New Delhi: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur on Monday clarified that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is not considering proposal to rename Shimla as Shyamala.

“Let me make it clear that the government is not considering proposal to rename Shimla as Shyamala. We had received a suggestion to rename Shimla and it is our duty to hear all suggestions,” said Thakur, while speaking to reporters today.

Earlier in the day, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma had said that any move to rename Shimla as Shyamala will be “absurd and totally unacceptable”. He said Shimla was the summer capital during the colonial era and has witnessed many historic events during the freedom struggle and hence, changing the name the city would be unjustified.

A couple of days ago Himachal BJP leader and state Health Minister Vipin Singh Parmar had said the state government might consider a proposal to rechristen Shimla to Shyamala.
Notably, the social media has also been abuzz with discussions on the topic for the last few days. The debate has left people divided with some favouring the name change and others opposing it.

Senior Himachal Pradesh Congress leader Harbhajan Singh Bhajji questioned the intention of those who want Shimla to be renamed. “What is the justification (for changing Shimla’s name),” asked Bhajji as he vehemently opposed the proposal. This is a historical city and if you change its name, it will lose its character, Bhajji argued.

According to Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) functionary Aman Puri, the popular holiday retreat was originally called Shyamala but as the Britishers found it tough to pronounce, they renamed it Simla which later became Shimla.

Also known as the queen of hills, Shimla was declared the summer capital of British India in 1864. It remained that way till India got independence in 1947.