The naming game

Recently Rishi Kapoor stirred a hornet’s nest with his remarks on the number of national assets , including many welfare schemes being named after the members of the Nehru-Gandhi family. He wanted to know why they couldn’t be named after others, including himself. Can the media with its unconcealed bias towards the said family, let this pass without flogging it to death in its studios in the name of ‘debates’? And how could any Indian worth his or her salt not ‘stand with’ or ‘against’ the ageing star on social media? So the drama played out for a few days in public and then slowly gave way to other trivial topics to debate upon.

But it is a fact that we have over-represented the Mughals and the Nehru-Gandhi family in the naming game – including sports events and stadia, in the process relegating the real giants of our great nation from many fields literally to the backstreets and to their own towns and cities if at all.

So what is wrong with it, ask the loyalists and their media friends. After all, didn’t the Mughals rule us for nearly a millennium and hasn’t a particular family practically ‘ruled’ over the masses of this country for over nearly half a century after Independence and so deserve to have their names commemorated? Changing names smacks of ‘intolerance’, no less!

It does make one feel that Aurangzeb Road renamed after Abdul Kalam, one of the most illustrious sons of India –  makes a lot of sense. Believe me, it used to remind me of the despot every time I commuted on that road and I used to wonder why we had a road named after him at all. I remember the angry reactions to this move from our so called intellectuals who stopped just short of doing award wapsi at this outrage!

Memory recall is a strong thing in terms of road names, which makes one wonder if it is a wise decision after all, because even after renaming, people still refer to places with their old names!

In this respect, though it smacks of politics, the Bihar government’s move to name a music university after Ustad Bismillah Khan makes more sense than naming it  after a politician who has no connection to music!

Coming back to Rajiv Gandhi, just take a look at the picture below sourced from FB. The late ex PM would appear to be the darling of the ignorant masses if one were to go by the number of things that carry his name!

RG new

All this reminded me of the post I had done in 2011, õn this topic of naming everything after Rajiv Gandhi. Sharing it here again in relief that my nightmare at the end of the post has not come to pass after all!!

Back to 2011…..

**********

A couple of days ago, I read about Veer Bhumi, Rajiv Gandhi’s memorial in the Capital, acquiring state-of-the-art lighting equipment imported at a cost of 40 lakhs all the way from Italy. Apparently the lighting is the first of its kind in India and has been inspired by 9/11 memorial in New York. Three 12000 watt xenon lamps will light up the sky and be visible from as far away as 12 kms. Wow!

So why am I cribbing? Shouldn’t I be proud that our country is joining the ranks of the most developed nations in the world in the matters of acquiring the latest technological marvels to pull in tourists? So what if my hard earned money is funding such a caper, I would be less than patriotic if I crib. After all, he is the messiah of modern India who led us into light and without whom you and I would still be wallowing in the dark ages. Talk of being thankless!

I surely would have been thankful too, had I not read in the same paper on the same day about Premchand’s house being in ruins on his 131st birth anniversary. But sad as I was, I was not surprised. Why was the great literary master of the country born with a wrong surname? It was entirely his fault of course. For that matter, the walls of the majestic Red Fort adjacent to the Outer Ring Road, close to Veer Bhumi were destined to remain the public toilet of the homeless masses because alas! Shah Jehan did not belong to The Family either, the poor sod.

A few kilometers away the walled city is choking to death. With its abundance of heritage buildings and monuments, there is no one to come to their rescue and even restore them, leave alone light them up with state-of-the-art equipment from Italy.

Come to think of it, it has become the rule-of-the-thumb for politicians in power to act as if they own the regions they rule. Take the instance of our beloved Behenji. All those humongous statues of hers that adorn her state are testimony of the fact. Succeeding governments would have to pay more than their cost to demolish the ugly creations.

As for the ruling family of this country, the country is their oyster. Don’t be surprised if one day in the not too distant future the capital is renamed Rajiv Nagar or some such thing. The pace at which institutions, buildings and roads are either coming up or being renamed after him and that of his mother — though to a far lesser extent — we might have to find ways of classifying the said buildings and institutions.

