On September 21, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) renamed Race Course Road, Delhi’s most famous address and home to the PM’s residence, to Lok Kalyan Marg, saying the old name did not “match Indian ethos and value system”. S A Khan, a horse trainer at Delhi Race Club, the racing grounds which lent its name to the road, fears the name change will “take away a part of Delhi’s history”.
1. What do you make of the road being renamed?
An absolutely ridiculous decision. The name change will take away a part of Delhi’s history. This road gave the race club an identity. Even in those days, no one knew where the PM’s residence was but everybody knew Race Course Road.
2. Why do you think the road was renamed?
I don’t know. They’ve gone ahead and named it Lok Kalyan, meaning people’s welfare. If you really want to carry out welfare, you do it through governance, not by renaming a road. Look at the situation… inflation is high, prices are rising and you rename a road?
3. While renaming the road, NDMC said the old name was “against Indian ethos”. Do you agree with that?
I think it’s got to do with the betting that happens at the race club. There is a perception that it is immoral but what they don’t know is that betting on horses is legal. And why single out betting on horses? What about people playing bridge? What about stock markets? Why are we not doing anything about that?
4. Would the change affect the race club?
Not really. But the next generation won’t even know that a race track exists here. It was nice to be associated with the PM as this is a small race club. Anyway, now that they’ve changed the name, nothing can be done. They’ve already changed the boards too.
5. If you had to rename the road, what would you have called it?
It would’ve been acceptable if it was named after some leader, say, Atal Bihari Vajpayee or anybody else. At least then you think, okay, they want to propagate the memory of the leader. But this new name is absurd.