A couple of days back, UP government made an announcement that they are going to rename the city of Allahabad as Prayagraj. Now, in a new lead, the hill state of Himachal Pradesh is seeking to rename the historic town of Shimla.
The Himachal Pradesh government is considering renaming state capital Shimla to Shyamala, a demand made by right-wing Hindu groups as part of efforts to remove “symbols of British rule”.
Shimla, the summer capital of India under the British from 1864 to Independence is known for its historic ridge and landmarks associated with the British.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had long demanded the government change the town’s name, they say before the British arrived, Shimla was known as Shyamala However, in 2016, then chief minister Virbhadra Singh had rejected renaming Shimla, saying it was an internationally-famous tourist destination.
The VHP has also been seeking the state tourism department-run Hotel Peterhoff be named after sage Valmiki, author of the epic Ramayana. Peterhoff, which was the residence of the governor generals and viceroys of British India, had housed the Punjab high court after independence and was the venue for the trial of Nathu Ram Godse for assassinating Mahatma Gandhi. It had later served the state Raj Bhavan before being gutted in a fire and rebuilt in 1991.
It has also been demanding Dalhousie be renamed after famous revolutionary leader Subhas Chandra Bose and Nurpur town should be named after 1857 war of independence warrior Ram Singh Pathania, instead of Mughal Empress Noor Jahan.
The opposition Congress, however, ridiculed plans to change Shimla’s name. “Instead of changing the name of the town, the government should focus on resolving the problems in the town as well as in the state. It should work for peoples’ welfare... name change won’t help,” said Congress state general secretary and chief spokesman Naresh Chauhan.