The political map of India has not been the same throughout the country’s history. It has evolved over time and has undergone a number of changes ever since Independence from the British colonial rule. A quick recap of some of these changes is worth recalling.
Just after independence, the princely states were given three options to either join India or Pakistan or remain independent, most of which chose to join India. The constitution that was framed in 1950 classified the states into four parts, and there were a total of 29 states. But this random arrangement of states and problems faced by people in communicating with each other led to vociferous demands from various sections for rearrangement of states on linguistic basis. Since then many states have been created from existing states on the basis of language or other cultural similarities. There are some territories like Goa, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu which have been acquired from Portugese rulers. Pondicherry on the other hand was a french territory before being acquired by India. A number of states have been formed over the years with the latest addition being Telangana in the year 2014.
Not just for the reorganization of states, there have been ever growing demands for the change of names of states and many cities. Mumbai, Chennai, Odisha, Kolkata are a few examples at hand. These names have been used by the local people since time immemorial, and were anglicized by the British colonialists. The locals blame them for distorting the original names of their native places and make demands for the restoration of the earlier names.
Recently, the corporate hub of India, Gurgaon was rechristened to Gurugram in order to satisfy local demands. There goes a legend that this village was given as guru dakshina to Guru Dronacharya by the Pandavas and came to be known as Gurugram since then. But with the passage of time and usage, it got distorted to Gurgaon. So, the people had been asking the government to make changes.
But what effect has this change really brought in the lives of people? The fact that such changes bring a sense of pride among the people regarding their mother tongue and culture cannot be overlooked. It also helps in getting rid of the British legacy of anglicized names which they changed to suit their pronunciation, besides doing justice to our past.
But many a times, political parties make it a part of their agenda in order to win regional elections. They are aware that promises to change the names or reverting back to the original names of the state or the cities will attract the local people, who will in turn vote in their favor. They distract people’s attention from other more important issues affecting the common man. And they end up voting for the wrong contender instead of the one working for the betterment of the society.
The daily lives of people remain unaffected many of whom continue to use the earlier names even after the change out of habit. Besides, it comes at a huge economic cost to the government which has to spend huge sums of money in changing the records, addresses and other signboards. The taxpayer’s money and the government’s time which could have been put to more constructive use by addressing other social and economic problems get diverted to make such unworthy changes.
Even after 68 years of independence, India is largely a developing country with millions of people living below the poverty line. Important issues like education, health , food security and many more have not yet got the required attention and with every budget, the money earmarked for them gets slashed. It is the duty of the government to look at the collective interest of the people and not just its own political interest while campaigning for the elections. Economic and social empowerment of the people for the development of the country is the need of the hour which should be addressed at the first instance.