I’m no E. J. Thribb, so I won’t write a poem.
Instead, I’ll confine myself to the bare facts.
Today, yet another deemed colonial vestige was obliterated from the Delhi landscape. Mr. Modi’s government is on a (metaphorical) cleaning up spree, wiping out names and concepts they do not like. And anything perceived to be “colonial” is right up there on the To Do List.
Thus it was that Rajpath, a rather grand road in the heart of Delhi, that runs from Rashtrapati Bhavan (the residence of the president) to India Gate, was renamed this morning.
Rajpath, formerly Kingsway, is now known as Kartavya Path. (That’ll be my Hindi word of the day, obvs.)
Tomorrow, Mr. Modi will inaugurate the refurbished, revamped, redesigned, reconstructed
Raj Path Kartavya Path.
Mr. Modi is free to do whatever he pleases.
His writ runs pretty unchallenged, to be honest, and I imagine there are loads of people who are thrilled at the name change, and equally thrilled that a statue of Mr. Bose will be unveiled tomorrow as well.
I fully understand wanting to throw off the shackles of colonialism.
Fully get it.
BUT…there’s always a “but”, ain’t there?…
I’m just surprised that the name change was only announced yesterday (or was it the day before?), and voted on today, a mere 24 hours before the grand inauguration tomorrow of all that revamping. Since the revamp and rebuilding have been going on for well over a year, they could’ve decided to change the name then, so we’d all have had time to get used to it.
Or perhaps that’s just me.
I also can’t help wondering whether the revamp included nice new “Rajpath” road signs…in which case they’ll already be redundant, won’t they?
Whatever has been written about this name change refers to Rajpath as a direct translation of the definitely colonial Kingsway, but the article in The Wire puts a rather different complexion on the name, which it translates as State Road.
I speak Hindi (tho’ I admit Kartavya is a new addition to my vocabulary) but even so, I double-checked the translation of “Raj” in good ol’ Wikipedia, and I quote:
“Raj in different contexts means “rule”, “king”, “ruler”, “emperor” or “royalty” and “power”…
Which makes the extract I shared above, with the State Road and People’s Road comparison, very interesting.
But the name change is a done deal, so that’s that.
Namaste Kartavya Path.
If mere mortals are actually allowed on this newly revamped road, I’m planning on running there this weekend, so I’ll tell you more then.
I’ll let our honourable Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture, Meenakshi Lekhi, have the last word: