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Slamming history to ‘restore’ national pride

The BJP is bent on renaming roads that bear Muslim rulers’ names as it strives to ‘restore’ national pride

Why are political parties that come to power successively at the Centre bent on renaming roads and buildings? It has become a habit for political bosses to suggest and implement change of names of historically important monuments and roads. The Congress-led UPA governments used to do it. And when the BJP-led NDA came to power, the practice has seen a new high.

As far as a nation like India is concerned, the soul of the country is deep rooted in history. The fact that Muslim rulers wielded power needs to be acknowledged too, while looking back at history.  With the BJP leaders all for renaming roads and monuments that currently bear the names of Mughal rulers, the practice looks a tad murky, as it could be an attempt at rewriting the facts of history.

Of late, the BJP in Delhi has been clamouring for changing the names of roads in the capital city. The names they want to change include that of Tughlaq Road, Akbar Road, Aurangzeb Lane, Humayun Road and Shahjahan Road. The reason they believe that these roads need to be changed is because the names “symbolise Muslim slavery”.

Restoring national pride by renaming roads

A letter from Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta to the civic body NDMC has called for renaming of these roads. He wants Tughlaq Road to be renamed Guru Gobind Singh Marg, Akbar Road needs to be Maharana Pratap Road, Aurangzeb Lane should be Abdul Kalam Lane, Humayun Road should be Maharshi Valmiki Road and Shahjahan Road should be named after General Bipin Rawat. Not just that, Gupta wants Babar Lane to be renamed after freedom fighter Khudiram Bose.

Though it would take a while for the panel of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), which has the jurisdiction over roads in central Delhi, to decide on the name-change call, the issue brings to the fore as to whether such wiping off of history is actually imperative. Historians have often tried to drive home the point that it wasn’t just Muslim rulers that ruled the nation from Delhi. There were also Hindu rulers. However, the BJP seems to have a thing for the Muslim names adorning the streets of Delhi.

Why they look at the ancient period as a Muslim slavery era is beyond one’s comprehension. For, the Mughals have been responsible for many a development initiatives and path changing laws that transformed India for the better. On the contrary, it had been the British rule that stands synonymous with what they call slavery. However, the BJP is against Muslim names on sign boards, as they think they evoke memories of Muslim slavery!

As per the NDMC rules, requests for renaming should have ‘taken into account history, sentiment and whether a personality needs to be acknowledged in that manner’. What Adesh Gupta’s contention is clear. The party he leads in the Delhi region is averse to Muslim names on their street signs.

national pride

‘Indianness’ as BJP sees it

Adesh Gupta is just the latest in the string of BJP men who wants to rename roads and monuments. Ever since 2014, the year that saw the BJP led government assume power, many a monument and road had seen their name being tossed out and new ones with those that emanated “Indianness”!  Delhi saw a slew of name changes, and so did Uttar Pradesh.  The powers that be sit assured that what they do are being done for the good of the country, and that the renaming is a manner in which national pride can be restored.

Look at it from a common man’s point of view, and it would become clear that the name changing spree is just another manner in which the ruling party at the Centre looks at complete saffronisation. All that it would achieve would be dividing people and wiping away the facts of history.

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Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The New Indian Express, MSN India, PanAsiaBiz. Sanjeev can be reached at [email protected]

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