After Uttar Pradesh Government changed Allahabad to Prayagraj, now another BJP state is considering changing the name of an iconic city. The Himachal Pradesh government is starting to bat for changing the name of Shimla to Shyamala.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur confirmed the news to end all the speculations and said that the administration would be seeking public opinion to rename the state capital. In the pre-colonial era, he said, the city was known as Shyamala.
“Earlier, Shimla was called Shayamala. Later when the British arrived they changed it to Shimla,” said CM Jai Ram Thakur.
During the British rule, Shimla has served as the summer capital for the British administration between 1864 to 1947 when the country claimed independence from the British monarchy.
“There is no harm of the government attempts to remove the stains of colonial imperialism,” said BJP leader and State health minister Vipin Parmar.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), ideologically linked to the ruling BJP, has long petitioned for renaming Shimla as Shyamala. VHP state unit chief Aman Puri said the resistance to such a move stems from “mental slavery”, adding that people of an independent nation often clinch on to the language and terms used by their “erstwhile oppressors”.
Also Read: Allahabad now officially renamed Prayagraj
In 2016, several right-wing groups had demanded the then government to rename the city of Shimla. However, the then chief minister Virbhadra Singh had turned down the demand, claiming that tourism would be affected as Shimla has turned into a world-renowned destination.