In a bizarre move, the Modi-led government is gearing up to rename its historical city Aligarh to Harigarh. According to Indian media, this is another attempt in the name-changing spree of the cities, districts, and railway stations in Uttar Pradesh.
Aligarh district panchayat has sent the proposal to the Uttar Pradesh government, seeking a change in the name of the city to ‘Harigarh’. Besides that, another proposal to change the name of Firozabad district to Chandra-Nagar is also making the rounds.
The names of many cities have been changed in Uttar Pradesh over the last few years with the most notable one being Allahabad to Prayagraj. The resolution to change the name of Aligarh to Harigarh was passed by the panchayat without any objection on Monday. The panchayat is also mulling to rename the Aligarh Airport after BJP leader Kalyan Singh. Back in 2018, Faizabad was renamed Ayodhya.
At the Aligarh Zila Panchayat meeting, we discussed several infrastructure proposals…One of the proposals was renaming of Aligarh to Harigarh. All proposals to be sent to the CM: Shyauraj Singh, husband of Aligarh District Panchayat President Vijay Singh (16.08) pic.twitter.com/48b9iPWBSD
— ANI UP/Uttarakhand (@ANINewsUP) August 17, 2021
If the move to rename Aligarh is cleared by the BJP government, it would add to the long list of cities being renamed in the BJP-ruled state.
In November 2019, Yogi Adityanath had announced that they will continue to rename the cities and places as and when needed.
“We did what we felt was good. We renamed Mughal Sarai as Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhayay Nagar, Allahabad as Prayagraj, and Faizabad as Ayodhya. Where there is a need, the government will take the steps required,” Yogi Adityanath had said.
In another move, demands have been put forward to rename Mainpuri to Mayan Nagar. Another proposal has been put forward to rename Deoband, a town in Uttar Pradesh, to Devrrand.
The name-changing exercise of various cities and towns in Uttar Pradesh comes six months before the 2022 UP Assembly Elections.
It seems that concerted efforts are being made to wipe off Muslim identity from India’s Uttar Pradesh. Notably, only cities and places linking to Muslims or reflecting Islamic identity are in the list of cities being renamed.
Aligarh, a city in India, holds historic significance for Pakistan and Muslims. The city became the primary hub of promoting western education among the Muslims of sub-continent by the efforts of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. Aligarh Movement was the push to establish a modern educational system for the Muslims in India that worked for the social, political and educational reforms for the Muslims in the British-India. It played a vital role in awakening political consciousness among Muslims which led to the creation of Pakistan.