In an unprecedented move, the Uttar Pradesh government, led by Yogi Adityanath, has ordered departments across the state to henceforth refer to Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar as Bhim Rao Ramji Ambedkar, in all their official correspondence.
The decision was reportedly taken at the recommendations of Governor Ram Naik. The BJP supporters’ justification for the addition of ‘Ramji’ was that it was Ambedkar’s father’s name and there was a tradition in Maharashtra to carry father’s name as the middle name of individuals.
However, many would ask as to why Naik, who himself hails from Maharashtra, has never carried his father’s name, Damodar, with his name. This recent official letter by Naik proves that the UP governor’s signature doesn’t carry his father’s name, Damodar.
Even in his affidavits filed before the Election Commission of India, Naik never used ‘Damodar’ as his middle name. This is what his election affidavit for 2004 Lok Sabha polls read, “I, Ramchandra Naik, son of Damodar Naik aged 69 years, resident of Shivsmriti, 51, Jaiprakash Nagar, Goregaon East, Mumbai 400063 candidate at the above election, do hereby solemnly affirm and state on oath as under:-…”
Naik, a prominent BJP leader who served in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government as a minister, is now being accused of adding a Hindutva touch to the name of someone, who was a strong critique of Hinduism as it was being practised. But given Ambedkar’s importance in wooing crucial Dalit voters, the BJP has once again begun the exercise of appropriating another historical figure, critical of the Hindutva ideologies.
BJP MP Udit Raj said that Ambedkar himself wanted to be known as Bhim Rao Ambedkar adding that the addition of Ramji will invite controversy.
“I’ve not seen anywhere ‘Ramji’ in his middle. I think it unnecessarily encroaches individual’s freedom. How can state or government visits in personal personal life,” BJP MP was quoted by Times Now.
BJP’s MP Udit Raj reacting on Governor Ram Naik’s recommendation that ‘Ramji’ should be used as middle name for BR Ambedkar, says it is inviting controversy, and addition of the name encroaches into the individual freedom of a person who is no more. @scribe_prashant pic.twitter.com/kgC29VkiaH
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) March 29, 2018