BJP's name-changing spree may not end soon; Sangh ideologue of yore proposed renaming India 'Hindudesh'

The Bard was wrong after all! At least, so sayeth the Sangh Parivar.

William Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet, gave the following lines to the latter and spawned centuries of agreement over the insignificance of a name:

"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet..."

Not so anymore. Because, it is clear now that Ayodhya shall not remain Ayodhya if it is called Faizabad. Or Prayag will not be what it is if not called Prayagraj and continues to be named Allahabad.

A protest seeking the renaming of Allahabad as Prayagraj. PTI

A protest seeking the renaming of Allahabad as Prayagraj. PTI

So will be the case with Karnavati, Sambhajinagar, Bhagyanagar, Lakshmanpur, Lakshminagar, Dharashiv and, of course, Indraprastha. And many more. They shall all cease to have the same culture and ethos if they continue to be named as they are now: Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Muzaffarnagar, Osmanabad and Delhi.

Astounding as this may sound, this renaming spree shall not remain confined to streets, towns and cities. It will eventually extend to renaming the country.

In fact, this has been included in the statement of objectives a quarter of a century ago — way back in January 1993, to be precise.

It was less than fifty days after the demolition of the Babri Masjid and despite LK Advani's assertion of 6 December 1992 being the saddest day in his life, there was all round elation within the Sangh Parivar.

This stemmed from several homilies of the saffron fold being accepted by people. But most importantly, the demolition catalysed the process of de-hyphenating religious minorities from the political process.

The challenge then was to carry this forward and how better to do this than altering the name of India.

“Rename India as Hindudesh” was the headline in Organiser, the official organ of the Rashtriya Swayasmevak Sangh in the issue dated 24 January, 1993 (Volume XLVI, No 25). The article was penned by Jay Dubashi, a respected financial journalist who had been in a leadership position in several leading mainstream magazines and papers.

Always identified as a person close to the Bharatiya Janata Party, Dubashi was later a member of member of its national executive and a "kind of jack-of-all-trades, but primarily an “expert” who looked after the party's economic policies." Consequently, anything that has been ever written by him, must be taken seriously and not dismissed as a rant of a right-wing freethinker dwelling on the fringe of the saffron fold.

In this article, Dubashi argued that the country needed a new name because India is "an English word, not an Indian or Hindu word." He contended there was no further reasons "to identify" himself with "foreigners".

But, Dubashi posed, if the name had to be changed, what should we call the country?

Written in a conversational manner, he wrote that Bharat was ruled out as the new name because the citizens would be called Bharatis and it "sounds like a surname, not the name of a nationality". The attempt thus would be to "find a pucca Bharati word to describe ourselves and our country". The nationality of people should also carry weight and meaning.

He further wrote that for a long time, India has also been referred as Hindustan and it is name often used by poets, novelists, politicians. But, Dubashi was "not happy with it either."

The reason was simple: "There are too many 'stans' around us and they have an Islamic, not Hindu connota¬tion. And what would be the term for a citizen of Hindustan? A Hindustani, like Hindustani music? No I would rather have a term with a pure Hindu sound".

Dubashi then went on to propose that the new name of the country must be Hindudesh. This would ensure that the name of the nation was "distinct from the 'stans' around us, particularly those with Islamic or Russian connotation".

With India renamed Hindudesh, the nationality of citizens would be Hindu and "this will solve many problems. Since everybody will be a Hindu, there can be no minorities, for it is absurd to think that in Hindudesh, there can be a Hindu majority and a Hindu minority".

Renaming India as Hindudesh will serve a double purpose: "When everybody is a Hindu, there can be no problems, which arise only when you say that you are an Indian, not a Hindu. If you are an In¬dian, you can be an Indian Muslim, or a Muslim Indian. But if you are a Hindu national, you cannot be a Hindu Muslim, or a Muslim Hindu". Everybody will be a Hindu and this will be stamped on their passports!

This effectively meant that whether the Muslims like it or not, when they go for their annual Haj pilgrimage, they will be identified as Hindus, not just on their passports but also in the visas which the Saudi Arabian government will issue.

And if there is opposition, Dubashi's suggestion was ingenious: if critics did not appreciate being described as Hindus, they "can lump it" because Hindudesh and the subsequent decision to call citizens Hindus will become a reality "sooner than he (the critic) thinks".

It is true that for most in the saffron fold, systematic study of history is not high on the priority list. But the Organiser is the veritable Gospel. Sooner or later, someone will rediscover the virtues of Dubashi's argument.

And then, there will be a newsflash: India to be renamed Hindudesh.

Improbable? Decide yourself.

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Updated Date: Nov 10, 2018 18:42:06 IST

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