of the country. Tughlaq Road could be renamed as Guru Gobind Singh and Babar Lane as Khudiram Bose and Shahjahan Road as General Bipin Rawat Road. Mughal Sarai railway junction in UP is to be renamed as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Junction and Faizabad as Ayodhya. The BJP has also set its eyes on Telangana where it plans to rename Hyderabad as Bhagyanagar if it comes to power in the state. who have made renaming of Muslim names as patriotic duty, perhaps believe that the existing names of invaders should be erased from history. There is also a belief that at least 95% of Muslims in India were Hindus who converted and therefore there is a need to restore these to their Hindu-ness. Though there is nothing right or wrong about renaming places, it should not be made an illogical past time that is used for political and not historical reasons.

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