By now, everyone must be more than aware of the ‘furore’ caused by the ‘radical’ decision of changing the name of Allahabad back to Prayagraj, as announced by the Government of Uttar Pradesh. While an overwhelming majority celebrated this decision, terming it as an ‘end of an imperial burden’, the usual suspects howled about how toxic this decision was for the ‘Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb.’ This decision corroborates the fact that CM Yogi Adityanath, unlike others does not seem to continue with what was imposed earlier.
According to most of the native historians, as well as the traditional minded residents of the city, Prayag was the original name of the city, which was changed in the late 16th century to Ilahabad by Mughal Emperor Akbar. The British further changed it further to Allahabad, and it was until 2018 that following massive public pressure, the incumbent UP government finally decided to change the name back to Prayagraj, ahead of the iconic Ardh Kumbh Mela to be held in 2019.
To quote a state BJP spokesperson, ‘‘The BJP government has rectified the mistake made by Akbar.” No wonder the so called intellectuals, who haven’t still gotten over their colonial hangover, were the first ones to cry foul on this issue.
The criticism didn’t escape the eyes of the bold and maverick CM, Yogi Adityanath. So in a press brief at Haridwar, he literally took the seasonal critics to the cleaners.
To quote him, ‘……..When I changed the name of Allahabad, some people raised questions over it. Some also said what is there in the name. So, I said why didn’t their parents name them ‘Raavan’ and ‘Duryodhan’ in that case? In this country, the name holds a lot of significance’ He also added that the decision of changing the name was taken in keeping with the ‘wishes of the people.’
With this quote, CM Yogi Adityanath has literally hit the ball out of the park. We never heard someone addressing himself as Dushasan or herself as Shurpanakha, have we? Moreover, the name of Prayagraj reflects the holy confluence of the two rivers, Ganga and Yamuna [Jamuna in the local lingo]. As such, awarding it any other name, especially an Islamic one, is not only awkward, but a forceful imposition of an ideology over the sentiments of the masses.
His reference was clearly at the hypocrisy of these seasonal critics, who had no problem when Bombay was renamed as Mumbai, or Calcutta as Kolkata, but would go hoarse if Allahabad was renamed as Prayagraj. Interestingly, even when the government changed the name of the railway station of Mughalsarai to Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyay Junction, the same critics were gasping for breath.
The CM also took potshots at the criticism of Congress party. Invoking the legendary quote of poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar on such ‘unpatriotic’ people he said, “Those who are opposing this are not aware of their history, culture and traditions and we can’t have hopes from them.”
Yogi Adityanath has proved time and again as to why he is a man of reckoning. But with this effective retort, he has also proved that he is no pushover, and he is here to stay in this tumultuous field of politics. On a lighter note, let’s hope that the liberals have adequate medicines to nurse their burns, which they would’ve received without doubt, on hearing these statements.
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