After Uttar Pradesh government led by Yogi Adityanath changed the name of Allahabad to Prayagraj to allegedly push its Hindutva agenda, another BJP government is all set to rename popular tourist hill station Shimla.
According to reports, the BJP chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jai Ram Thakur has agreed to pay heed to the demand of renaming Shimla to Shyamala to appease the militant outfit Vishwa Hindutva Parishad. Thakur said that Shimla was known as Shyamala before the British arrived in India and the city’s name was allegedly changed by the colonial powers. He said that his government will seek public opinion on the VHP’s demand to rename the city.
The fresh development has come days after Adityanath faced considerable ridicule for renaming Allahabad seemingly because the name started with ‘Allah,’ term used by Muslims for God. Historians, however, weren’t convinced by the logic.
Thakur’s cabinet colleague in Himachal Pradesh and the state’s health minister, Vipin Parmar said that there was no hard in renaming Shimla to Shyamala and other landmarks associated with the British rule. Shimla was the summer capital of the British government in India from 1864 till 1947, when the country got its independence.
The VHP has been demanding the renaming of Shimla for several years, but the then Congress Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had rejected its demand. VHP’s state president Aman Puri was quoted by the Hindustan Times as saying, “Sticking to names given by oppressors is sign of mental slavery. Changing names of towns is a small but significant step.”
The opposition Congress has rejected the government’s plans to rename Shimla stating that the state’s BJP government should focus on improving the governance instead of indulging in the name-changing exercise.
Not too long ago, Shimla had faced an acute water shortage forcing the government ban the entry of tourists in the hill station.
Last week, social media users had taken to Twitter to flood the microblogging site with incredibly funny memes while ridiculing Adityanath for his perceived ridiculous decision to rename names of historically important places or landmarks.