THE Yogi ADITYANATH government has decided to change the name of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar to ‘Dr Bhimrao Ramji Aambedkar’ in government and court records, invoking criticism from the Opposition and the icon’s grandsons. While ‘Ramji’ will be added as the middle name, ‘Ambedkar’ will be changed to ‘Aambedkar’ when written in Hindi. In English, it will still be spelt as ‘Ambedkar’.
Principal Secretary (state general administration) Jitendra Kumar issued a circular in this regard on Tuesday to all departments and registrar of Allahabad and Lucknow benches of the high court. In another order issued Thursday, the government made it compulsory for all its offices to put up Ambedkar’s photographs displaying his full name from April 1.
While issuing Tuesday’s order, the government cited Eighth Schedule of Constitution, where Ambedkar’s name is written as ‘Dr Bhimrao Ramji Aambedkar’ in Hindi.
The campaign to write Ambedkar’s name “correctly” was initiated by Governor Ram Naik in December 2017.
Ambedkar’s grandsons, Prakash Ambedkar and Anand Ambedkar, however, told CNN-New18 that the state government’s move was “votebank politics by the BJP”. “BJP wants to have their own agenda before the 2019 elections. My sense is close to elections, they might try to tell the voters that Ambedkar was also a ‘Ram bhakt’,” Prakash said. He used to write Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar only in signatures and for all other purposes he used initials, he added.
The order also invited the wrath of Opposition parties.
Alleging the move to be a case of “selfish politics”, BSP chief Mayawati said BJP leaders should first start using ‘Narendra Damodardas Modi’ — the Prime Minister’s full name — in government advertisements. In a statement, she pointed out that even people refer to Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi as only ‘Gandhiji’.
“BJP leaders do not use the full name of Narendra Modi as Narendra Damodar Das Modi, then why this selfish politics over the name of Baba Sahab,” she asked. Claiming that the real problem was that “RSS, Jan Sangh and BJP and company” have failed to produce icons for “sarva samaj”, Mayawati said that it is time they change their “narrow-minded, casteist, communal and poisonous thoughts for the welfare of the country”.
She claimed that BJP does not like the respect Ambedkar enjoys as well as the fact that she is called ‘Behenji’. Describing the move as “cheap publicity”, Mayawati said that contrary to projections, Ambedkar’s followers were facing “injustice, torture and harrassement” and their “constitutional rights are being snatched”.
She added that when Ambedkar resigned as the first law minister on September 27, 1951, he had signed as only B R Ambedkar.
SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said CM Adityanath needed to read the constitution first. He told mediapersons: “Any citizen of this country and who knows that he has the right to vote, knows Ambedkar’s name. The need is to follow the path shown by him. The need now is for the chief minister to at least read a few lines of the Constitution, its Preamble.”
Congress spokesperson Surendra Rajput said BJP only follows names and not the work of eminent personalities. “It will be better if BJP works on saving and strengthening the Constitution… Ambedkar cannot be eulogised by weakening the Constitution.”
Governor Naik said he is sad how the matter has taken a political turn. “Politics should not be done over the correction of a wrong name. I had realised that there was a mistake and pointed it out… I had not only written to the President, the PM and the home minister but also to BSP chief Mayawati and Ambedkar Mahasabha.” He said while ‘B’ in the name stands for ‘Bhimrao’, ‘R’ stands for ‘Ramji’, as signed by Ambedkar on 254th page of the original Hindi version of Constitution.
In a statement on Thursday, government spokesperson and Cabinet Minister Sidharth Nath Singh said: “…In the Constitution, he had signed his name like this. Thus, he should be called by his right name. All those who cannot even mention the right name, how would they follow his instructions and ideology…”
“In Maharashtra, a father’s name is mentioned in the middle of his son’s name. But, if they (Opposition) sees Ayodhya in it, this shows how hollow they are and how low they have stooped to that they connect everything with it,” he told mediapersons.
Welcominh the move, MoS Social Justice and RPI (A) leader Ramdas Athawale said Ambedkar’s father played a big role in making him the person he was and hence, it is a matter of pride to refer to him by his father’s name. —WITH PTI