Faizabad District Renamed As Ayodhya; Yogi's Name-Changing Spree Continues Unabated
The current scenario in the country is strange. Though names of cities and places have been changed before, this year, in a short span of time, the names of many places were changed one after the other.
Yesterday, on November 6, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath inaugurated the ”Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium” in Lucknow, which was earlier called the “Ekana International Cricket Stadium”. Also, yesterday, Mr Adityanath was busy coming up with a new name for another district. He has announced that the Faizabad district will be known as Ayodhya. “Ayodhya is a symbol of our ‘aan, baan aur shaan‘ (honour, pride and prestige),” he said in Ayodhya on “Deepotsav” on Diwali eve. “Nobody can do injustice to Ayodhya. I want to make sure that Lord Ram’s legacy lives forever,” reported The Wire.
Faizabad is a district in Uttar Pradesh that consists of twin towns of Faizabad and Ayodhya on the banks of the river Saryu. He also announced a new hospital and a new airport for the district which reportedly, will be named after Lord Ram, and his father King Dashrath.
This is not the first time the country is talking about Yogi Adityanath’s name changing spree. Two weeks back, Uttar Pradesh cabinet cleared a proposal to rename Allahabad as “Prayagraj” ahead of the 2019 Kumbh Mela. After that, the state health minister declared the same.
In October last year, the Yogi government renamed Mughalsarai railway station to Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) station in an attempt to highlight the legacy of the Jan Sangh leader. In Lucknow, Hazratganj Chauraha was renamed as Atal Chowk recently.
With all the name-changing excitement in UP, Gujarat perhaps felt like they were missing out on the fun. Yesterday, the Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government was ready to change Ahmedabad’s name to ‘Karnavati’ if there were no legal struggles.
“People are still having a feeling that Ahmedabad should be renamed as Karnavati. If we get required support to overcome the legal hurdles, we are always ready to change the name of the city,” Mr Patel said.
Move drew flak
Throughout this name-change spree, the BJP government has been facing a lot of criticism over the regular rechristening of places with historical and emotional attachments. After Allahabad’s name was changed, former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav said that the current government was only working its way by showing people how well they can rename things.
“… They have even re-named Ardh Kumbh to Kumbh. This is toying with tradition and belief”, he said. The Congress has also criticised the move. To the criticisms, the Yogi government responded by saying, “Some persons are objecting to renaming Allahabad as Prayagraj. The objections are baseless. It is the right of the government to rename any city. If needed, we will rename more cities and roads. The mistakes done earlier will be rectified.”
The Logical Indian Take
In the last year, many names were changed. Although it seems like a trivial issue, as Shakespeare once wrote, “What’s in a name?” Anyway, the names of places do have emotions attached to them and it is indeed the government’s prerogative to change these names. However, the point is who is this benefitting actually. As the 2019 elections come near, critics and opposition parties are claiming that all these name changes are just a distraction. Moreover, the cost of these name changes is quite significant. All the signs, hoardings, official documents and seals, and myriad other things will have to be changed. This not only takes time in the cumbersome bureaucracy, but also the cost burden is passed on to the taxpayers, regardless of whether they wanted the name change in the first place or not. So, when it is obviously and painfully apparent that a lot of money needs to be spent on developmental activities, especially in Uttar Pradesh then the obvious question is why are we letting the government spend our money on more and more frivolous things.