Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Monday clarified that the state was not considering any proposal to rename the state capital’s Shimla as Shyamala, ANI reported. Thakur had said last week that the government would seek public opinion on the renaming.
“Let me make it clear that the government is not considering a proposal to rename Shimla as Shymala,” said Thakur on Monday. “We had received a suggestion to rename Shimla and it is our duty to hear all suggestions.” The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, through the Shimla District Administration, had submitted the name-changing proposal.
The chief minister’s comments came a day after state Health Minister Vipin Singh Parmar said the government may consider any proposal to rename Shimla. The historic names of many cities in different parts of the country have been changed, he added.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad state president Aman Puri told the Hindustan Times that sticking to names given by oppressors is a sign of mental slavery. “Changing names of town is a small but significant step,” he said. “The country had done away with several symbols of British rule after independence, but in Himachal, several names remain of the colonial time.”
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad also wants Dalhousie to be named after Subhas Chandra Bose and Nurpur town – which gets its name from Mughal empress Nur Jahan – to be named after 1857 mutiny leader Ram Singh Pathania.
However, the opposition Congress has criticised the move. Congress leader Anand Sharma on Monday said that any move to rename Shimla will be “absurd and totally unacceptable”. The city witnessed many historic events in the course of the freedom struggle and changing its name would be unjustified, he said.
In 2016, then Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh rejected the proposal to rename Shimla, saying the city was an internationally famous tourist destination. Shimla was declared the summer capital of British India in 1864. It retained the status till 1947.