Podcast | Why is the Govt Changing So Many Cities’ & Towns’ Names?

First, Allahabad became Prayagraj.

Next, Faizabad became Ayodhya.

Now, there’s a BJP MLA who wants Agra to be called Agrawal.

Are we finally done with the name changing though? No chance!

In the past one year, the Central govt has agreed to change the names of 25 towns and villages across India.

That’s the big story for the day. What, when, why, and how have people reacted to this?

In October, the UP govt, led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, announced that it was changing Allahabad’s name to Prayagraj. Because Allahabad was originally called Prayag, over 400 years ago.

It’s November now, and these are some of the new developments in the Centre’s name-changing spree.

Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani confirmed that Ahmedabad’s name will be changed to Karnavati some time before the 2019 general elections. Now a BJP MLA from Agra, Jagan Prasad Garg, wants to change Agra’s name to Agrawal.

Fun fact, the Central government has said that it still hasn't received the proposals to rename Allahabad and Faizabad.

Elsewhere, in aamchi Mumbai, a Marathi outfit called the Sambhaji Brigade wants Pune to be renamed Jijapur.

I mean, seriously, Jijapur?

Odisha’s Outer Wheeler will be renamed to APJ Abdul Kalam Island. Haryana’s Garhi Sampla is being renamed Sir Chhotu Ram Nagar. You can see the whole list on The Quint.

So anyway, it wasn’t the opposition that took the chance to attack the govt’s name-changing spree, but a member of the UP Govt’s cabinet itself. UP Minister OP Rajbhar reacted to Allahabad and Faizabad’s names being changed by asking the BJP when the muslim members of the BJP’s cabinet would change their names.

The UP CM responded to this by stating that only people who don’t respect their history and the great leaders of the country would talk this way.

Changing the name of a city is a costly affair. The names of buildings, signboards, roads, administrative papers and a lot of other things need to be changed, and all this costs money.

So, apart from the political criticism the move has received, many people also feel that the same amount of money could be better spent on things Agra really needs.

Better roads, infrastructure, electricity connections, and facilities for living. These are just some of the things that Agra’s citizens feel the taxpayers’ money could be better spent on.

However, on the other side of the debate, some people, like historian Sardandu have called the name changes a “correction of history.”

And in a twist of irony, another historian Professor Irfan Habib responded to the name changes by saying that the BJP’s President Amit Shah should change his name since it isn’t based in Sanskirt, but in Persian!

He says if the party wants to change names to be more Indian, they should first start with their own names and then move on to renaming cities.

(With inputs from Kamran Warsi in Agra)

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