Indian politicians love riding the culture horse for obvious reasons. It comes handy even when they need to shut something connected to even the horse. That’s exactly what AAP and BJP did, and shockingly enough together, on Wednesday. They changed the name of Race Course Road in New Delhi’s most prime power corridor to Lok Kalyan Road. So, from Wednesday, the road to the Prime Minister’s residence will be known by this new welfarist name. It may not be any indicator of the two arch rival parties beginning to end their internecine hostilities yet but they saw no harm in making a common cause walking the “cultural” path.
The reason behind this change of name is that Race Course Road purportedly doesn’t go well with “Indian ethos and culture”. Really? Or perhaps they mean horse races are not part of Indian culture and ethos – bullock races are. That’s why the culturally conscious BJP government at the Centre revived the Jalikattu bullock races in Tamil Nadu as one of the top-priority steps after it took over in 2014. Now Kejriwal AAP bhi? By the way, how is horse race culturally wrong while bullock races are right? It should be all the more wrong since, in bullock races, you are not only subject the cow progeny to physical torture but also making a huge commerce out of it. And how about cock fights that attract a premium of as high as Rs 5 lakh and more in our poor tribal pockets? Cynical questions, right?
Both the BJP and AAP have landed themselves in some kind of a trouble here. Having named the road as Lok Kalyan Road, they could be now under greater scrutiny as far as living up to that name is concerned. Till now, they have betrayed little of it at least in New Delhi, where they have been biting each other like mosquitoes instead of tending to thousands of patients suffering from dengue and chikungunya. The BJP had possibly guessed the commitment trap in the new nomenclature and had suggested a safer nomenclature of Ekatmata Road. The obvious question they would face now is if they are really walking that path of Lok Kalyan in real sense of the term? Or if their rare display of ekatmata is only for namesake literally?
But never mind, in a country, where Mahatma Gandhi Road gets conveniently abridged to MG Road and Jawaharlal Nehru Road is hurriedly referred to as JN Road, people will soon start calling the new Lok Kalyan Road as LK Road. Sooner or later, not many of us would remember the original full form and it would continue to be the if-wishes-were-the-horses story. And then nobody will taunt the BJP or the AAP vying for that road but not walking it, thereby keeping the great Indian political ‘culture’ intact.