The name-change had been a long time coming: It had been planned by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) when it was in power in Uttar Pradesh in the early 1990s, but was postponed following riots after the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
The small town was home to India’s second prime minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri; Upadhayaya was found dead near the station, under mysterious circumstances, in 1968.
After Mughalsarai, the name of Allahabad was changed to Prayagraj. Both acts of revisionist nomenclature drew flak from the Opposition, who saw it as an outcome of BJP’s Hindutva ideology.
The defenders argued that giving places their “original” names was like reclaiming their identity. This is a post-colonial project in many parts of the world.
However, de-Islamisation and equating the Islamic period in India with European colonisation is a flawed process, the aim of which is more political than historic. No matter, proposals to change the names of Shimla, Aurangabad, and even the Taj Mahal are in the works.