We might have to, for instance say, ‘Rajiv Gandhi University of Karnataka’ or Maharashtra. That is fine actually. But what if these states have more than one university named after him or worse, have their names changed to that of the omnipotent family? What then? I shudder to think of it.

You might one day be getting into a flight from Indira Gandhi International Airport to disembark at Rajiv Gandhi Domestic airport in er…Rajiv Gandhi Nagar in the state of Rajiv. You have to rush along the Rajiv Gandhi Marg to meet a client at Rajiv Gandhi building in the Rajiv Gandhi Conference Hall…..Arrrrrrrrrgh…Let me stop before I have to be rushed to a Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Mental diseases…

Coming back to the neglected monuments of our Capital and country, how about  renaming all of them in our beloved former Prime Minister’s name so that they may get some well deserved attention? As for Premchand, someone please get in touch with his heirs…

P.S. I think better sense prevailed and the said lighting system didn’t get installed. So what happened to the equipment from Italy that had been sourced?

(Homepage image: Lighting installation at the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero, New York.                Pic courtesy: spacecannon.com.au)

43 comments

  1. It’s all corruption at the end of the day! I have always hated politics and voted just once (and i hope it will remain to that)!

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    1. Oh many of us hate politics but we need to vote, if at least register our NOTA else we are just handing over our country to the louts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Every politician is a lout these days, one way or another!

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  2. Sarcasm at its best, Zephyr.
    As Suresh said, it’s fortunate that we don’t need powerful surnames (or names) to start a blog. Imagine a ‘family monopoly’ on that 😀

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    1. Thanks Sid 🙂 I usually don’t write anything on politics, but the news item had made me hopping mad and I had to get it all out. Thank God I was not put behind bars for writing about the great former PM, it was mighty bold of me to have written it during the UPA rule, wasn’t it? 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  3. vijayaa108 · · Reply

    The topic of naming institutions in our Bharatavarsham was very rightly initiated by Rishi Kapoor. But what amazed and really angered me was the terrible moderation by Burka Dutt. The BJP representative’s comparison was twisted out of its Truth and another meaning was attributed. She did not permit Shayna to speak and clarify. And again that man from Gujarat Akaar Patel had the audacious temerity to state that Rana Pratap who sacrificed everything had made nil contributions to the history of our nation. He even accused the BJP of bullying minority communities.
    It indeed makes me wonder as to what has happened to our sense and sensibility!
    Places and monuments are named after heroes who immortalise themselves… … But in our Bharatavarsham this sycophantic naming game began quite a few decades ago and we can see the results today!
    May we see the Light! Lead kindly Light……. Lead thou us on……!

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    1. That the media is biased in favour of THE family is a state secret and now they are not even trying to be subtle about it. It is all out in the open, so there is nothing surprising about Barkha Dutt or Sardesai pussyfooting around the Congress politicians and tearing into the BJP leaders. If we had spokespersons like Meenakshi Lekhi, they can give back better than they get! As for sense and sensibility, they are all lost in the maelstrom of ‘liberal secularism’!

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  4. upasna1987 · · Reply

    So true, its pointless to name everything after few Politicians who are no-where related to it. Even If we want to name the roads, institutions behind someone’s name- It should be the veterans in one’s own field. Thanks for bringing this up Mam.

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    1. It is not even about any politicians, but members of one family! Glad that you liked the post, Upasna 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Biting sarcasm. Thank God you do not need that all-important surname to open a blog 🙂

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    1. They had too many things on their plate when blogs were becoming popular, else they might have come up with something even here 🙂 Alas, now it is too late!

