Renaming places, institutions, welfare schemes: India

From Indpaedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Hindi English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


A history of renaming


Dhananjay Mahapatra, Why are political parties hysterical about renaming roads, places & schemes?, August 7, 2017: The Times of India

In India, parents do extensive research and often in volve relatives and friends to find a suitable name for their newborn. When India was born as an independent nation, the Constituent Assembly debated for close to two years to finalise what should be the name of the new country in the world map.

We as a nation became independent on August 15, 1947, but the christening of the country was approved by the Constituent Assembly in the second half of 1949. There were plenty of names suggested by various stalwarts of freedom struggle. Most common among the suggestions were Bharat, Hindustan, Hind, Bharatbhoomi, Bharatvarsh, Jamboo Dwipa and Aryavarta.

Even after the members zeroed in on Bharat, there was still more heated debate on how Article 1(1) of the Constitution should be framed -whether `Bharat' should figure before or after India.

The proposal to put Bharat before India was defeated by 51-38 votes and the members adopted “India, that is Bharat, shall be Union of States“ as Article 1(1).

After independence, the Congress for decades had a free run in naming and renaming government welfare schemes, buildings, airports and roads after political figures. In May 2012, the UPA government had informed the Parliament that of the 58 central schemes christened after eminent persons, 16 schemes, or 27%, were named after Rajiv Gandhi and eight after Indira Gandhi.

Schemes were also named after Mahatma Gandhi, Jawa harlal Nehru, Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore, Raja Ram Mohan Roy , B R Ambedkar, Zakir Hussain, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Maharishi Sandipani, Khuda Baksh, Jagjivan Ram, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Rani Laxmibai, Kasturba Gandhi, Ghani Khan Choudhary , Sant Longowal, Pandit Dwaraka Prasad Mishra and Satyajit Ray .

Two schemes were named after Deendayal Upadhyaya, who at the age of 51 became president of Bharatiya Jana Sangh in December 29, 1967.He was in the saddle, considered the parent party of BJP, for just 43 days.

His body was found near Mughalsarai railway yard on February 11, 1968. The CBI probed his death and arrested two, accusing them of pushing Upadhyaya to his death from a running train.Theft was the alleged motive.The trial court acquitted the two. Justice Y V Chandrachud committee was set up to inquire into the incident. It also supported the findings of the CBI probe.

If Congress government had a free run in christening central schemes after its iconic leaders, BJP has shown promise to follow the beaten track. Within six months of coming to power, it launched two schemes -Deendayal Upadhyaya Gra meen Kaushalya Yojana to train 10 lakh rural youth in three years and Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (earlier known as Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana).

And now, the government has kicked up a controversy by rechristening Mughalsarai railway station after Deendayal Upadhyaya. Why erase a historical name for the sake of a party leader, howsoever tall he may have been?

Ask any BJP leader about the absurdity of changing the name of Mughalsarai, a station that served as a junction for those coming to Delhi from Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam and northeastern states, to Deen Dayal Upadhyaya station, and the prompt reply is “did you ask this when Connaught Place and Connaught Circus was changed into Rajiv Chowk and Indira Chowk?“ Well, we did question rechristening of Connaught Place. But the name `Connaught' did not connect with people as much as Mughalsarai.

The name of cities -Bombay , Calcutta and Madras -have been changed to Mumbai, Kolkata and Channai. But the move to rename historic high courts still functioning in the old names have run into trouble.Though the government had introduced a bill last year to rename the HCs as per the new name of these cities, Calcutta HC has unanimously rejected the proposal for rechristening it and the Tamil Nadu government wants the name of Madras high court to be changed to high court of Tamil Nadu. The government has not moved thereafter on this front.

Surprisingly , there has not been any major move to challenge in the Supreme Court the rechristening of cities or naming of schemes after political personalities. But the Supreme Court had stepped in decisively when a PIL in 1990 brought to the court's notice a decision by the central government to convert the historical Viceregal Lodge in Shimla into a five-star hotel.

The first in-principle decision was taken by the Indira Gandhi government in August 1982 which had also asked the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies to shift out of Viceregal Lodge. In 1990, the decision for preliminary work was taken and a PIL was filed by Rajeev Mankotia demanding that the historical building be declared a protected heritage building to stop the five-star mischief.

