The Narendra Modi government now wants to change the name of the country's capital with not one but two new names. It is said that changing the name of New Delhi into the Imperial City of Delhi and that of Old Delhi into the Imperial City of Shahjehnabad could earn the national capital a heritage status from the Unesco and that in turn will boost international tourism. [Delhi to get a new name again?]
Is the reasoning very convincing?
Unesco's strong criteria for heritage status
Going by the Unesco's criteria, a city has to have "outstanding universal value", must "represent a masterpiece of human creative genius", "bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared", "contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance" etc., etc.
Delhi doesn't value its history and neither it is safe: What heritage will a change in the name bring?
But given Delhi's lack of interest in highlighting its own history and culture and its tainted image of being one of the most unsafe cities of the world, how much good can be done to the tourism industry just by changing the name? How many cities or structures around the world have seen their names getting changed in order to attract a heritage site?
This initiative reminds one of Mamata Banerjee's hasty style of functioning
One can recall the 'think less, act more' style of politics of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in this regard. She is a leader who loves naming objects, whether a railway station or a train. The leader never cared for the inconvenience of the non-Bengali speakers while showing her intense love for her mother tongue while naming things.
Many struggled to utter the name Duronto Express, a train that Bengali-to-the-core Banerjee had started
The Duronto Express was started by her in 2009 when she was the railway minister but many non-Bengali speaking commuters found great inconvenience in uttering the name. The same had also happened when she started naming Metro railway stations in Kolkata after personalities.
She named Metro railway stations in Kolkata after personalities, leaving the commuters in the lurch
The commuters had a harrowing time to identify the place by the name of the personalities. Tollygunj station was renamed after late Bengal matinee idol Uttam Kumar although the history of Tollygunj stretched much beyond 1926, when the actor was born.
Various cities had their name changed but is it required to change Delhi's too?
The same is going to happen to Delhi if its name changes. Yes, names of countries and capitals have changed around the world but those are more because of historical reasons.
Renaming Delhi will also land common people in unnecessary trouble
In case of Delhi, the abrupt change will only cause inconvenience to the common people. If the historical aspect of the city is indeed being focussed on for a heritage tag, then why is the government limiting its legacy to the British era? Delhi's history goes much beyond that and no other name can match the legacy that is attached to name 'Delhi'.
Hindu nationalists for a Western name for the national capital?
It is also surprising to see the Hindu nationalists preferring a term like 'Imperial' for Delhi as they are the most concerned about everything made in India (from culture to economy). So our post-colonial nationalism is ultimately a vague legacy of colonialism as often is the case?