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  6. Loved it, loved it! You, my friend, can really get political-kind-of-witty when you want to 🙂 This naming business is quite interesting. And much deliberation goes into why some national asset is named something. I think those who say that it does not matter whether a road or a public institution is called this or that are either naive or simply lazy to bother about the issue. Akbar road’s name is now problematic not only because it is Akbar but more importantly because the idea of “Akbar the great” is being threatened, and perhaps rightly so. But perhaps the biggest reason why Akbar Road will not be renamed is because it is the address of headquarters of the”family” party! I personally don’t care what that road is called as long as that party in its present form is made irrelevant because the longer they hold power over any section of this democracy the more damage they do to the country. India can deal with Akbar’s legacy later, first priority should be to clean up the system that has encouraged servile sycophancy.

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    1. I am so happy you liked the post. I had been hopping mad when I had written it that day. In fact I had classified it under Mistral Moments! The sycophants have taken their ‘revenge’ against Rishi Kapoor by naming a toilet complex after him. How low can one get in the race for being the best sycophant, eh? Why, we have had Union Ministers proclaiming that they would gladly sweep Indira Gandhi’s house! It is beyond disgusting.

      The mindset of kowtowing to a family is ingrained in Indians I think, used as they were to have kings and emperors who ruled over them. So that kind of blind loyalty and feet-touching culture was effortlessly transferred to this family, which is becoming crasser by the generations. Today people deify a joker as the next PM. What more can one say?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Power is the drink of megalomaniacs.”The family” is like the royalty of India.They are the uncrowned kings/queens of India.
    But I somehow like Mrs Gandhi our ex-PM.There is something of an aura about her.

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    1. She had some stature; she was part of the freedom struggle and she still had some ideology. Her undoing was her love for her sons and the power craze, that brought about her loss of the same. But what do these crown princes have to show for themselves?

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  8. Samaya gujarata jaiye re .. don’t get too worried, the feet-lickers always worship the rising suns, setting suns are kicked out. All the mighty and powerful, sooner or later bite the dust. 🙂

    On the other hand, not just Prem Chand, India does not seem to have any respect for any writers, or poets, especially from the Indian languages. Even the so called “national poets” like Dinakar, Sumitra Nandan Pant, Mahadevi Varma or Maithili Sharan Gupt, how many remember them?

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    1. There is no reverence for such things indeed. Text books used to feature these great writers before, but I think with the deifying of The Family. I have reasons to be worried Sunil, since the family has held sway for over 60 years now and still going strong.

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  9. Bang on, the comparisons with Premchand and the rest are very thought provoking. Our Binary political system has become dysfunctional, we need a better alternative. I will be checking out your other posts too in the next few days.

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    1. Thanks for the visit and the comment Satish. The million dollar question is ‘where is the alternative?’ Look at the jokers in both Houses of Parliament and you will feel the same sense of desperation.

      Do visit again 🙂

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  10. It is unfortunate… I always wondered when people said – whats there in a name? – The next time they say, I would direct them to this post 😛 .. You never know, it might reach the heights – when ultimately the name of our country get renamed to one of those names!

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    1. Now you are scaring me 🙂 I do hope I don’t live to see the day.

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  11. Sorry state of affair. I doubt if those in power know Munshi Premchand’s contribution? They are all busy in erecting their own statues and naming the roads.

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    1. Oh yes. How can Behenji have a competitor in her own state, right? But seriously, given the abysmal state of literacy in our Houses of Parliament, who would have heard of anyone other than the Gandhis, not the Father of the Nation but the senior branch of the Indira parivar?

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  12. Hi.. Good to see you back again. I hope everything is good at your end now. This deifying of politicians and non politicians by their flunkeys is getting insanely tiresome. Those behenji statues are a sadistic joke on the tax paying masses. You missed out Bandra-Worli Sea link in Mumbai which is called Rajiv Gandhi something something too.

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    1. Same here 🙂 One good thing about Behenji is that she doesn’t have any children to carry forward her dynasty, so I guess she is in even more of a hurry to have herself immortalised.

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  13. This deifying of politicians and non politicians by their flunkeys is getting insanely tiresome. Those behenji statues are a sadistic joke on the tax paying masses. You missed out Bandra-Worli Sea link in Mumbai which is called Rajiv Gandhi something something too.

