Bye bye, Mughalsarai! For Adityanath, next station is Deen Dayal Upadhyay Jn
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's antipathy towards all symbols Mughal is no secret. Most recently, it was visible in his Cabinet's decision to name the Mughalsarai railway junction near Varanasi as Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay station.
The decision to rename the station, where railway tracks were laid way back in 1862, and which connects eastern India with the north, was taken as part of the birth centenary celebrations of Upadhyay – the BJP and RSS ideologue.
Mughalsarai is among the busiest passenger and freight junctions in the country.
Upadhyay, who was president of the Jana Sangh, was found dead at the Mughalsarai railway station in February 1968. The cause of his death remained a mystery, but the BJP and RSS claim that he was murdered.
Not the first instance
At its third meeting held in April, the state Cabinet decided to rename the airport at Agra after Deen Dayal Upadhyay. The upcoming civil terminal at the Gorakhpur Air Force station was named Mahayogi Gorakhnath terminal, after the founder of Nath faith to which Adityanath belongs. He is also the head of the Gorakhnath temple.
The renaming of Mughalsarai may not have drawn attention because political parties have done so in the past. Mayawati had renamed several institutions and cities after Dalit icons. Two of these were Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University instead of King George's Medical University, and Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar instead of Amethi. Akhilesh Yadav as Chief Minister restored the original names.
Change the name
The situation is different in the case of present BJP dispensation, as Adityanath has publicly voiced his views on places and monuments named after Mughals or having Urdu names.
In Gorakhpur, he changed the name of Miyan Bazar to Maya Bazar, Urdu Bazar to Hindi Bazar and Ali Nagar became Arya Nagar.
When a TV interviewer asked him about it, the Chief Minister unapologetically said that these were not the only places whose names he had changed.
“Your information is incomplete. We have also changed the name of Humayunpur to Hanumanpur, Miyanpur to Mayapur (both are localities in Gorakhpur),” Adityanath said.
Asked if he would change the name of Taj Mahal too, Adityanath did not rule out the possibility, but said that the issue needed to be debated.
He defended the rechristening of places, arguing that they were symbols of Mughal invaders, and there was nothing wrong in obliterating all such symbols.
Yogi's Hindutva dream
Adityanath's line of argument on changing names is in keeping with his views on making India a Hindu rashtra.
He is a strong advocate of renaming the country, and even moved a Private Member's Bill in the Lok Sabha to amend Article 1 of the Constitution so that the line “India that is Bharat” could be altered to “Hindustan that is Bharat”.
In his opinion, “Hindu rashtra ki avdharna kahin galat nahi hai (there is nothing wrong with the concept of a Hindu rashtra)”.
His concept of a Hindu nation is in sync with the one propagated by the RSS, which says that all those living in Hindustan are Hindus.
Even as his government struggles to improve the worrisome law-and-order situation in the state, Adityanath is pursuing his Hindutva agenda, slowly but surely.
On Wednesday, he was scheduled to attend a function called “Hindvee Swarajya Diwas” (self rule day) and “saamrajyotsav” of Chhatrapati Shivaji at Lucknow University (a celebration of Shivaji’s empire), to commemorate the Maratha king who fought the Mughals.