The Rajasthan government on Thursday formally notified the change of names of three villages, three days after the Union Home Ministry gave clearance to the proposal. From now on Miyon ka Bara village in Barmer district will be known as Mahesh Nagar, Narpada in Jalore district as Narpura and Ismailpur, which falls under Jhunjhunu district, has been renamed as Pichanwa Khurd. The rechristening of the three seemingly ‘Islamic-sounding’ names comes on the heels of the controversy surrounding the renaming of the Mughalsarai railway junction to Deen Dayal Upadhyay junction in Uttar Pradesh.
The Home Ministry had received the proposal from the Vasundhara Raje-led government early this year and after getting an approval from the agencies concerned gave a nod to rename the villages. Even though the government has not given any exact reason for the move, which comes just months ahead of Assembly elections, locals and officials have floated different versions for the decision. The opposition has accused the BJP government of polarising voters and trying to wedge a divide between two communities.
According to sources, the decision was taken after locals in these villages complained of the ‘Muslim-sounding’ names of their villages. For example, Miyon ka Bara, consisting of around 2,000 people, is a Hindu-majority village and only four families belong to the Muslim community. An official reportedly said locals had complained that young people in the village had stopped receiving marriage proposals from other neighbouring villages owing to the ‘Muslim-sounding’ name of the village.
However, BJP MLA from Siwana in Barmer, Hameersingh Bhayal, claimed that the demand to rename Miyon ka Bara was 10 years old and it was renamed Mahesh Nagar due to the presence of a Shiva deity in the village. “It has been named Mahesh Nagar due to the presence of Shiva in the village. Earlier too, this place was referred to as Mahesh Nagar but over a period of time, due to change in dialect and people migrating to the village, everyone started referring to it as Miyon ka Bara,” he said.
Former sarpanch Hanumant Singh has another theory as to how the village came to be called Miyon Ka Bara. “Till Independence, it was Mahesh Bara. But during settlement, the name was changed to Miyon Ka Bara. It has been renamed to Mahesh Nagar now,” he told ANI. The Home Ministry told the Parliament in March that it had received 27 proposals from different states requesting a change of names for various villages, towns and railway stations.
Courtesy: Indian Express