The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet has cleared a proposal on renaming Allahabad, the iconic city on the banks of the Ganga, to Prayagraj. The proposal, mooted by state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, was approved on Tuesday.
Yogi Adityanath had announced his government’s intent in this regard on a trip to the city on Saturday. The proposal of renaming the city came ahead of the 2019 Kumbh Mela.
It now needs to be sent to the Union Home Ministry for approval, after which the city’s name can be formally changed through a gazette notification.
UP government’s proposal on renaming Allahabad has come a little over four months after the name of the Mughalsarai Junction railway station was changed to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Junction.
Renaming Allahabad: The Iconic, Historic City
Originally known as Prayag, Allahabad is one of the oldest cities of Uttar Pradesh. Mughal emperor Akbar named it ‘Illahabad’, meaning ‘abode of God’, in 1575. It subsequently came to be known as Allahabad.
The proposal on renaming Allahabad seeks to reinforce its original historical identity.
The city figured prominently in India’s struggle for freedom. It is known across the world for the ‘Triveni Sangam’, the confluence of the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati.
Declared as an Intangible Heritage by UNESCO, the Kumbh Mela is considered to be the ‘largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims in the world’. The festival is celebrated four times in a span of 12 years. Apart from Allahabad, the three other destinations for the festival are Ujjain (Shipra river), Nashik (Godavari river) and Haridwar (Ganga river).
Allahabad High Court, one of the oldest high courts in the country, is a fine example of Georgian architecture.
Allahabad gave India its first Prime Minister in Jawahar Lal Nehru. Indira Gandhi (3rd PM of India), Vishwanath Pratap Singh (7th PM) and Chandra Shekhar (8th PM) also share a close association with the city.
Personalities like Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, and Olympic gold medallist Dhyan Chand were born in the city.
Recently, after the demise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, many places in Jharkhand, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi were renamed to honour him. A total of 14 places were renamed including the iconic structures like Sabarmati Ghat and Hazratganj.
In October last year, the government led by Yogi Adityanath had proposed renaming of the Mughalsarai railway station as Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) station. The decision was intended to honour the legacy of the Jan Sangh leader who died at the railway station in 1968.
Since 2014, the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre has approved proposals to rename many cities.
Bangalore has been renamed as Begaluru, Mysore as Mysuru, Bellary as Ballari, Mangalore as Mangaluru, Belgaum as Belagavi and Hubli as Hubballi.
In 2016, the name of Gugaon was changed to Gurugram after a proposal from Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
There is also the instance of the name of the state of Orissa being changed to Odisha in 2011. In July this year, the West Bengal Assembly passed a resolution to change the state’s name to Bangla.
Here is a list of some major cities whose names have been changed since Independence:
- Banaras, or Benares, to Varanasi
- Bombay to Mumbai
- Central Provinces to Madhya Pradesh
- Madras to Chennai
- Poona to Pune
- United Provinces to Uttar Pradesh
- Baroda to Vadodara
- Cochin to Kochi
- Calcutta to Kolkata
- Pondicherry to Puducherry
(Note- All the photos are courtesy the official website- allahabad.nic.in)