Renaming spree does not spare Tagore

The Patna Municipal Corporation is said to be considering renaming the city’s main intersection, Kavi Guru Rabindra Chowk, after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The move has stoked a controversy in Bihar. The proposal is said to have been made by Mayor Sita Sahu of the BJP. The Empowered Standing Committee of the Corporation will discuss it at a meeting on Thursday. This landmark was named after Tagore in 2002 by the Rashtriya Janata Dal government led by Chief Minister Rabri Devi, following a demand by the State’s Bengali Association to commemorate of Tagore’s visit to Patna in 1936. The Nobel laureate visited the city and stayed at the Dak Bungalow along with his music troupe on March 16 and 17 that year. The troupe presented Chintrangada , a dance drama written by Tagore. Later, the Dak Bungalow was dismantled. Union Minister of State and BJP MP from Nawada Giriraj Singh had earlier demanded that the State government rename Bakhtiyarpur, home town of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, in Barh sub-division of Patna district. He had not suggested an alternative name. Bakhtiyarpur is believed to have been named after Bakhtiyar Khalji — General of the slave dynasty founder Qutbuddin Aibakm who was said to have plundered the ancient Nalanda and Vikramshila universities around AD 1193. But Mr. Singh’s demand was opposed by Janata Dal(U) leaders. Association protest The Bengali Association has opposed the move to rename the intersection. A delegation is likely to meet Mr. Kumar soon to apprise him of their objection. “Tagore has an international stature and Vajpayee was an illustrious son of India,” Shaibal Gupta, member-secretary of the Patna-based Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI), said. “If there is any move to rename the Dak Bungalow chowk, we’ll lodge our protest,” said RJD MLA Shakti Yadav.

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