The state of Madhya Pradesh is going the Uttar Pradesh way by reclaiming its ancient heritage and honouring the local heroes of the state. In the latest development, Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that Madhya Pradesh’s Hoshangabad and Babai will now be renamed as Narmadapuram and Makhan Nagar. The change will come into effect on the occasion of Narmada Jayanti.
Chouhan said that the state government had made a proposal to the centre for renaming the two cities, which has been accepted.
By renaming Babai, Madhya Pradesh is honouring Dada Makhanlal Chaturvedi, a renowned journalist and poet who was born in the said city.
Reclaiming Madhya Pradesh’s identity
Hoshangabad district is located on the banks of the Narmada River, which is why it is being renamed as ‘Narmadapuram’. The city is presently named after Hoshang Shah, the first ruler of Malwa, over six hundred years ago.
Protem Assembly Speaker Rameshwar Sharma, who had earlier demanded a change in the name of Hoshangabad said, “This is a historic moment. Narmada is the lifeline of Madhya Pradesh. Hoshangabad was so far named after an attacker Hoshang Shah, but will be known after the lifeline Maa Narmada, which is a matter of happiness. I thank the CM for making this announcement by respecting the public sentiments.”
State BJP president VD Sharma and several other party leaders too thanked the Chief Minister for his decision.
Madhya Pradesh on a renaming spree
Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has actually been on a campaign to rename the state’s cities and acknowledge the cultural heritage of the state.
The ongoing round of the renaming process began last year when the redeveloped Habibganj railway station was named Rani Kamlapati railway station. Similarly, the Minto Hall in Bhopal was renamed as Kushabhau Thakre Convention Centre. Chouhan had then said, “The structure was built with soil and water from this place and by the sweat and toil of people from here, yet it carried the name, Minto.”
The Patalpani railway station near Indore, the Bhanwarkuan Square in Indore and the Indore bus stand have all been named after Tantya Mama (or Tantya Bhil), a heroic tribal leader and freedom fighter.
There are a plethora of other changes also- a women’s educational institute in Mandla has been renamed after Rani Phool Kunwar and a library in Mandla after Shankar Shah and Raghunath Shah. The Chief Minister also said that the Chhindwara University would be renamed after Shankar Shah.
The state of Madhya Pradesh is thus coming out of colonial hangover and is naming its public facilities and monuments after tribal icons, who played a big role in the Indian freedom movement but have been largely forgotten due to neglect and bias on the part of the mainstream historians.
Just like with the Yogi government’s efforts to correct historical fallacies and revive the real identity of the state, Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s efforts too are facing criticism from the left-liberal ecosystem.
But the fact remains that the people of Madhya Pradesh have a collective right to celebrate and relish their glorious past rather than living in a state of ignorance. And the Shivraj government is doing all it can to revive the state’s cultural heritage.