What’s In A Name? The Decision to Rename Mughal Sarai Junction Divides the Nation

What's in a name, probe Indians as the controversy over the renaming of Mughal Sarai junction continues to spread like wildfire.

The Mughal Sarai junction is the latest entrant in the list of places renamed in India. Wikimedia
  • UP government’s recommendation for changing name of Mughal Sarai Junction accepted
  • Opposition ministers express discontentment, get Rajya Sabha session adjourned 
New Delhi, August 5, 2016: It all began with “They are going to change New Delhi’s name too!” In the ongoing session of the Parliament, the Centre approved a proposal to rename the iconic Mughal Sarai railway station in Uttar Pradesh after Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, the Jan Sangh leader. And the citizens of the nation had a lot to say.
The decision came following a proposal by the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh with an intent to revive the legacy of Upadhyaya, who had been mysteriously found dead in the junction in 1968.
The Mughal Sarai Junction is the fourth-busiest railway station in the country, located on the line between Howrah and Delhi. Located right along the Grand Trunk Road, it has since 155 years served as a prime stop along the route.
The Uttar Pradesh government, headed by Yogi Adityanath, had approved the proposal of the renaming of station in June and forwarded it to the Ministry of Railways for the final nod. On August 3, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Hansraj Ahir cleared the proposal of the renaming of the station to ‘Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Nagar station’.
However, the move evoked a row in the Parliament, with the opposition accusing BJP of trying to change the country’s map.
Strong objections were raised in Rajya Sabha by members of the Samajwadi Party, which had lost power to BJP in Uttar Pradesh this year.
Naresh Agarwal, a member of Samajwadi Party lashed out saying the government was trying to “change the character of the country” and that they will soon “change New Delhi’s name too.”
Immediately after receiving clearance, according to popular opinion, the move wasn’t being seen as a welcome one, with questions on its intent circling discussion environment –  is this cultural hegemony, or maybe instead religious hegemony?

is it right to rename the station?
Even some of the BJP supporters question the decision of the renaming. NDTV

People are also viewing this as a strategy to assert power, to claim land by Yogi Adityanath’s government.
Similar reactions flooded Twitter and public discussion platforms, with the public expressing discontentment over the decision.

public view is divided over the renaming of railway station
Dont they have any real work to do, asks public over the decision to rename station. NDTV

However, every coin has two sides. While the move was being criticized for being outrageously religious, another set of opinions believes the renaming will be a welcome step.
Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi shot back at the opposition saying, “They want stations in the name of Mughals, but not Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. This view is wrong.”

is it right to change Mughal Sarai junction to Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya station?
Amidst opposition, a set of public believes it was time to drop “baggage” of the past. NDTV

While opinions in support and in rejection of the re-naming continue to resurface, a popular question that has been put up time and again is why this specific decision is witnessing an uproar of this magnitude. Names of places have been previously changed, like in the case of the world famous Connaught Place. People continue to question why are we behaving like hypocrites- we have had the names of so many historical places from our history books changed, so why is this particular case creating a controversy.

Mughal sarai junction to be renamed deen dayal upadhyaya station
Netizens have come forward with their personal opinions at various public portals. NDTV

The move has provoked mixed reactions from the netizens as discussions and opinions have been since floating. However, an increasing group of people also believe that a better decision would be to let the name stay, but revamp the infrastructure of a place, or to make new buildings, schools or other places of public benefit with the newly suggested name.

The country witnesses uproar over centre's decision.
While opinions are divided in support and opposition, another set of opinions dominates discussion platforms. NDTV

The decision is a part of the celebrations by Yogi Adityanath’s government to mark the centenary of Upadhyaya.
– by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter: @SohaKala

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.
Click here- www.newsgram.com/donate