“What’s in a name?” The English Bard Shakespeare had rhetorically asked.
The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) recently declared that Lutyens Delhi’s Race Course Road, popularly known as RCR, has been renamed as Lok Kalyan Marg. The decision was taken at a meeting presided by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
While Delhiites are fuming about the whimsical change in a road’s name that has historic significance, the authorities responsible for this, can’t stop gushing about the ‘Indianess’ of the name. Way back, it was named after the Delhi race course, part of Delhi Race Club that was established in 1940.
The road gains significance because the Prime Minister’s official residence is located on this strip. According to BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi, the name Race Course Road does not “match with the Indian ethos and value system”. She also added in an all-important tone: the previous name “conveys a feeling of disassociation and it can’t be the inspiration for any PM”.
Her “Indian ethos” bit is highly confusing, if not unintelligent. The Jaipur Polo Grounds, a part of the Race Club located in the erstwhile Race Course, is wholly Indian in its spirit. The game of Polo is an indigenous one that was played by our royals. Also, racing horses is not a foreign concept. As far as the words are concerned, let’s not forget, English is the official language of India; our constitution is written in this language!
With all due respect to our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a change in the name of the street in which he lives will hardly change the masses’ perception. Despite all the sugar-coated words and the high rhetoric, Lok Kalyan Marg hardly sounds important at all. The name renders a feeling that it’s located in the hinterlands of India, where a bunch of half-literate babus did the “namakaran” due to the lack of any better alternatives!
If you are a Delhiite, you still cross by Aurangzeb Road to reach Connaught Place, a historic area that still exudes colonial charm. That this circular historic market in Delhi was renamed as Rajiv Chowk two decades back is inconsequential. Today, Rajiv Chowk, named after India’s ex-PM Rajiv Gandhi during the Congress’ regime, is just a Metro Station.
You get the drift…