“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.” – Shakespeare
This famed quote by the Bard is undoubtedly the first reaction that pops up in the head every time we see a new place being scrapped off its known name and having a new alien name pasted upon it.
The series of changing names of various sites and places has been in vogue for quite some time now. After the renaming of Allahabad to Prayagraj, and Mughal Sarai Railway Station to Deendayal Nagar, the UP government is all set to change the name of the historical city of Agra to ‘Agravan’.
How Did It All Start?
Some historians have been claiming that the city was called ‘Agravan’ sometime in the past. With reference to the same, the Uttar Pradesh government has asked the Ambedkar University in Agra to look into the matter and ascertain when the name was changed to Agra.
Jagan Prasad Garg, the BJP MLA who passed away recently had submitted a proposal to the state government to change the name of the city to Agravan.
Prof. Sugam Anand, the head of the Department of History of the Ambedkar University, Agra said, “We have received a letter from the state government to look for historical evidence if Agra city was known by any other name. We have begun the research and will reply to the letter.” He has, however, refrained from giving any subjective opinion on the matter.
This letter has sparked debate ever since, as people have argued in favour of the existing name ‘Agra’, which was named after the Mughal Emperor Akbar, who made the city his capital.
A Sensible Enough Move?
After having witnessed the re-baptism rites of several sites, we are compelled to think of the relevance of changing their names.
While it seems a sort of sound and acceptable idea to rid the names of the shadow of our colonizer communities, but doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good idea.
Agra is a world-renowned tourist destination and welcomes hundreds of tourists daily from all corners of the world. A change of name then, might not seem like a good idea, as it is likely to result in a decline in the numbers of tourists visiting the city.
Besides, what’s really there with the names that so many of our places are being re-named? Is it some bitterness or assumed threat arising from the existing names, or some sense of socio-political and/or religious superiority with the prospective names?
For now, we can just speculate about the consequences of Agra becoming Agravan, and how it will affect the city’s massive tourism indistry; and which all cities and sites are next in the line of having their names changed.
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