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  Patna is Patliputra, not Azimabad  


By: Shachi Rairikar
April 27, 2007
iews expressed here are author’s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer is at the bottom.


(The author is a Chartered Accountant working in a software company in Indore, M.P., India and manage www.indpride.com)

The UPA coalition competing hard with each other to lure the minority Muslims is trying all possible gimmicks to make them believe that it is their most trust-worthy savior. Of the many ludicrous tricks played by various politicians, probably the most outrageous is Lalu Prasad Yadav’s demand for change in the name of the capital of Bihar from Patna to Azimabad.

The reason cited by Lalu for the proposed change is that the last wish of former Assembly Speaker and RJD minister the late Ghulam Sarwar was to see Patna being known as Azimabad and Lalu wanted to see his wish being fulfilled. It is interesting to note that during his long tenure as the Chief Minister in Bihar, when he ruled the state directly or by proxy, Lalu made no efforts for the name change. In fact, when in the late 1990s the then Speaker of the Bihar Assembly the late Dev Narayan Yadav had submitted a memorandum to Lalu for renaming Patna as Patliputra, Lalu had turned it down saying that the change of name of a city was an irrelevant issue. The big question here is that how did the then irrelevant issue suddenly become relevant now? And what makes the wish of Ghulam Sarwar more valuable than that of Dev Narayan Yadav ? Raising an issue when in the opposition is much easier than addressing it when in power. But discrimination between two former Speakers, who are both no longer in this world, on the grounds of their religion is unpardonable. It is obvious that Ghulam Sarwar’s wish carries more weight because he was a Muslim, a minority that is especially privileged to have the first right to the country’s resources according to the Prime Minister. Dev Narayan Yadav, on the other hand, was a Hindu, the majority which has been relegated to secondary position in its own land by the UPA government.

The demand for Azimabad is absurd considering Patna’s history. From times immemorial and for the maximum period of its existence, Patna was known as Patliputra, a name that was associated with the city during the days of its prime glory. Patliputra reached the pinnacle of prosperity when it was the capital of the great Mauryan kings, Chandragupta and Ashoka, the great men the present-day Biharis yearn to be identified with. There is an on-going campaign of the people of Bihar to rename Patna with its original name, Patliputra.

On the other hand, Azimabad was the name given by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb at the request of his favorite grandson Prince Muhammad Azimush Shah in 1704 while the latter was the governor of Patna. The common people however continued to call it Patna and the name Azimabad did not hold for long. Aurangzeb and Azimush Shah made no significant contributions to the history or culture of Patna, which the people of Bihar would like to cherish and be reminded of. On the contrary, Aurangzeb continues to be one of the most despised rulers in the collective memory of the Indians, abhorred for his iconoclastic zeal. None other than the fraudulent communist historians can find any merit in his tyrannical rule.

Patna’s historical identity is primarily associated with the ancient times when it was the magnificent capital of India for centuries. The people of Bihar feel honored that their land was the home to some of the greatest souls that ever lived, namely Mahavira, Gautam Buddha, Chandragupta Maurya, Chanakya, and Ashoka. Patna, as Patliputra, occupies a position of pride in the Bihari psyche. Azimabad, on the other hand, does not hold any relevance for an average Bihari. The proposal to change Patna’s name to Azimabad instead of Patliputra is a dirty joke played on the Bihari sentiment.

There is a strong public sentiment in favor of renaming Allahabad as Prayag, Ahmedabad as Karnavati and Muzaffarnagar as Laxminagar. The names Allahabad, Ahmedabad, Muzaffarnagar as well as Azimabad are the grim reminders of the dark oppressive periods of Indian history when the most inhuman atrocities were committed on Hindus. Indians are under no obligation to carry the burden of the remnants of the periods of slavery. They would welcome reverting to the original nomenclature that is representative of the days of freedom. The reinstating of the ancient names of these cities indicates liberation from servitude.

Shachi Rairikar

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All articles by:
Shachi Rairikar


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