Ahead of the Ardh Kumbh which is scheduled to take place next year, In a meeting of sadhus held during his visit to the city to review the preparations for Ardh Kumbh, CM Yogi said, “Allahabad will be called Prayagraj before the mela starts.” India Today quoted him saying, “In the meeting called to review the preparedness of Kumbh, a proposal was given by Akhada Parishad and others regarding changing the name of Allahabad district. UP Governor Ram Naik has also given his consent to the proposal.” He further added, “We also supported the proposal and very soon the name of Allahabad district will be changed to Prayagraj.” This move seems to have rattled the Congress party to a great extent.
UP government has supported changing the names of places named after Islamic invaders. CM Yogi during his tenure as a Member of Parliament too had renamed names of many places in Gorakhpur, changes which would have been unthinkable under Congress or any other secular government in the state. Urdu Bazar was renamed as Hindi Bazaar, Ali Nagar was renamed as Arya Nagar, Miya Bazaar as Maya Bazaar, Islampur as Ishwarpur, and Humayun Nagar was renamed to Hanuman nagar.
There has been no change in his approach even after becoming the CM, as Yogi Adityanath continued correcting historical blunders and accorded new identities to many places. For example in June this year, Yogi government cleared the proposal to rename Mughalsarai Municipal Board after late Jan Sangh leader and BJP ideologue Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay. The UP government also renamed Mughalsarai junction after Deen Dayal Upadhyay and after that the Yogi government approached the central government to rename the airports in Agra, Bareilly and Kanpur. According to the proposal from the Uttar Pradesh civil aviation department, the Bareilly airport is to be named ‘Nath Nagri’, which is believed to be an ancient name of the city. Bareilly is famous for its history of having devoted worshipers of Bhagwan Shiv, hence, ‘Nath Nagri’ has been proposed as the updated name of the city. Bareilly is surrounded on all sides by as many as seven temples of Bhagwan Shiv— Alakhnath, Trivati Nath, Marhinath, Dhopeshwar Nath, Vankhandinath, Tapeshwar Nath and Pashupatinath. The proposal of the state government provides great historical details about Bareilly. The state government has proposed the Agra airport to be named after the great RSS thinker Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. On the other hand, Kanpur’s Chakeri airport is proposed to be renamed after freedom fighter Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi. The UP government proposal states that Kanpur City was previously known as Kanha pur and was founded by the Sachendi king, Hindu Singh.
Many other places are in line to get new identities or to get back their old, historical identities and Allahabad is one of such places to get back its original name, Prayagraj. The name, Allahabad is actually an imposition of the Mughal rule. Mughal emperor, Akbar gave the name AIlahabad to the city, meaning, the abode of Allah. The Arabic name was therefore an imposition by foreign invaders on the city, which was till 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 Governor Vishnu Kant Shastri were strongly in favour of renaming the city as Prayagraj but the same could not be materialised.
However, the Congress party which has been carefully playing ‘soft-Hindutva’ as an alternative to BJP and had crossed all limits of stupidity to prove that they are staunch ‘Hinduvadis’, have decided to stand against the name restoration. According to an Indian Express report, the Congress party spokesperson, Onkar Singh, said that the name change would alter the history in which Allahabad has played a pivotal role since the days of Independence. He also said that the area where Kumbh takes place is already referred to as Prayagraj, and if the government is desirous of changing it, then they can make it a separate city, but the name of Allahabad should not be changed.
For starters the Congress spokesperson should be made to understand that CM Yogi is not changing the name of the city, he is just restoring the original name of the city. Which is a part of restoring its true identity and heritage, a great initiative indeed. Rather than using the names given by Mughal and British invaders our future generation will use the cultural name of the city. The Congress party itself renamed many places after the members of Nehru-Gandhi family. The Congress party would be jubilant if CM Yogi would have announced the new name of Allahabad as ‘Vadra’bad. For the Congress each and every place and monument can be named only after the members of one particular family in India.
The opposition to name restoration of Prayagraj unravels the entire ‘soft Hindutva’ narrative of Congress and that of Rahul being a ‘Janeudhari Brahmin’. They are using soft-Hindutva card only to appease the majority population and to score some cheap political points. The Congress party has no dedication or concern for the cause of Hinduism and Hindu culture.
Changing names of places is nothing new in Uttar Pradesh. The Akhilesh Yadav Government upon its arrival to power in 2012 renamed eight districts whose names were changed during Mayawati’s rule. The SP government changed the names of Bheem Nagar, Prabuddha Nagar and Pancheel Nagar to Bahjoi, Shamli and Hapur respectively. Similarly, Kanshiram Nagar was renamed to Kasganj, name of Mahamaya Nagar was changed to Hathras, Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar was renamed to Gauriganj, Rambai Nagar was renamed to Kanpur Dehat and the name of JP Nagar was changed to Amroha. What CM Yogi is doing in UP currently is therefore an extension of the old practices without bringing politics into the picture as has been done by his predecessors who sat on the CM chair in the state.