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The journey of Mughalsarai Junction to Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Junction
Most of the Mumbaikars call it 'Krafat Market' which is the transmutation of Crawford Market that has been at the centre of market life in south Mumbai since it was built in the days of the British Raj.

Several decades ago, after independence, it was officially renamed Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market in honour of the famous social reformer who lived in the 19th century. He was a pioneer in women's education.

Even after living the best part of life in Bombay or Mumbai, my ears are itching to hear people calling it with its new name. Many of the names of India cities were given by maharajas, Mughals and colonial rulers. The names are changed to make them more identifiable with the region and regional languages. There have been many changes like Madras to Chennai, Calcutta to Kolkata, Trivandrum to Thiruvananthapuram etc. The new names are less anglicized and sound local.

I'm rather neutral about this name-changing exercise. I neither support nor oppose it. It is OK as long as you are not coercing people into using the new names. For instance, even after several years, some people still refer to Kolkata as Calcutta and no one bothers.

However, several thinkers have stressed the importance of not burying or denying the past. I read somewhere: "Any psychologist will tell you this is a very unwise proposition, and that works for nations as well as individuals. Change is welcome by all means, but an understanding of why it was necessary and what came before is also essential. Our lives and the lives of our cities operate in time as well as space, and it's important to acknowledge that. We are who we are because, and in spite, of where we've come from."

This name changing business is in fact a universal pastime. In 1984, the segment of Washington DC's 16th Street where the Soviet embassy was based was renamed Andrei Sakharov Plaza by US administration. Andrei Sakharov was a Nobel-Prize winning nuclear physicist and a jailed Soviet dissident. In 2014, the Washington Street where the Chinese embassy is located, was renamed as Liu Xiaobo Plaza, after the Nobel Peace laureate imprisoned in China.

The pertinent question is - what are the wider implications of name changing for the character of a street, city or station or ports?

In many situations the decision to change street names or town names are simply impractical as it causes hardships in having to notify various agencies about the change of address. The changing names wipe out the history associated with it. If we look at it from a heritage point of view then even street names have a heritage value whether they are anglicised names or vernacular names.

Darran Anderson, author of "Imaginary Cities" says that much of our sense of identity and belief is wrapped up in signs and symbols. "Once you decide to name a street after a person or an event, rather than topography, you've started something intrinsically political and subjective," he says. "When we fail to look at what existed previously and why, we rob ourselves of context and roots."

Give any name or psychic complex that compels the power de jure to make the name-change!

Today, the over century-old Mughalsarai railway station in Chandauli district has been renamed after RSS ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, with Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik giving his assent. A notification for this was issued by the state government on Monday. Mughalsarai is also the birth place of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Upadhyaya was found dead near the station in mysterious circumstances in 1968.

The very name Sarai is a Persian word where a group of traders, pilgrims or other travellers, engaged in long distance travel would break their journey for rest. A number of place-names based on the word sarai have significance in history like Mughalsarai, Sarai Rohilla, Sarai Kale Khan etc. The name Mughalsarai indicates its relation to the Mughals and their administration. The Mughal Emperors attained great power in India from 1526 to 1757. They lived surrounded by incredible opulence, created magnificent architecture and developed art and culture. They controlled all of what is now India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. They are the part of our heritage and history.

Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya was an RSS thinker and co-founder of the political party BJS, the forerunner of the BJP. He became president of the Jana Sangh in December 1967. During his tenure he did not play any major role. He contested Lok Sabha election and lost. Soon after his elevation he was murdered under mysterious circumstances. He was found dead on February 11, 1968 on a railway track near MughalsaraiJunction.

A commission of inquiry was constituted and appointed under Justice YV Chandrachud of the Bombay High Court. Justice Chandrachud reported his findings 'That Shri Upadhyaya was pushed out of the running train when he was standing near the door of the I Class compartment of the F.C.T. Bogie'; that he dashed against the traction pole and 'died an instantaneous death'; and the injuries on his body were caused in a single transaction and they were such as could not have been caused inside the compartment. Justice also held that the murder 'was accompanied by an immediate theft, which shows that the two are part and parcel of the same transaction.' Finally, the judge observed: 'I can say with a certain amount of confidence that nothing that has come before me can support the accusation that there was any politics in Shri Upadhyaya's murder. Undoubtedly, he had political rivals but his death is the rash and extempore handiwork of mere thieves.' The CBI he said had conducted the investigation with care and objectivity.

What Upadhyaya had to do with Mughalsarai station is a scientific mystery created by the RSS think-tank and it is like another inter play of history that RSS is engaged as long as its baby is in power.

Let us wait and watch!

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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