Renaming Aurangzeb Road
By Shamsul Islam
29 August, 2015
The road named after a prominent Mughal ruler Aurangzeb has been re-christened as APJ Abdul Kalam Road. It was no ordinary decision by the New Delhi Municipal Council. There are unnamed prominent road in India's capital (like Shanti Path) which could have been named after ex-President of India. But according to press reports, Aurangzeb Road was chosen because it reminded of a 'cruel', 'dictatorial' and a 'bigot' Muslim ruler. In fact, long before this change a BJP MP, Maheish Girri had demanded renaming this road in order to "correct the mistakes made in our history". Without going into the other narrative that Aurangzeb donated large tracts of land and wealth to innumerable temples, was responsible for creating present political India and destroying most of the kingdoms ruled by 'Muslims' this re-christening raises few questions.
If the benchmark for changing names is being 'cruel', 'ditatorial' and a 'bigot' then many more names of roads of Delhi require change. Road and institutions named after Savarkar must have change of names as he believed in two-nation theory like the Muslims League, Hindu Mahasabha under his presidentship ran coalition governments with the Muslim League in Sind, Bengal and NWFP in 1942 when Congress was banned during Quit India Movement, organized recruitment camps for the British army when Netaji Subhash Chander Bose was trying to liberate India from the British rule and played prominent role in killing of Father of nation, Gandhi.
We must rechristen name of Shankaracharya Road as he led an army of sanatani Hindus which destroyed Jain and Buddhist temples, institutions and caused great physical damage to the followers of these two religions. [See, Vivekananda, ‘The Sages of India’, in the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, vol. 3 (Calcutta: Advaita Ashram, 1997, 17th (reprint), 264 & Dayananda Saraswati, Satyarth Prakash, (Delhi, Jan Gyan Prakashan, 1983, fifth edition), 294].
We need to remove names of Scindias from roads who sided with the British in 1857 leading to the killing and defeat of Rani Laxmi Bai and ultimately defeat of Indians in this liberation war.
Shamsul Islam is a retired Professor of University of Delhi.Email: email@example.com
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