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Moves afoot to rename Allahabad
By Obaid Nasir, Lucknow

Chief Minister Raj Nath Singh is trying his best to implement the commandments issued by recently-held so-called ‘Dharam Sansad’ (religious parliament) during the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad. This commandment is about changing the names of ancient cities particularly Allahabad to Prayag, Faizabad to Saket and Lucknow to Lachmanpur/ Lakhanpur or Lakhnavati. This issue is very close to the hearts of Sangh Parivar. Recent changes in the names of Calcutta to Kolkata, Madras to Chennai and Bombay to Mumbai has given boost to this demand. 

According to the informed sources, Raj Nath Singh has directed his officers to initiate action first with Allahabad which is to be named as ‘Prayag’ said to be a Vedic name. According to the Bhartiya Nagrik Parishad, an offshoot of RSS, Prayag was named Allahabad in Mughal period which is the symbol of "our slavery". Similarly Faizabad was known as Saket and it was during the period of Nawab Sadat Ali Khan that it was rechristined as Faizabad. This too is a symbol of slavery. According to the Hindutva historians Lucknow was founded by Lachman the younger brother of Lord Rama who accompanied him to forest. It was christened as Lakhnavati. Later it became Lakhanpur and finally Lucknow. Dalit historians claims that the city was founded by one Lakhna Pasi (nowadays Pasi is a scheduled caste) and Agha Mehdi writer of Tareekhe Lakhnau says that lakh nao (one lakh boats) floated on river Gomti at that time so it was called Lakhnao which with the passage of time became Lakhnaw and the British spelled it as Lucknow. 

Since Nawabs of Awadh, right from Nawab Sadat Ali Khan Burhanul Mulk down to Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, enriched its culture which carved a niche for itself all the world over, Lakhnavi tahzeeb, nazakat, nafasat,and above all the social harmony, tolerance, poetry, recipes, clothes all have their own special place in the hearts and minds of people,it was intolerable for sangh parivar. All possible efforts are being made to overshadow it. Since BJP came to power in UP, it has targetted Lucknow and the face of the city has almost been changed. The city is being turned into a graveyard with statues of known and unknown Hindu rulers, so-called freedom fighters being installed at every crossing of the state capital. Even the main gate of Lucknow University has been named after Bhavrao Deoras the former chief of RSS who has even never entered the university. Many efforts have been made to change its name ,but couldn't materialise due to the stiff opposition by lucknowites.

Pramod Tewari the leader of Congress legislature party who has been a student of Allahabad University and has started his political carrier from there is strongly opposing the move saying both the names Allahabad and Prayag should be allowed to exist as usual and there is no need to do away with Allahabad which is as important as Prayag.

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