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  14. I am going to ask my dad to read this post 🙂

    he would be as bugged as you

    It would be weird na…to have MG road replaced by RG road..I have travelled to quite a few towns in India and one thing common about all of them is the MG road 🙂

    I guess soon the RG road will rule as well

    lovely post as usual…I think I should just permanently put this on all your blog posts 🙂

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    1. Nice to see you back after some time R’s Mom. How is R?

      Aren’t you bugged too? And no, it is not just fantasy, but it is going to be true one day if we allow the family to get away with their wilful Rajivisation of the country.

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  15. Just showing off that yes, India also has all the money and we are no less than you when it comes to setting up these flashy things to honor some people at the cost of neglecting some other honorary people is indeed very saddening. You definitely need ‘the’ right surname in this country to get the recognition that you deserve.

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    1. Soon our history books will begin with the year of the birth of the great man, take my word for it. Children of the future would only know of the ‘farmers’ revolution’ headed by the Crown Prince and so on…

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  16. A dynasty that thinks the country is their fiefdom and a political class that is too eager to please.

    Did you see the pictures of Shankar Rao rolling on the floor, praying for madame’s recovery! Made me sick…

    And Zephyr you were spitting fire in this post – loved your all new fiery avatar.

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    1. Did he now? Please send me the link if you have it 😀 It is a shame that in this country ‘loyalty’ to THE FAMILY is the only criterion for a ministerial berth or some plum post. So what if a corrupt man is removed from his state? He can always be accommodated in the Centre, thank you! My blood is still boiling and so the fiery post.

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  17. i must say u crib well 😉

    true, to think that writers like Premchand & a dozen other ppl who made a difference to the cultural space of this nation are easily forgotten is sad

    running to d rajiv gandi institue for mental diseases — hahahha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sujatha! Didn’t I say nagging is an art? 😀 I must tell you that the name and surname are coming out of my ears, nose and eyes…Bah

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    2. parijat shukla · · Reply

      last sentence 🙂 🙂

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  18. I can feel the same anguish as you do. Btw did you consider that this could be a family business venture. Rajiv gets the fancy lights, somebody in Italy gets the fancy money! Nevertheless, what I find most disturbing is that these two-faced buffoons share their surname, unfortunately, with the father of the nation who preached the importance of austerity to one and all, to the extent of being ridiculous enough to try and brave the English winters in his dhoti! Sad state of affairs, really.
    I hope I’m not around when “Rahul Gandhi…”-like sounding landmarks are established!

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    1. Austerity? what is that? If the PM could get his heart surgery in AIIMS, why not her ladyship? Who gave her the authority to blow up tax payers money in a US hospital for whatever mystery ailment she is suffering from? Actually, we should be thankful that the pavement dwellers and slum dwellers would get light from Veer Bhoomi. That is probably the only chance they would get some light, both literally and figuratively. You certainly will be around for a rash of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi landmarks. Jai Hind!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Its sickening…and someone must have made money on those Italian lights….

    We live in Sonia land and Rajiv desh…
    Premchand will not get any respect but we might have a road named after Shri Digvijay Singh.

    I live near Subhash Chowk and the stone at the roundabout with Netajis name and picture is disgraced with paan stains.

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    1. The worst part is that we don’t have any viable alternative save a bunch of jokers calling themselves the Opposition. In this land of the new Gandhis, the ones with more moolah will rule the roost. I am thankful that it is only paan and nothing worse. The ones desecrating the name wouldn’t even know who Subhash is. As I said, it would be all a blur of Gandhis in a few more years — one branch of the Gandhis, that is. The other branch is condemned to the back alleys.

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  20. dynasty rules!
    tragic!

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    1. No, it is more like a business — a family business with the faithful munshi and ramu kaka and all. No prizes for guessing who don these roles 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. parijat shukla · · Reply

        Ramu kaka 🙂

        Like

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