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From Mughalsarai station to Allahabad: A renaming spree in 2018

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

From the over 150-year-old railway station to and three iconic islands in and to a World War-era memorial in Delhi, the year gone by witnessed a spate of renaming, many of which sparked public outcry.

Mughalsarai station, created as part of the Delhi-Howrah line laid by the British in the 1860s and one of the busiest railway stations of India, was rechristened to Deendayal Upadhyaya in June while and were renamed and Ayodhya respectively by the government in the latter half of the year.

The rechristening of the station was also slammed by historians and rail experts, some of whom said it amounted to "erasing a landmark chapter" in the evolution of railways in the country and alleged it was done with a "political agenda".

Noted S Irfan Habib, lamented the spate of renaming of public places and cities, alleging that for powers that may be, first the British names were a problem and now anything that has a "Mughal or Islamic identity attached to it" from roads to parks.

"and are historic cities. One can go and see the condition of heritage sites and landmarks in these cities. Instead of investing in that direction, taxpayers' money being wasted on renaming-related work," he said.

The Cabinet in October had approved a proposal to rename the historic city of Allahabad to Prayagraj, months ahead of the Kumbh Mela which begins mid-January.

And close on the heels of renaming Allahabad, announced in November that district would henceforth be known as Ayodhya.

"Ayodhya is a symbol of our 'aan, baan aur shaan' (honour, pride and prestige)," he had said at a grand "Deepotsav" event organised in the pilgrim town, about 120 km from state capital

S Chandnibi, associate at the Aligarh Muslim University, says renaming a city or street or any public place is the "easiest way" for politicians to appease people, when they do not have "real work to show".

"Instead of focussing on real development metrics, like education, health and employment, many elected representatives are busy indulging in renaming bids, and the names are then, in many cases changed in a very undemocratic manner, with no public discussion or consultation," she said.

Emboldened by Adityanath's move to rename Allahabad and Faizabad, in November, MLA Jagan had sought the renaming of either as Agravan or Agarwal.

Garg wrote to the stating that since the people belonging to Agarwal community use to reside in this region, the name of the city should be 'Agravan' or 'Agrawal', drawing mirth on

The renaming exercise in 2018 had begun in January with 'The Teen Murti Chowk' rechristened to 'Teen Murti Haifa Chowk, in the centenary year of the Battle for Haifa (1918) as a symbol of friendship between the people of and Israel, during the visit of

And as the year drew to an end, on December 30 announced renaming of three islands of and archipelago as a tribute to Netaji Subhas

The was renamed as Netaji Subhas Dweep, the as and the as Swaraj Dweep. The three islands are major tourist spots.

Among other renaming exercise, in October the then BJP government in had decided to name Naya Raipur, the upcoming capital city of the state, as 'Atal Nagar' in memory of former

In August, the government had approached the Centre for its approval to rename the airports in Bareilly, and

According to a proposal from the state civil aviation department, the airport is to be named 'Nath Nagri', which is believed to be an ancient name of the city for its history of having ardent worshippers of Lord

is proposed to be named after freedom fighter The proposal says that was earlier known as Kanha Pur and was founded by Sachendi King Hindu Singh.

The airport is proposed to be named after RSS thinker Deendayal Upadhyaya.

Experts say with elections due in 2019, more renaming proposals might come up this year.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 15:10 IST
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