Allahabad As Prayag: Why India Should Correct Names Of Its Cities


It refers to justified demand of UP minister Siddharthanth Singh to rename Kumbh-city Allahabad as Prayag. Allahabad was the distorted name given city to Mughal emperors having invaded India in pre-British era. Even now Allahabad is also known as Prayag. Dual naming of cities causing unnecessary confusion is also not proper. Study should be made about ‘Kanpur’ distorted from ‘Kanhapur’ and ‘Lucknow’ distorted from ‘Lakshmanpur’. It is a historic fact that Lucknow was established by Lakshman, brother of Lord Rama like even Pakistan government acknowledging the fact that Lahore was established by Luv, elder son of Lord Rama. A UP town Faridpur has its railway-station named as Pitamberpur creating confusion.

Even though distorted spellings of many Indian cities have since been corrected like ‘Jalandhar’ from ‘Jullundur’ and ‘Shimla’ from ‘Simla’. But lot more remains to be done. Distorted spelling of country-capital Delhi should also be rectified as ‘Dehli’ which means ‘Entrance’. Already neighbouring countries like China and Bangladesh have changed spellings of their capital cities from earlier Peking and Dacca to Beijing and Dhaka respectively. Though spellings of many other cities like Jalandhar, Shimla are already changed, Bareilly and Meerut still remain to be re-spelt.

 Union Government should also adopt single name Bharat for the country abolishing British given name as India, in tune with unanimous resolution once passed by UP state-assembly. Otherwise, also it is senseless to have two names for a country. Countries like Shrilanka and Myanmar have already done away with such British legacy when these countries are no more known as Ceylon and Burma.  

Students and others born much after India got independence are often confused why a state in eastern part of the country is named as West Bengal. Only old-timers know that since western part of pre-independence undivided Bengal came to India, the state was named as West Bengal, and East Bengal turned into East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). To remove unnecessary confusion from minds of students and others, prefix West should be removed from name of the state. Even name Pashchimbanga once suggested by the state-government is not correct because again it has Hindi pre-fix Pashchim in the suggested name. To avoid abbreviations like UP for Uttar Pradesh, MP for Madhya Pradesh etc, states should be named in single word.

Madhu Agrawal

New Delhi, 

[email protected]


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