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Politics with renaming

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on September 19, 2022 with No Comments

Last week when Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi renamed the historic ‘Rajpath’ (Kingsway) in Delhi as ‘Kartavya Path’, he suggested that another symbol of slavery was consigned to the dustbin of history ! He also installed a 28-foot statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose at the India Gate canopy, under which the British monarch George V once stood.  He apprised the Indians, that the new Parliament building, Central Secretariat, Vice President House and Prime Minister House will now be completed in the next phase. Same week, Prime Minister Narendra  Modi met the labourers who worked on building the huge avenue, with red sandstone benches, pathways and canals. He promised to invite them as guests at next year’s Republic Day parade. A great gesture indeed by the Prime Minister of India.

Certainly, Netaji’s statue deserved to be installed under the India Gate canopy. Removal of all symbols and relics of slavery mindset was necessary. It is an issue of national pride and self-respect. The new Central Vista not only addresses the self respect and national pride but also solves certain practical issues. Central government buildings on both side of Raj Path had become old and overcrowded. There were frequent problems relating to vehicle parking, security and air-conditioning. However, there are certain questions concerning renaming of the Raj Path as Kartavya Path.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Raj Path symbolised India’s slavery to the British and the and the new name marked freedom from it. Did the renaming a road in 2022 end colonial rule and bring freedom? No!  Colonial rule ended in 1947 through a relentless freedom struggle led by the likes of Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and Subhas Chandra Bose. Also, Raj Path was initially named Kingway during British Rule, and after independence, it was renamed Raj Path. To remove the last vestiges of colonial rule, Modi renamed Raj Path Kartavya Path.  The renaming of Raj Path as Kartavya Path is an act of politics. It is another act of renaming, as being done in other states, where cities named after the Mughal invaders have been given new names, that too symbolizing Hinduism. Here is an attempt on the part of the government to create a new and false narrative about India’s freedom struggle. Prime Minister Modi said Bose was forgotten and ignored after Independence by Congress party. However, this is far from truth.   Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose forms part of the various course curriculum and Indians remember him for raising Azad Hind Army, and a calling Mahatam Gandhi as the father of the nation.

With these installation and renaming, BJP is now trying to link itself with Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose as it did with Sardar Patel, as it has hardly any heroes from the freedom struggle to connect with.




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