After forcing the Centre to declare it as a heritage building, the SC in March 1997 concluded the proceedings by saying, “Petitioner has served a great cause of national importance and we place on record his effort to have the Viceregal Lodge preserved and maintained; but for his painstaking effort, it would have been desecrated into a five-star hotel and in no time, `we the people of India' would have lost our ancient historical heritage.“

Time will tell if ever the SC takes up some PILs challenging the basis for naming and renaming of central schemes, airports, buildings and roads, by governments to colour it with a certain political hue.


Six facts on the city renaming spree, November 12, 2018: The Times of India

Different reasons to change name

Recently, BJP run state governments have been on a name changing spree. In Uttar Pradesh, Allahabad is to become Prayagraj while Faizabad district will be Ayodhya district. Haryana decided Gurgaon should be Gurugram. While renaming for political purposes was not uncommon even in the past, this scale of ‘religious’ renaming is been unprecedented. For instance, Ismail Khurd village in Rajasthan is now Pichanwa Khurd while the new name for Miyon ka Bara is Mahesh Nagar.

My name is better than yours

Uttar Pradesh is not unacquainted to name changes with change in political regimes. In 2012, the Samajwadi Party government under Akhilesh Yadav renamed eight districts earlier named by Mayawati. Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar became Amethi, while Ramabai Nagar was rechristened as Kanpur Dehat. Similarly Bheem Nagar, Prabuddha Nagar and Panchseel Nagar were renamed as Sambhal, Shamli and Hapur respectively. Kanshiram Nagar was renamed as Kasganj while Jyotiba Phule Nagar became Amroha. The most interesting is the case of Hathras

The curious case of Hathras

How can you tell who is in power in UP? Look at what a certain district in Western UP is officially called. If it’s Hathras, it must be the SP or BJP in power, if it’s Mahamaya Nagar, behenji is in the saddle. In 1997, Mayawati’s government created a new district by carving out areas around Hathras town from Aligarh and Mathura districts. She named it Mahamaya Nagar after Gautam Buddha's mother. Kalyan Singh’s government changed it to Hathras only for it to become Mahamaya Nagar again in 2002 when Mayawati returned to power. Mulayam Singh in 2006 said sorry, it’s back to being Hathras. A year later, Mayawati stormed to power and we saw the return of Mahamaya Nagar. Five years later, Akhilesh Yadav returned the favour and it’s back to Hathras. Watch out for what happens if an SP-BSP alliance wins.

Getting the pronunciation right

In 2014, the central government approved the renaming of 12 cities in Karnataka. Many of these were in effect respelling of existing names to match the pronunciations based on local scripts. Bangalore became Bengaluru; Mangalore-Mangaluru; Mysore-Mysuru; Bellary-Ballari; Bijapur-Vijayapura; Belgaum- Belagavi; Chikmagalur-Chikkamagaluru; Gulbarga-Kalaburagi; Hospet-Hosapete; Shimoga-Shivamogga; Hubli-Hubballi and Tumkur-Tumkuru. Calcutta to Kolkata, Bombay to Mumbai or Trivandrum to Thiruvananthapuram would arguably fall into this category too.

In track changes mode

Mughalsarai station was renamed as Deen Dayal Upadhayay Junction. The renaming of railway stations is also an old phenomenon. Built in 1887, Mumbai’s iconic Victoria Terminus was renamed Chhatrapati Shiva-ji Terminus in March 1996. Eleven years later, it acquired a further honorific to become Chhatrapati Shiva-ji Maharaaj Terminus. Ahead of Janmashtami celebrations this year, the railways approved the renaming of Jharkhand’s Nagar Utari town and railway station to Banshidhar Nagar, after the Banshidhar Temple located in the state’s Garhwa district.

We aren’t alone

Name changes are not a peculiarly Indian phenomenon. Several international cities have also been renamed. For instance what used to be Canton is Guangzhou, Saigon is Ho Chi Minh City, Leningrad was and is back to being St Petersburg, Constantinople is Istanbul and Stalingrad, where one of the most famous battles of Second World War was fought, was and is now Volgograd. Even countries can get renamed. For instance, before 1935, Iran was Persia. Similarly, Myanmar was Burma and Sri Lanka was Ceylon.

