10/25/2018, 10.32
INDIA
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Hindu nationalist party changes names of the cities deemed 'too Islamic'

The goal of the Hindu nationalist party is to win the sympathies of the most radical fringes. The population feels lost and deprived of cultural identity. Over the years it has become "political practice" to change the name of the city, even by left-wing governments.

New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Hindu nationalist politicians of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) have decided to rename some Indian cities "that sound too Islamic". The goal is clear: to earn the vote of the most radical fringes in view of the general elections of 2019. Among the cities in question Allahabad, in Uttar Pradesh, which since October 16 is called Prayagraj.

The decision to "purge overly Islamic names" by the local administration has been led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, a guru famous for his positions against Christians and other religious minorities. This move has sparked waves of disdain on social media. Not only that, the population declares to feel lost and deprived of their historical and traditional identity which heretofore had been a source of pride.

In fact, Allahabad is known for being at the confluence of the sacred rivers Ganges, Jamuna and Sarawsati and has played an important role in the struggle for independence. Its ancient name was "Ilahabas", coined in the 16th century by the Mughal emperor Akbar. The term mixes both Hindu and Muslim cultures and is a reference to religious harmony: "Ila" means "deity" in Sanskrit, as well as "Ilahi" in Arabic. Later the name was changed to Ilahabad and then again to Allahabad by the British rulers.

Rumors also regard a change of name for another historical city, Lucknow, which would be named after Lakshman, the younger brother of the god Rama. Analysts point out that the practice of renaming cities for political purposes has become a tradition and even the left-wing governments, which have replaced different English and indigenous terms, are not exempt, to pacify local linguistic groups. Among the most famous cities: Kolkata (which many continue to call Calcutta), Chennai (formerly Madras) and Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore).

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