Uttar Pradesh continues its tradition of renaming historic cities, with Aligarh set to follow suit after Allahabad became Prayagraj. The Aligarh Municipal Corporation, led by Mayor Prashant Singhal, unanimously approved the proposal to rename the city Harigarh. Singhal expressed that this demand has been ongoing for a considerable time, hoping that the administration would heed it.
The UP government, in previous instances, renamed Allahabad to Prayagraj, Faizabad to Ayodhya, and Mughal Sarai to Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Nagar. The call for Aligarh’s name change dates back to the 1970s when Jana Sangh’s Aligarh Unit first raised the demand. In 2021, the Aligarh Zila Panchayat passed a resolution seeking the name change. Some VHP leaders claim Harigarh as the original name based on Hindu mythologies.
Aligarh, historically known as Kol in the 12th century, was renamed Ramgarh in 1753 and later to Aligarh by Mughal commander Najaf Khan. The city has produced notable figures like historian Irfan Habib, Bollywood actors Bharat Bhushan and Chandrachur Singh, music director Ravindra Jain, Pakistani actress Shamim Ara, cricketer Piyush Chawla, and Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma.
Netizens’ reactions to the name change vary. While some express enthusiasm, others criticize the proposal, questioning the priorities of the councilors. Suggestions for alternative names, like Gandhigarh, are also put forward. The debate on social media reflects a spectrum of opinions, from excitement to skepticism, with some viewing the renaming as a diversion from more pressing issues.
In the midst of these discussions, let’s take a glimpse into the emerging generation of India’s youth—a cohort often characterized by fervent patriotism but, as some argue, lacking in moral substance.