A couple of days after the state government nodded to consider the move to change the name ‘Shimla’ to Shyamala’ has triggered a row ‘for and against’. ‘Mayor of Shimla: Shimla is not just a name it is history, and the government meaninglessly cannot change it’ says a support petition against the move making rounds in social media today. This debate started when couple of days prior a BJP MLA supported by a hindu organisation handed over a referendum to the state government for changing the name of ‘Shimla’. Before the British settled here, the village here was known as ‘Shyamala’. The name derived from the local deity Mother Goddess ‘ Shali’.
The supporters of the move claim that ‘Shimla’ name was given by the British, so should be changed now, like many others are being done across the country. But some facts to reconsider; till the British settled here, the place was just a small village, ruled by the local rulers. Their advent gave birth to town called ‘Simla’. The historic building Viceregol Lodge, The Simla accord 1914 , the second round table conference 1945, the trial on NathuRam Godse (Who killed Mahatma Gandhi), The Simla agreement 1972 are some of those many legacies this name holds in it. Today’s India completely owes this town to the British (who not only created it but also nurtured it to be one of the best towns on the globe). Yet amazingly nursed by false Nationalism ideology some politicians want to change it to’ Shyamala.’
All literature, publicity material, articles, guides about the town only talk of the British legacies, here. Majority of the prominent buildings in town; designed by them. To top even the seats of the state government/ Shimla MC are buildings designed by the former ‘Gora’ rulers. Then what would be the hitch keeping the name given by them, is a point to ponder. Moreover to do away with symbols of British raj they would need to eliminate the entire city. And how many times does the name need to be changed. Hasen’t it been already rechristened as ‘Shimla’ from ‘Simla’ many years back.
Part of the UNESCO world heritage cities, funding flowing through World Bank, Asian Development bank, and more agencies only to keep the heritage conserved. Seems the money of the foreign hands is welcomed, but the name given by them is a roadblock.
Moreover, some citizens feel that name change moves like such cannot increase the level of nationalism amongst Shimlaits. These citizens feel that the move is only a plank of the politicians to shift the focus of the citizens from other issues. Issues of parking’s/ roads widening/ traffic jams/ water woes/ children parks/ and more. They say that since the current BJP headed MC is not able to deliver, thereby they want to shift focus by pumping such controversial issues into public minds.
“The Jai Ram Government would do well to steer away from such a blunder,” advised a senior advocate in response.