Sambit Patra, BJP national spokesperson on July 13 shared two pictures on Twitter comparing sign boards on Dehradun railway station. One of the photos apparently show the name of Dehradun written in Sanskrit – "Dehradunam" – along with Hindi and English, replacing Urdu. The name written in Hindi, English and Urdu in first photo was replaced with Hindi, English and Sanskrit.The tweet hinted that the purported change is latest.
Patra's tweet was shared over 18,500 times and had garnered over 100,000 likes.
Following Patra's tweet, the other Twitter users who reacted to this piece of information seemed to believe that the railway signage was changed recently.
More such tweets can be accessed here.
Sanskrit replaced Urdu on Dehradun Railway station signboard.
The claim is misleading.
A reverse image search with Yandex led to a news reports regarding it, from this year.
According to a Hindustan Times report, which was published in February 2020, the Railways ministry had decided to put the name of the stations in Uttarakhand in Sanskrit to promote the use of Sanskrit in the state.
The signboards earlier had the names of railway stations written in Hindi, English and Urdu but were changed to the corresponding Hindi, English and Sanskrit versions.
Dehradun railway station was named Dehradunam and Rishikesh was renamed as Rishikeshah.
Why The Sudden Name Change?
Reportedly, back in January, a local BJP leader had written to the railway officials asking about the absence of Sanskrit signage.
Under railway manual, it was mandatory to have names of places on such boards in the second official language, which is Sanskirt inn Uttarakhand.
Following this, the name of Dehradun railway station was written in Sanskrit as Dehradunam, along with Hindi and English, when the station re-opened for public after three months.
Railway On Changing Names
A controversy soon started as the names were not spelled right leading to original board being restored. As per the HT report, Rekha Sharma, senior divisional commercial manager Moradabad railway division under which Dehradun station falls, said that the name was written by the construction agency which was renovating the station. They had put up a board with the name written in Sanskrit. The board was removed as soon as the matter came to light.
"First of all, the state government has to provide us with how the names of the railway stations are to be written in Sanskrit. Only then we would be writing to the railway headquarter to clarify on that fact of adding a fourth language on station signboards," Sharma was quoted as saying back then.
She, however, had agreed that the name of a new railway station in Rishikesh (Yog Nagari Rishikeshah) had been written in Sanskrit along with Hindi and English.
Sanskrit As Second Language For Uttarakhand
A decade ago in 2010, former CM of Uttarakhand, Ramesh Pokhriyal had given Sanskrit the status of the second official language of the state.
Sanskrit scholars opined that Uttarakhand is Dev Bhoomi (sacred land) and as such, it is natural to have Sanskrit as its official language.
"People have been speaking in Sanskrit since ages in this land, from saints to common people, everyone spoke in Sanskrit earlier. Over the years, the speakers of the language have reduced, but that does not reduce the importance of the language in the state. Slowly with efforts like introducing Sanskrit in schools and adopting villages where the language can be spoken for day-to-day conversation, we will be able to revive the Sanskrit language again", Madan Kaushik, cabinet minister and official spokesperson of the Uttarakhand government was quoted as saying.
Further, Division Railway Manager (DRM) Moradabad, on February 7, issued a clarification notice regarding the replacement of Urdu with Sanskrit from Railway signboard in Uttarakhand, On Twitter.
"Indian Railways has neither replaced the Urdu language from any station nor has any intention to do so at this point in time. Sanskrit may be used as an additional language apart from existing languages in the signboards at railway stations but will not replace Urdu wherever the same exists," reads the letter.
News Channel Aaj Tak published a report on the name change incident on February 14, 2020, which carried a photo of the Sanskrit name being changed back to Urdu on the signboard at the Dehradun station.
Below is a photo of the report (Translated to English):
Further, AajTak also shared a ground report from the station on Facebook. It clearly shows the Urdu name on the signboard.
Therefore, the photos Sambit Patra shared which were considered to be a recent development by Twitter users occurred earlier this year. Although the Urdu name of the station was changed to Sanskrit, it was restored to original a few days later in the absence of official notification regarding changing names.
Alt News has also fact-checked the same claim.
The Logical Indian has earlier debunked other misinformation shared by Sambit Patra, which can be accessed here, and here
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