2011, 2016, 2018: Centre vetoes West Bengal’s renaming

Saibal Gupta, West Bengal can’t be Bangla, says Centre, November 14, 2018: The Times of India

The Centre has returned the state’s proposal to rename itself as ‘Bangla’ suggesting instead the name ‘Paschimbanga’, which is favoured by the state unit of BJP. The ministry of external affairs has objected to the name citing its similarity with Bangladesh.

The Mamata Banerjee government had proposed the renaming thrice — 2011, 2016 and 2018. The first proposal, ironically, to change the name to ‘Paschimbanga’ was turned down by the UPA-2 government. No reason was given for it, sources claimed. The 2016 proposal to name ‘Bengal’ in English, ‘Bangla’ in Bengali and ‘Bangal’ in Hindi was turned down by the NDA government.

“We haveconsistently demanded that West Bengal’s name, if changed at all, should only be Paschimbanga.,” state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said.



Renaming places in India, 2015-18: I
From: August 12, 2018: The Times of India
Renaming places in India, 2015-18: II
From: August 12, 2018: The Times of India

See graphics:

Renaming places in India, 2015-18: I

Renaming places in India, 2015-18- II

The renamings of 2018

The renamings of 2018

Why all renamings are not the same | 11 Nov 2018 | The Times of India

Indian cities have always had multiple names, with Benaras coexisting with Kashi and Bombay with Mumbai. But as the clamour for name changes grows, this syncretic approach is under threat

‘Even old New York was once New Amsterdam, why they changed it I can’t say, people just liked it better that way,’ goes the famous song called ‘Istanbul’ (not Constantinople).

Every now and then, cities shake off their uncomfortable pasts and change their names. Canton is Guangzhou, Saigon is Ho Chi Minh City. In the late 1990s, states across India also decided to break with colonial histories, and go with older or indigenous city names. Bombay, Madras and Calcutta chose new identities, and so did Bangalore and Cochin. It is another matter that some of the old names still trip off the tongue; officially, the new names are what matter.

But now, BJP governments across India are on another renaming spree. From Mughalsarai station and Aurangzeb Road, now entire towns and districts like Allahabad and Faizabad are being rebranded to convey a mythic landscape of Prayagraj and Ayodhya. Ahmedabad might become Karnavati.

This new rash of renamings is different from the earlier attempt to Indianise British names. Now, the agenda seems to be to erase all Muslim-sounding names and replace them with names that evoke past Hindu glory.

However, the fact is, Faizabad was always located outside Ayodhya, built from scratch by the new nawab as the capital of Awadh. There was no historical wrong, no assault on an existing Hindu heritage. The word Awadh itself is a tribute to Ayodhya. “So in the case of these cities, there was no ancient past being erased. The very names call up a history of confluence,” says cultural theorist Ranjit Hoskote.

“The renaming has overlooked syncretic traditions of both Faizabad and Ayodhya. Faizabad has been the point of origin of Avadh’s ganga-jamuni tehzib that travelled to Lucknow with Nawab Asafuddaulah, while Ayodhya has always nurtured the tradition of vidhwa bandhutwa (global harmony)”, says Shah Alam, writer, and founder of the Ayodhya Avam ka Cinema movement. It is inaccurate by any measure — the geographical boundaries of the epic Ayodhya might have to stretch to other districts of Barabanki, Gonda, Basti, Sultanpur and Bahraich, part of the 84 kosi parikrama, he points out.

Meanwhile, the new city created by Akbar was called Ilahabas, the abode of the divine (rather than specifically Allah) — and Prayag refers to a specific sacred spot, where the rivers Ganga and Yamuna meet, points out Hoskote. Settlements were not built on top of each other, but alongside, he points out, and the nature of Indian culture is of a palimpsest, layers, rather than one thing forcibly rubbing out another,’ he says.

What’s more, the name we use depends on the context. We might say Prayag in a ritual or ceremonial context, but say Allahabad to refer to the town. “We would say Mumbai while speaking Marathi, Bombay if speaking English. This is the ‘Indic’ way, this is the natural code-switching from one register to another, the many versions that we are comfortable with. It is a Western, ‘Cartesian’ mentality where you annihilate one thing and replace it with another,” says Hoskote.

