A day after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced that Faizabad would be renamed Ayodhya and that a new airport in the town would be named after Lord Ram, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said Ahmedabad would be renamed Karnavati. The decision to change the name of Ayodhya comes days after Allahabad was renamed Prayagraj and Mughalsarai, a major train junction, was renamed Deen Dayal Upadhyay junction.
In fact, when Adityanath was a parliamentarian from Gorakhpur, he changed the names of several localities in his constituency. Urdu Bazar became Hindi Bazar and Ali Nagar became Arya Nagar. Similarly, Islampur was renamed Ishwarpur and Humayun Nagar, Hanuman Nagar. Two years ago in Delhi, there was a clamour from the BJP, to which both Adityanath and Rupani belong, to change the name of Aurangzeb Road in the heart of the national capital because in the party’s view, the Mughal ruler was a tyrant. The party had its way and the name was changed to honour the late President A P J Abdul Kalam.
The announcements were predictably denounced by the opposition parties. The more uncharitable called the changes a result of ‘Tughlaqi farmaan’. That all the towns, roads and localities whose names were changed have an Islamic connection betrays a patently communal mindset. While such moves pander to the sentiments of rightwing elements, they have no significance for the common people, whose main concerns remain jobs, education and health.
For Delhiites and even visitors, Connaught Place remains CP although the late Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao renamed the iconic marketplace as Rajiv Chowk. The same is the case with Paranthewali Gali in old Delhi. Although only a few shops in the lane sell ‘paranthas’ today, the name has stuck because the locals are against any change. Clearly, the political class would do well if it concentrated on the business of governance instead of such pointless exercises.