The Ministry of Home Affairs on of 4th August approved the renaming of Mughalsarai railway station in Uttar Pradesh to Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Nagar station. This name change is based on a proposal of the Yogi Government.
This station was established in 1862 when East India Company linked Howrah to Delhi by rail. It is most well known for housing a railways marshalling yard which is the largest in Asia. This station is surrounded by a town which goes by the same name.
This name change is understood to be a tribute to Pandit Upadhyaya the Jan Sangh leader and proponent of the “Integral Humanism” philosophy. Pandit Upadhyaya was found dead in mysterious circumstances on the platform of the Mughalsarai Junction in 1968.
It was in June that the Yogi Government had given its green signal to the renaming of the station and had then requested an NOC from the Home Ministry regarding it in July. Reportedly the UP government in its proposal had cited the mysterious death of Upadhyaya on the station as one of the key reasons to rename it.
In order to pave the path for a smooth transition, the Home Ministry instructed the Railways to make changes to its records so as to create no hassles for the passengers. They also informed the Intelligence Bureau, Geographical Survey of India, Department of Posts, Ministry of Earth Sciences about the proposed change.
Now it turns out that not everyone is happy about the decision and it resulted in strong protests from the SP and the BSP in the Rajya Sabha yesterday.
The parties claimed that the government was forcibly trying to change UP’s geography and that the name was ages old. They also alleged that Upadhyaya had no role in the freedom struggle. The SP members were soon joined by their BSP counterparts during the protest after which they started to chant slogans and created a ruckus.
Their arguments were countered by MOS for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi who stated that the opposition parties wanted stations to be named after the Mughals instead of Upadhyaya, who he described as a great thinker.
The SP member also reportedly tried to make fallacious arguments to justify their decision by claiming that no railway station in India was named after any personality. This clearly isn’t true as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai is already one such station. Also it isn’t the only time a railway station has been renamed in honour of a personality. Just in 2009 the Gomoh Junction in Jharkhand was renamed to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Gomoh railway station.
Also according to latest reports, the protests might be a bit misplaced as Mughalsarai wasn’t even the original name of the area. The report claimed that the town was in the past named Mughalchak, Mangalpur and Oven Nagar. It only received its existing name when the railways made their station a junction in 1883.
This stance of the SP and BSP against this renaming might be a bit perplexing, as they themselves were very active in renaming things when they were in power. In 2012 it was reported how both these parties were on opposing sides when the SP had renamed 8 districts which incidentally were earlier named by Mayawati when she was in power.