Hours after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced the renaming of Faizabad district to Ayodhya, the Gujarat government on Tuesday, 6 November, said it was willing to rechristen Ahmedabad to ‘Karnavati’ if there were no legal hurdles.

On Thursday, 8 November, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani concurred with his deputy and said that the government is contemplating the name change.

Joining the bandwagon  BJP lawmaker from Sardhana, UP, Sangeet Som, wants Muzaffarnagar to become Laxmi Nagar and claims he’s only heeding to the public’s demands.

In August this year, the Uttar Pradesh government had sent a request to the centre to rename the airports in Agra, Bareilly and Kanpur. According to reports, the proposal is to rename the Agra airport after Jan Sangh founder Deen Dayal Upadhyay. The BJP has often justified the changes across Uttar Pradesh, saying they are merely restoring older names and correcting historical distortions.

The BJP-led government faced criticism in the form of ally and cabinet minister Om Prakash Rajbhar, who said in a statement the changing of names was only to distract the oppressed voices from demanding their rights

Speaking to media  the 87-year-old professor eminent historian Irfan Habib said that even the name ‘Gujarat’, comes from the Persian word ‘Guajaratra’, which too poses a problem for the party, which seems to be on a mission to change the name of any place which has an Islamic origin.

 Historian Irfan Habib 

“The BJP government’s renaming spree is very much in line with the RSS’ Hindutva policy. Just like the neighbouring country Pakistan, where everything that is not Islamic has been removed, BJP and right-wing supporters want to change things which are non-Hindu, particularly of Islamic origin,” he told 

Habib’s comments came in response to BJP MLA Jagan Prasad Garg’s letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, requesting him to change the name of the city ‘Agra’ to ‘Agrawal’.

The reason that Garg offered was first a reference to the mythical tale of a densely forested region next to the Yamuna, known as ‘Agravan’ and second, to the presence of the Agarwal community in the city, who are all followers of Maharaja Agrasen, the report added.

Commenting on the BJP’s clamour over renaming states,  Habib also even has suggested that the party should consider changing the name of its chief Amit Shah – as his name stems from Persian origin.

Dismissing Garg’s reasons, Habib said that not only is the entire story behind Maharaja Agrasen a “myth”, the Agarwals origins come from Agroha in Haryana and not Agra. Hence, he said, both the reasons for renaming the city of Agra “hold no water”. 

“We first hear the term ‘Agra’ during the reign of Sikandar Lodhi in the 15th century but before that the area was more prominently known as Doab- land between Ganga and Yamuna,” he added