Even in the Gangetic plain, it is impossible to sever the connections strengthened over hundreds of years — in the language, the clothes, the food, the music and dance. Whether it is kathak or thumri, the churidar pajama and the names we have, these cultures have been too tightly intertwined for us to even tell them apart now. “The Bhakti and Sufi movements influenced each other. Even the Gorakhnath order (the Nath yogis where UP CM Yogi Adityanath is connected to) had connections with the Chishti tradition,” says Rana Safvi, who specialised in medieval history and syncretic culture. She points to the respectful aadaab greeting, a secular gesture rather than a religious one. As the musicologist Peter Manuel writes, Hindustani music tells a story of Muslim patronage and connoisseurship and Hindu themes, and its performers and traditions cannot be categorised as Hindu and Muslim.

While the UP government may count on the new city names sticking after a generation or two, old memories are also stubborn. For instance, 62 years after its renaming, people still call Varanasi both Benares and Kashi. Signboards may change but it’s difficult to undo the past that produced us.

2018: a partial list

Allahabad To Faizabad: 25 Places To Get New Name In One Year| November 11, 2018 | Press Trust of India

The Centre has given consent to the renaming of at least 25 towns and villages across India in the past one year

Pending proposals

Renaming of West Bengal as 'Bangla

Proposals not received till Nov 2018

Proposals to change the names of Allahabad to Prayagraj and Faizabad to Ayodhya are yet to be received by the ministry from the Uttar Pradesh government, the official said.

Approved name change proposals

Arikkod as Areekode in Malappura district of Kerala;

Garhi Sampla as Ch. Sir Chhotu Ram Nagar in Rohtak district of Haryana;

Khatu Kalan village as Bari Khatu in Nagour district of Rajasthan;

Landgewadi to Narsinhagaon in Sangali district of Maharashtra;

Mihgawan Chhakka as Mihgawan Sarkar in Panna district of Madhya Pradesh

Mihgawan Tilia as Mihgawan Ghat in Panna district of Madhya Pradesh

Outer Wheeler as A P J Abdul Kalam Island, situated in Bhadrak district of Odisha;

Pindari as Pandu-Pindara in Jind district of Haryana;

Rajahmundry as Rajamahendravaram in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh;

Samphur as Sanphure in Kiphire district of Nagaland.

Shukratal Bangar as Sukhtirth Bangar in Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh.

Shukratal Khadar as Sukhtirth Khadar in Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh

Last year, the Centre had approved the proposal to rename the iconic Mughalsarai railway station to Deen Dayal Upadhyaya (DDU) station after the Jan Sangh leader who was found dead in the railway station in 1968.

Approval was also given to add the word "Maharaj" in Mumbai's iconic Chhatrapati Shiva ji Terminus. It is now known as Chhatrapati Shiva ji Maharaj Terminus.

Rejected proposal

However, a proposal to change the name of Kacharigaon to Phevima in Dimapur district of Nagaland was rejected by the home ministry recently, the official said.

Older renamings

The name of any state was changed last time in 2011, when Orissa became Odisha. Names of Bombay was changed to Mumbai in 1995, Madras to Chennai in 1996, Calcutta to Kolkata in 2001.

The central government had approved the renaming of 11 cities of Karnataka, that included Bangalore as Bengaluru, in 2014.

The procedure

The home ministry considers such proposals according to the existing guidelines in consultations with agencies concerned, another official said. The home ministry gives its consent to the change of name of any place after taking no-objections from the Ministry of Railways, Department of Posts and Survey of India.

These organisations have to confirm that there is no such town or village in their records with a name similar to the proposed one.

The renaming of a state requires amendment of the Constitution with a simple majority in Parliament. For changing the name of a village or town, an executive order is needed.

The proposal to change the name of West Bengal to 'Bangla', as suggested by the state government, was recently forwarded by the home ministry to the Ministry of External Affairs for its opinion as the proposed name sounded similar to the name of neighbouring country Bangladesh, the official said.

Proposals being considered in 2018

On Thursday, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said the state government was considering renaming Ahmedabad as Karnavati and the name change could be effected before next year's Lok Sabha elections.

BJP leader Raja Singh said on Thursday that the party would "aim" to rename Hyderabad and other cities in the state after the names of great people if it is elected to power in Telangana after the forthcoming assembly polls.

Personal tools