Despite significant protest from the opposition, the city of Allahabad is all set to be renamed as Prayagraj. This comes after CM Yogi stated yesterday that the name of the city would be restored to its earlier name, Prayagraj. Now, according to media reports, the Cabinet has approved the proposal for renaming the city.
Allahabad is a significant city for many reasons. The judicial capital of Uttar Pradesh is the second oldest living city after Varanasi. It has immense spiritual significance for the Hindus and hosts the Maha Kumbh mela, the largest religious gathering in the world, every 12 years and Ardh Kumbh mela every 6 years. Allahabad was originally called Prayag which translates “place of offering”. It comes from the Sangam (holy confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati). Even though formally called Allahabad, the city is widely and commonly referred to as Prayag. It is mentioned in the Vedas as the place where Brahma (creator of the world) attended a sacrificial ritual. The name, Allahabad is actually an imposition of the Mughal rule. Mughal emperor, Akbar gave the name Allahabad to the city meaning the abode of Allah. The Arabic name was therefore an imposition by foreign invaders on the city which was then known as Prayagraj. There have been long standing demands to rename the city and remove the name imposed by the Mughals. The name ‘Allahabad’ does not represent the history and the belief attached to the holy city. In fact, in 2001 the then Chief Minister Rajnath Singh and then governor Vishnu Kant Shastri were strongly in favour of renaming the city as Prayagraj but the same could not be given effect.
After the restoration of old name of Allahabad, the old names of other cities should also be restored. There are many cities in India which are named after mass murderers and looters imposed by invaders. There are many anglicized name of the cities which are in use, those should be also corrected.
Let’s look at some of the Indian cities which should be renamed immediately:-
- Aurangabad: It is named after barbarian Mughal tyrant Aurangzeb who killed so many Hindus who refused to convert into Islam and destroyed thousands of temples, including our most sacred temples- Kashi Vishwanath-Banaras, Keshva Deo Temple-Mathura, Somnath Temple-Gujarat in the most barbarous manner possible. Not just one, there are two cities named after him, one is in Bihar and the other one is in Maharashtra. While some attempts were made by Shiv Sena in 2011 to rename Aurangabad (Maharashtra) as Shambhaji Nagar, but the ruling NCP-Congress alliance of the state, purposefully stopped it to further their vote bank politics. With the BJP-Shiv Sena coalition ruling the state and the BJP at the Centre we hope both the Shiv Sena-BJP should work in tandem to rename Aurangabad without any further delay.
- Ahmedabad: – Ahmedabad was previously known as Karnavati named after Karna, the Chaulukya ruler of Gujarat. The city was first established in 11th century by the name of Ashaval when Karna successfully defeated the Bhil King of Ahaval in war and named the city on the banks of Sabarmati as Karnavati. It continued with this name for 4 centuries before finally coming under the control of Sultan Ahmed Shah of Muzaffarid Dynasty in 1411 who named it Ahmedabad in praise of 4 Ahmads-Kazi Ahmad, Malik Ahmad, his Islamic teacher Shaikh Ahmad Khattu and himself. He is ‘credited’ with the destruction of Rudra Mahalaya Temple in Sidhpur and converting it into a new Mosque known as Jami Mosque.
- Muzaffar Nagar: -The city was previously named Sarwat and during Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s rule, Munawar Lashkar named it as Muzaffar Nagar, honouring his father Muzaffar Ali. During the forcible acquisition of this city he murdered Brahmins and all other common classes of Hindus in cold blood.
- Hyderabad: -This historical city and its surrounding areas were earlier popularly known as Golkonda and were a part of the Chaulakya dynasty from 624 AD to 1075 AD. It subsequently came under the rule of Alauddin Khilji in 1310. Historians have also pointed out to it being named as Bhagyanagar during its founding years. It was later changed to Hyderabad meaning ‘Haydar’s City’ in honour of Caliph Ali Ibn Abi Talib of Arabia, also known by the name of Haydar or Lion in Arabic. He was instrumental in waging war against polytheists, breaking their idols and was influential in spreading of Islam by converting the masses in his conquered areas along the way while destroying their 1000s of years of culture and heritage.
- Bakhtiyarpur– It is named after Ikhtiyar ad-Din Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji who destroyed Nalanda University which was an ancient centre of learning. The teachers and monks in Nalanda were brutally murdered and all the books were torched. He set the oldest library of the world on fire, lakhs of books were burnt for several months. The destruction of Nalanda University took place between the establishment of Oxford University and founding of Cambridge University. If Nalanda University had not been destroyed it would have been the top leading learning educational institute of the world. But an Islamic barbarian destroyed it and there is place named after that barbaric invader- Bakhtiyarpur. No government bothered to change the name of the place, a name which only signifies cruelty, barbarity and hatred for the Hindu values, culture, traditions and education.
- Lucknow- The original name of capital city of Uttar Pradesh is Lakhanpur (or Lachhmanpur) named after legendry hero of Ramayan.
- Aligarh– Before 18th century, Aligarh was known as Koil, for sometimes it also came to be known as Ramgarh, but after a a Shia commander, Najaf Khan, captured it, he imposed the name Aligarh on the city.
- Patna– the ancient name of the city is Patliputra, it was originally built by Magadh ruler Ajatasatru in 490 BCE. It was the capital of the great Magadh Empire. When its name was Patliputra, it served as the seat of power, political and cultural centre of Indian subcontinent during the Maurya and Gupta empires. Over the period of time, the city lost its original name and the current name-Patna- became mainstream.
- Karimnagar– It’s original name was Sabbinadu. Kotilingala in Karimnagar district was the first capital of the Satavahana Kingdom (230 BCE–220 CE). The city was renamed after Syed Karimuddin.
- Faizabad– The city is named after Shuja ud-Dulah’s courtier Munshi Mohammed Faiz Baksh. Since it is the area of ancient Kosala kingdom’s capital, Ayodhya, there have been recurring demands to rename the city as ‘Ayodhya Dham.’ Last year, UP Deputy CM also stated that the government is considering the restoration of the name.
Restoring original name of the cities is very important. Invaders and colonizers used to change the name of the place in order to remove the identity of that place. A name is not just a name, it is much more than that. When a place loses its name, along with that it also loses its history, culture, identity and pride. If someone breaks our identity then we don’t know who we are and it becomes easier for anyone to colonize our minds. Result of this can be seen, there are very few Indians who talk about historical roots of Indian culture. Our entire history revolves around Muslim dynasties and British rule. There are millions of Indians who feel ashamed to talk about our ancient culture. Restoring the names of these cities is a step towards de-colonizing the young minds.
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