Queen of Hills Shimla To Be Renamed Next?

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Ridge Road - Shimla
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The ruling BJP government in Himachal Pradesh is considering a proposal to rename Shimla as ‘Shyamala’, as reported by PTI.

This seems to be yet another controversial move just within a week of changing the name of historic Allahabad to Prayagraj.

Speaking at a Dusshera event at the Jakhu temple, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said,

“Before the British arrived, Shimla was known as Shyamala. My government will seek public opinion on the demand for its renaming.”

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Shimla

PTI stated that some right-wing Hindu groups have launched a campaign supporting the name change, which also prompted Vipin Singh Parmar, Health Minister of Himachal Pradesh to acknowledge and comment on the matter. He said,

“Many cities in different parts of the country used to have historic names but they were changed. So, there would not be any harm in reverting to those names. If the people want Shimla to be rechristened as ‘Shyamala’, the proposal can be considered.”

He added,

“Slavery can either be physical, mental or cultural. Sticking to names given by oppressors is a sign of mental slavery. Changing names of town is a small but significant step. The country had done away with several symbols of British rule after independence, but in Himachal, several names remain of the colonial time,” VHP state president Aman Puri said.

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Shimla

According to Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) functionary Aman Puri, the popular northern hill station was originally called Shyamala however, since the same was difficult to pronounce, the Britishers renamed it as Shimla. Shimla was the summer capital of British India in 1864. Also known as the Queen of Hills, it remained that way till India got independence in 1947.

Senior State Congress leader Harbhajan Singh Bhajji questioned the objective of those who want Shimla to be renamed.

“What is the justification (for changing Shimla’s name),” asked Bhajji as he emphatically opposed the proposal. This is a historical city and if you change its name, it will lose its character.”

He further said,

What’s wrong with the name Shimla? Will the renaming ensure development? The state government should focus on ensuring that the state progresses instead of indulging in such frivolous antics

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Shimla

As per literature books, Shimla, formerly known as Simla, is one of the hill stations which would top the list of any tourist visiting North India.  In 1864, Shimla succeeded Murree in the northeast of Rawalpindi, as the Summer Capital for the British. After independence, the city became the capital of Punjab and was later named the capital of Himachal Pradesh. After coming into existence on 1st Septembr 1972 on the reorganisation of the districts of the state, the erstwhile Mahasu district and its major portion was also merged with Shimla. Its name has been derived from the goddess Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of the Hindu goddess Kali.

Social media that has already been abuzz with discussions on name change of cities, did not miss an opportunity to react to this news today :

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