Opposition parties like Congress and SP have slammed the decision by the Yogi Adityanath led UP government to rename Allahabad as Prayagraj, ahead of the Kumbh Mela next year.
Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary Onkarnath Singh said changing the name of the historic city to Prayagraj was an attempt to ‘fiddle with history’. Recounting the several Congress party sessions that had taken place in the city in 1888, 1892 and 1910, he said these had ‘given shape’ to the freedom movement. Moreover, Allahabad was the birth place of the first PM Jawaharlal Nehru, he added.
Singh added that if the UP government was ‘hell-bent’ on changing the name, then a separate city could be built.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav also criticised the move to rename Allahabad as Prayagraj, saying CM Yogi Adityanath was “doing nothing for the people and claiming credit by just renaming cities”.
“The decision to rename Allahabad came through after the Akhada Parishad gave a proposal for the same. Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik has also given his consent,” CM Adityanath is quoted as saying by The New Indian Express.
The CM added that his government also supported the proposal and said the word “Prayag” represents the confluence of two or more rivers. “It is deemed to be Prayagraj, the king of five prayags — Nand, Vishnu, Rudra, Karna and Dev — which fall in Uttarakhand, representing the confluence of different forms of the Ganga…” He added that since the Ganga met the Yamuna and the now extinct Saraswati in Prayagraj, so the place was to be called by the same name.
History of the name change from Prayag to Allahabad
Prayag is an ancient holy city which finds mention in Hindu scriptures like Rig Veda and Puranas (Brahmanda, Vayu and others).
But its name was changed by 16th-century Mughal Emperor Akbar who renamed it as ‘Allahabad’ i.e. the ‘city/abode of Allah’. However, the area near the Sangam, the site of the Kumbh Mela, continued to be known as Prayag.
As per Wikipedia, “-abad is a suffix that forms part of many west, central and south Asian city names originally derived from the Persian language term ābād (آباد), meaning “cultivated place” (village, city, region), and commonly attached to the name of the city’s founder or patron. In India, -abads are the legacies of Persianized Muslim rulers such as the Mughals. The suffix is most common in Iran, which contains thousands of -abads”
This twitter thread explains how Prayag is one of the oldest cities & a central site of the Hindu civilization.
The name Prayagraj was finally reinstated yesterday after 443 years, following an announcement by UP Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh. Mr Singh said, “All departments including Railways, would be asked to change the name which will be effective from today (16th October)”.
(Featured Image Credit: Getty Images)
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