This week saw a colossal blunder being rectified in the process of renaming Aurangzeb Road in New Delhi to Bharat Ratna Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Road. No country names roads and streets after the names of people who enslaved them, tortured them, brutally executed their heroes and demolished their places of worship. But India is a tolerant country and the leaders of it are easy-going people, hence one day in the jolliest of their veins they decided to title a boulevard in the center of the country’s capital to commemorate the legacy of a merciless tyrant. Don’t know what they were smoking that day, fresh Pseudo-Secular joint is my best guess!
And despite mild dissents from the “vicious” rightists, the road continued to endure the name of the despot on its chest. The leaders discarded all demands for rechristening by quoting Shakespeare’s “What’s in the name?” Aurangzeb road remained Aurangzeb road for a frustratingly long time. Destiny had chosen East Delhi MP Maheish Girri who requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to rename the road in memory of the late President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Girri stated that that Kalam is an example of love and generosity while Aurangzeb was an epitome of cruelty. Things worked fine and NDMC passed the resolution to rename Aurangzeb road to Bharat Ratna Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Road. As per the reports the resolution was unanimous which is heartening. But we are a country full of nonconformists, aren’t we? Even a clean-cut idea like this found dissenters.
There were three sets of people who were offended by the renaming of Aurangzeb Road:
- The Non-Mainstream ‘Liberal’ Media: Although there are a lot of left-aligned non mainstream media blogs that have made solid business out of Anti Hindu rants, the triumvirate of Scroll, DailyO and Firstpost rule this segment. They not-so-silently pursue an anti-Hindu agenda and vocally support anything that makes them look like the champions of minority rights. From criticizing the introduction of Maharana Pratap to school syllabus to the execution of Yakub Memon, they haven’t let any occasions slip pass them. Scroll happens to be the most vitriolic of the trio but this time it resorted to a more balanced approach. Firstpost only tried to make sure that BJP doesn’t benefit out of the episode but remained largely impassive. Hence DailyO, the youngest of the vitriolic trio took it upon itself to lambast the issue left left and left to center. A DailyO article claims:
“Aurangzeb, like the late president, was a ruler who embraced simplicity, making a living out of stitching skull caps and copying the Quran, although he presided over the largest empire in Indian history, stretching across 3.2 million square kilometers”
The article was so stupid that I was forced to check the author’s profile. He turned out to be a food blogger. Another article on DailyO calls the renaming of Aurangzeb Road, a Sanghi propaganda. He even suggests renaming Copernicus Marg to Khakhi Knicker Marg. Amusing. So probably for the first time in the history of vitriolic liberal blogosphere, DailyO has beaten FP and Scroll hands down.
- The “Victim Card” experts: Although it has been proved time and again that India treats its minorities in the best possible way, still a section of Muslims cannot stay away from their frequent “Victim Card” antics. An online petition by one Y Saeed equates renaming of Aurangzeb Road to demolition of Babri Masjid. He calls Aurangzeb tolerant, secular and what not and urges the NDMC to roll back its decision of renaming the road. I can only shake my head in despair over the ignoble mindset of “Our Religion is in Danger” brigade.
- The confused liberals: These folks generally do not have an opinion but they generally like having an opinion hence renaming of Aurangzeb Road was dealt with absolute meticulousness too. Since Kalam happens to be a Muslim as well, the confused liberals were even more confused hence they started discussing the nuances of the entire renaming exercise. They incessantly tweeted about the costs incurred and how Kalam wouldn’t have approved of it. They also talked about the futility of commemorations.
I may be a right wing bigot but whatever History I have read suggests that Aurangzeb was a cruel despot and happens to be the most prominent scar on the country’s secular face. He was both ruthless and insecure. He reintroduced the Jiziya tax. He swept his father Shahjahan off the Mughal throne on to an isolated room of the Red Fort. He decapitated his three brothers. He did not even trust his own sons, he imprisoned and exiled three of his sons. Under his command Sambhaji and Guru Tegh Bahadur were executed in the worst possible manner. He killed Sarmad Kashani, a Sufi Dervish on charges of blasphemy. He destroyed the Kashi Vishwanath temple. He destroyed the Somnath Temple. He destroyed the Keshav Dev temple in Mathura.
I may be a right wing bigot but my simple mind fails to decipher the greatness of Aurangzeb to whom we dedicated a prominent road in the national capital. And if it was done to please a section of Muslims, my simple mind again fails to decipher why would anyone in his right sense idolize Aurangzeb?
But this is a strange country. Questions are many, answers are few!