In an unprecedented dig at the BJP’s obsession to change names of places because they sounded Muslim, historian Irfan Habib on Sunday advised the saffron party to first consider changing the name of its president, Amit Shah. Habib told news agency ANI that Shah was a ‘Farsi’ word and the change must begin from changing his name first.
“Shah is a Farsi word, not Sanskrit. If they have to change names, they should change their own names first, and then change the names of cities,” Irfan Habib was quoted as saying.
The 87-year-old historian also added that names like Munsi and Majumdar also had Islamic origins.
The BJP has faced widespread condemnation for its craze to change Muslim sounding names of places. The Uttar Pradesh government led by BJP has already renamed Mughal Sarai railway station to Pandit Deen Dyal Upaddhyay, Allahabad to Prayagraj, Faizabad to Ayodhya. One of the BJP’s MLAs has now suggested renaming of Muzaffarnagar to Laxminagar. This suggestion came from riot-accused BJP MLA Sangeet Som.
Incidentally, it was Amit Shah, who had proposed changing the name of Mughalsarai railway station.
Another BJP leader last week said that his party will change the names of Hyderabad and other cities in Telangana if it was voted to power.
Habib is not the only person incensed by the BJP’s name changing spree. Om Prakash Rajbhar, a minister in the BJP-led UP government recently taunted the saffron party to consider changing names of their Muslim leaders such as Shahnawaz Hussain, union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Uttar Pradesh minister Mohsin Raza.
On Sunday, another BJP leader had suggested changing the name of Agra, a city famous for Taj Mahal, to Agravan or Agrawal.