Himachal Chief Minister Jairam Thakur Monday rejected the proposal to rename Shimla as Shyamala. Thakur said that although the proposal to rename was received by the state government, the government is not considering it.
“Let me make it clear that the government is not considering proposal to rename Shimla as Shyamala. We had received a suggestion to rename Shimla and it is our duty to hear all suggestions,” news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
Many believe that Shimla derives its name from Shyamala Devi, an avatar of goddess Kali, but was changed by the Britishers to Shimla.
The state’s health minister Vipin Singh Parmar said that many cities across the country which had historic names were renamed and that there is no harm in going back to using their old names again. “If the people want Shimla to be re-christened as Shyamala, the proposal can be considered,” Parmar had earlier told PTI. The proposal came days after UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath renamed the city Allahabad to Prayagraj, in what is being seen as a move to push its Hindutva agenda before the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The demand was raised earlier too by the Vishva Hindu Parishad(VHP) when Gurgaon was renamed Gurugram by in 2016. The state government, Congress at the time led by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had rejected the proposal.
Simla, as it was known originally, was selected by the Britishers as a hill station surrounded by dense forests and untouched by human habitation. It came under the British Raj in 1817 to become the summer capital of the British Raj in India and thereafter it has borne witness to several historical events, most famously the Simla Agreement of 1972 between Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her Pakistan counterpart Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Earlier, there was the Simla Accord of 1914 and the Simla Conference of 1945 in pre-independence days.