The Past Cannot Be Undone Through A Rechristening


Attempts to do away with certain aspects of history — erasing the Muslim links of some Indian cities — have the potential to damage the fabric of a multi-religious India.

Points to ponder:

  • In response to escalating hostility, prejudice, and violence against Muslims around the world, the United Nations established March 15 as International Day to Combat Islamophobia.
  • Despite being one of the countries battling Islamophobia, India, which has the world’s second-largest Muslim population, opposes the move.
  • In India, Islamophobia can be seen in continuous efforts to rename cities and towns created by Sultanate and Mughal monarchs.
  • In many cases, the names of these cities are being changed or required to be changed only because they are written in Urdu, an Indian language that is not religiously specific.
  • The article gives examples of similar demands, such as the renaming of Faizabad to Ayodhya and Aligarh to Harigarh.
  • The original names of these cities were not a problem for hundreds of years, but the right-wing brigade today utilizes them to spread anti-Muslim sentiments.
  • The government’s decision to rename cities and towns risks tearing apart the fabric of Indian society and reinforcing hatred and isolation.
  • The article also discusses the recent renaming of Mughalsarai and Aurangabad, which were replaced by Deendayal Upadhyaya and Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, respectively, by the government.
  • The article finishes by emphasizing the importance of acknowledging and respecting India’s historical and present diversity rather than using it for political and communal benefit.