Recently, a man named Deepak Tanwar wrote a letter to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, requesting him to change the name of Delhi's iconic Khan Market. His preferred alternative? Valmiki Market. Yes, you heard that right.
As per news reports, Tanwar said that he had come up with the idea after watching an interview of PM Modi where the latter addressed elite media as the Khan Market Gang. Tanwar explains that Valmiki is an integral part of India's history and therefore, naming the famous market after him would simply help promote the country's rich mythological past.
Interestingly enough, Tanwar is in no way associated with the market. He is neither a resident nor does he own shops in the area.
For the unaware, Khan Market is one of the most well-known markets in Old Delhi and is also considered to be one of the most expensive high-end retail streets. The market was established in 1951 and consists of over 150 shops. As far as nomenclature is concerned, the market was named after Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan, a famed freedom fighter. The name was chosen by the first traders who set up shop in the area in an attempt to honour Khan whose efforts and sacrifice during the freedom struggle has been well-documented.
More than its history, Khan Market is an icon in itself and naturally, people did not quite take well to Tanwar's suggestion.
One Twitter user clarified the name, "Khan Market is named after Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan (brother of Gaffar Khan). It is named after him because at the time of partition he safely brought immigrants from what is now Pakistan to the area that is now Khan Market. People who still live there will tell you their history."
Khan Market is named after Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan (brother of Gaffar Khan). It is named after him because at the time of partition he safely brought immigrants from what is now Pakistan to the area that is now Khan Market. People who still live there will tell you their history. https://t.co/nrFPOrPv4A— Siddharth Singh (@siddharth3) May 17, 2019
In #Streetwise today, we look at #KhanMarket, a refugee market set up in 1950: deserted, doomed to fail, ordinary. Today: most expensive retail space in India, haunt of city’s who’s who, and back in focus after PM Modi’s #KhanMarketGang statement to @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/vUwBukxWJZ— Somya Lakhani (@somyalakhani) May 17, 2019
Congrats to Delhi for the official christening of the Khan Market Gang. The gang’s board will meet every Tuesday at 7 PM at Perch. Wearing colourful robes and a top hat is mandatory. People who repeatedly say Big Chill has good coffee are advised they are not welcomed. pic.twitter.com/hChx0hnm3H— Kabir Taneja (@KabirTaneja) May 12, 2019
Even Mehbooba Mufti couldn't help but condemn the letter written by Tanwar:
What a sacrilege! Named after Khan Abdul who gave safe passage to immigrants from Pak to the place now known as Khan market.Renaming it to Valmiki won’t change allegiance of gangs of Khan market/ Lutyens. Nor does it change the fact that Muslims played a key role in 🇮🇳 progress https://t.co/NjaojZkbMF— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) May 17, 2019
Spotted some liberal types plotting sinister things there...— Saba Naqvi (@_sabanaqvi) May 15, 2019
Because Khan Market is in news and because we all have our own Khan Market story:) This was acquired many years ago pic.twitter.com/HTl6a9ZjTX— Sunanda Vashisht (@sunandavashisht) May 14, 2019
It was aptly named after popular NWFP leader Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan or Dr Khan Sahib, the elder brother of Pashtun Independence activist Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan or Frontier Gandhi.May 17, 2019
I think khan market is the best name because I am born in delhi I know about the meaning of khan market like if you said khan market its feel very richest market in the city don't change— Prashant Vaish (@Prashan23674018) May 17, 2019
Unfortunately its name will b changed..
India is a name changing country but not in development .. pic.twitter.com/oM1Qv6AHpQ— zubair ☠️ (@ibinadam99) May 17, 2019
Hopefully, the Indian government will take into account the opinions of these emotional Delhiites before changing the name of a market which is deeply embedded in the cultural history of the city.