Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh government is considering renaming Shimla as ‘Shyamala’ in an attempt to remove the “symbols of British rule”, a Hindustan Times report said. Speaking from a Dussehra event at Jakhu temple, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said, “Before the British arrived, Shimla was known as Shyamala. My government will seek public opinion on the demand for its renaming.”
The demand was made by right-wing Hindu groups such as Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad and Health Minister Vipin Parmar and gained momentum after Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh was renamed as Prayagraj. Supporting the idea of renaming Shimla, State health minister Vipin Parmar said that there was no harm in it.
“Slavery can either be physical, mental or cultural. Sticking to names given by oppressors is a sign of mental slavery. Changing names of town is a small but significant step. The country had done away with several symbols of British rule after independence, but in Himachal, several names remain of the colonial time,” VHP state president Aman Puri said.
He further added that the British changed the capital city’s name to Shimla as they couldn’t pronounce Shyamala.
On October 16, Allahabad was renamed as Prayagraj after a decision to this effect was ratified by the Uttar Pradesh cabinet at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Briefing the media, government spokesman and Health Minister Siddhartha Nath Singh said the decision was taken keeping in mind the rich cultural, historic and religious heritage of the city.
Adityanath had earlier made the announcement in Allahabad on October 13. Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Ram Naik on Saturday approved the renaming of Allahabad as Prayagraj with immediate effect. The government notification issued by the District Magistrate of Prayagraj, Suhas L.Y. read that the Naik has approved the change of name of the existing Allahabad district to Prayagraj district.