Taking a leaf out of Haryana’s BJP-led government’s decision to change Gurgaon to Gurugram, Himachal Pradesh unit of Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) wants the Virbhadra Singh government to do the same in the state by changing Shimla’s name to Shyamla.
To build pressure on the state government to act on its demand, VHP on Saturday submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh justifying the need to shun British legacies – a sign of slavery and follow the trend of renaming towns and cities.
The Hindu organisation has also handed over a list of other Himachal towns, including famous hill destination of Dalhousie, to be named as Subhash Nagar after Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. The claimed that Netaji had strong connection with the town, which is named after a British Governor General Lord Dalhousie.
Led by Aman Puri, state president of VHP delegation informed the chief minister that several historic towns and places should have been renamed as was done in case of Minto Bridge and Victoria Park.
Besides renaming Shimla as Shyamala, which has reference in history books and documents as a place named after Ma Shyamla (Goddess Kali), the VHP also asked that Peterhoff, an HPTDC hotel-cum-state guest house should be renamed as Valmiki sadan, while Nurpur town of Kangra should become Ram Singh Pathania, a valiant soldier who fought against the Britishers in 1857.
When contacted, Deputy Mayor Tikender Panwar said nobody should be allowed to temper with name of Shimla as this being a world famous place. It’s very funny to note VHP being up at its agenda to promote deities and typical Hinduised feelings. “What locus standi the VHP has to seek conversion of names of popular places. Simla has already become Shimla. There should be no change,” he said.
Asha Kumari, a Dalhousie MLA and former minister, said the demand of VHP is laughable. “I vehemently oppose such a demand as Dalhousie has always been Dalhousie since its been part of erstwhile Chamba state. VHP should mind its own business rather drawing cheap publicity.”