The Absurdity of the Name Change Game in India: Dr. Shashi Tharoor, You may Disagree

The politics of name change is being played out as if it will be a self-sufficient technique to guarantee development and progress of the country.

From Allahabad to Prayagraj: The Politics of Nomenclatures Photo: Navbharat Times

While addressing the inauguration of India International Science Festival, Science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan said that the second campus of Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) would be named after Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue M.S. Golwalkar.

Few days ago UP CM Yogi Adityanath, who is also known for changing the names of important towns and railway stations demanded a change in the the name of Hyderabad to Bhagyanagar during the campaigning for Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections

The interesting game of name change is ongoing on from 2014.Allahabad became Prayagraj, Mugalsarai junction became Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya junction , Gurgaon was converted to Gurugram and many more. There are rumours in the air that the name of JNU will be changed very soon. The BJP believes that only by changing the name of places will it be able to bring about some kind of development and there are also chances that the party and its proponents are obsessed a lot with with astrology of nomenclature, perhaps that alone may pave way for making India a global power or a Vishwa Guru.  

Changing the names of historical cities and stations, renaming universities and newly inaugurated institutions perhaps makes the government free from all its liabilities such as development and planning.

Perhaps we have been obsessed with the rule of naming every other thing according to the ruling establishment and it is evident at any given point in India’s political history. When Congress as a political party was at the helm of politics, every work done by the Congress, every scheme it launched, every new institution it built would be named after Nehru, Indira Gandhi , Rajiv Gandhi , Sanjay Gandhi etc. Yes Rajeev and Sanjay Gandhi too ! You may often find these names while roaming around the country.  From Kashmir to Kanyakumari –  that’s why the interesting game of name change isn’t new to the  BJP, they are carrying the traditions forward.

I certainly feel that if something is named after Rajiv and Sanjay Gandhi who were privileged and their names adorn the names of important schemes and institutions and are printed all around the nation then why not the names of leaders and ideologies like Golwalkar or Savarkar? They fall in the same category and are  more eligible to have institutions and cities renamed after them. The need of hour is to maintain the trend. Now the time has come to erase the names of Mahatma Gandhi, Ambedkar, Tagore, Abdul Kalam Azad, Sarojni Naidu and others from the currency notes, roads and buildings. They don’t fit in this trend. Their names really don’t matter and neither do their ideas. Their names should be erased from everything and it is important to make sure that their ideology doesn’t reaches to the citizen of this nation and instead those who sinc in with the ideology of the ruling regime find a renewed significance.

If crediting the name brings development and prosperity then please don’t credit to those who really claimed to work hard and sacrificed their life or took part in the nation’s freedom struggle, choose those who resonate with the mood of the nation, the ruling establishment’s icons.

Dr. Tharoor suggested the name of Dr. P. Palpu, instead of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue M.S. Golwalkar.  Mr. Palpu was a 19th century social reformer and renowned bacteriologist, for the new institute. He pointed out that Dr. Palpu was an expert in serum therapy and tropical medicine from Cambridge and Director of the Vaccine Institute and Fellow of the Royal Institute of Public Health.

Mr. Tharoor, there are very few institutions named after ordinary mortals with tremendous contributions like P. Palpu and why should we name it after him when there are so many great ideologues and leaders who resonate with our times?We are imposed with the unknown. Will it be possible ever to credit someone who is known for her/his great work and contribution, perhaps not, in an India which believes in political nomenclatures.


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