At its pinnacle, Congress, drunk with power, used to believe that India is Indira and Indira is India. For a better part of seven decades, the grand old party ruled India with this imperialist mindset. Any monument, place, road, stadium or anything you name it, was named after the Nehru-Gandhi family. There has been a vocal demand to undo this narcissistic act. People are demanding that public places should be named after freedom fighters, folk heroes and regional landmarks. Gladly, the government seems to have started democratising important institutions like AIIMs.
Suggestions for new nomenclature
As per a media report, the Health Ministry has drafted a proposal to give specific names to all the 23 AIIMS. For this the Ministry has sought suggestions from all AIIMS institutes along with explanatory notes. With this proposal all the 23 AIIMs – fully functional, partially operational or under construction will be renamed.
23 AIIMS to be named after unsung heroes, freedom fighters, proposal under discussion: Sources
A senior Health Ministry official confirmed this draft proposal. He stated that the institutes will be named after freedom fighters, regional heroes, historical events, notable monuments of the area, or their distinct geographical identity.
AIIMS New Delhi was the first to be opened in 1956. The government has announced 24 more institutes. As of January 2022, 19 institutes are operational and it is expected that five more will become operational by 2025. Six new AIIMS were approved in Phase 1 of Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY). These new AIIMs are now fully functional in Bihar (Patna), Chhattisgarh (Raipur), Madhya Pradesh (Bhopal), Odisha (Bhubaneswar), Rajasthan (Jodhpur) and Uttarakhand (Rishikesh).
Gandhified Institutions, places and monuments
It will not be an exaggeration to say that Gandhi named institutions can be seen virtually in every city or town in India. As per India TV report, there are at least 99 institutions which are named after the Nehru-Gandhi family. In fact there are separate dedicated pages for a long list of institutions named after members of the Nehru-Gandhi family – Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Indira Gandhi National Open University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences in various cities are a few examples of a never ending list of institutions named after them.
Apart from renowned institutions, places, stadi, airports, ports, museums, awards and parks among others have been renamed after members of the Gandhi family.
That is why; this move of the Health Ministry to give a specific name to all the 23 AIIMs is a welcoming step which should not stop there. The government has to undertake a comprehensive programme to democratise all these institutions and places. These should be named after freedom fighters, regional heroes and patriots who have committed their lives for the service of nation and humanity.
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