More U.P. cities on re­nam­ing list

BJP lead­ers have come up with new monikers for Agra and other cities

The Hindu - - NEWS - Omar Rashid

After chang­ing the names of Mughal­sarai, Al­la­habad and Faiz­abad, BJP lead­ers in Ut­tar Pradesh are de­mand­ing re­nam­ing of more places as­so­ci­ated with Mughal and Is­lamic rulers.

While many names are be­ing whis­pered about, Muzaf­far­na­gar, Agra and Sul­tan­pur are among those be­ing dis­cussed openly.

Sangeet Som, Meerut MLA, has said Muzaf­far­na­gar will soon be re­named Laxmi­na­gar, while his Agra North col­league, Ja­gan Prasad Garg, has de­manded that the city of the Taj Ma­hal be called Agra­van or Agrawal. An­other BJP MLA, Deo­mani Dwivedi, had in Au­gust al­ready moved a res­o­lu­tion in the Assem­bly for re­nam­ing Sul­tan­pur as Kushb­hawan­pur, after Lord Ram’s son Kush.

Mr. Garg said the old name of Agra was Agra­van, de­rived from the Agar­wal trader com­mu­nity that lived there and the Hindi word for forests, He has writ­ten to Chief Min­is­ter Yogi Adityanath de­mand­ing the name change.

Mr. Som said the de­mand was to “re­store” In­dian cul­ture, par­tic­u­larly “Hin­dutva”, which the Mughals had “tried to erase”.

He said the de­mand for re­nam­ing Muzaf­far­na­gar


was backed by long-held pub­lic sen­ti­ment. Asked if he had any his­tor­i­cal record or ci­ta­tion show­ing that Muzaf­far­na­gar was pre­vi­ously named Laxmi­na­gar, Mr. Som was eva­sive.

There is, how­ever, no men­tion of Agra­van or Laxmi­na­gar in of­fi­cial his­tory records. The dis­trict gazetteer of 1976 says Muzaf­far­na­gar was founded dur­ing the pe­riod of Shah­ja­han at the site of an old town called Sar­war. It was named after one of his min­is­ters, Ab­dul Muzaf­far Khan, who had re­ceived 40 vil­lages in (grant).

The 1905 of­fi­cial records of Agra say that while it was sug­gested that the word was de­rived from ei­ther Agar­wal Ba­nias, agar (salt pan), agar (house) or agu (fire), “none ap­pears prob­a­ble”.

Laiqh Ahmed, Mughal ex­pert and re­tired Pro­fes­sor of Al­la­habad Univer­sity, says the name Agra has no con­nec­tion


with the Agar­wal com­mu­nity but that it was de­rived from the ex­pres­sion

mean­ing “it’s fur­ther ahead”.

ag-i-ra, ‘No his­tor­i­cal proof ’

So­hail Hashmi, aca­demic, asked the BJP lead­ers to pro­duce his­tor­i­cal proofs link­ing Muzaf­far­na­gar and Agra to Laxmi­na­gar and Agra­van. “If there is a con­nec­tion, show us the doc­u­ments ... they must be in Sanksrit, Pali or Prakrit lan­guages,” he said.

Ut­tar Pradesh govern­ment spokesper­son Shrikant Sharma said the govern­ment would “def­i­nitely con­sider” more re­quests to “re­store” names of places.

“We are only cor­rect­ing the mis­takes and tam­per­ing com­mit­ted in the past,” he said, adding that the govern­ment would take any ini­tia­tive con­cerned with “In­dian his­tory and cul­ture”.

AP ■

Al­la­habad was re­named 'Praya­graj' re­cently.

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