More U.P. cities on renaming list
BJP leaders have come up with new monikers for Agra and other cities
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”.
Allahabad was renamed 'Prayagraj' recently.