The decision of the Haryana government to rename Gurgaon, the millennium city, as Guru Gram is regressive, as well as absolutely uncalled for. It shows the present administration in extremely dim light and reflects badly on Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, whose limitations as an administrator have been detrimental to the Bharatiya Janata Party, which swept the Assembly polls for the first time on its own steam, thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
People in Haryana actually voted for Modi as they did in many of the other states. Therefore, the Prime Minister must step in and stop the Haryana government from going ahead with this skewed scheme of rechristening Gurgaon, instead of focusing on how to improve the infrastructure to make it even a bigger destination for foreign investment. Modi has been synonymous with development and this single act of the state government is negation of what the Prime Minister stands for.
The perplexing matter: where was the need of renaming the city? The entire exercise involves immense expenditure and needless semantics in switching the name of a place that has come to be recognised as a manufacturing hub in North India. Imagine the horrendous experiences the common man would have to go through in getting his ration card, voter ID, passport, Aadhaar card, property papers, stationery, etc., altered. The state would be immersed making the changes in various signages and government papers, when such energy should be spent on improving the condition of roads, streetlights, law and order as well as water and power situation.
This Tughlaqesque decision defies all logic and rationale. It, in a way, reminds old residents of what happened to Karna Lake whenever the late Bansi Lal would take over as the Chief Minister of Haryana. Bansi Lal was forever indebted to Governor B.N. Chakravarty for facilitating him to become the Chief Minister for the first time in the early 1970s. He thus would invariably, as a sign of his gratitude, christen the lake near Karnal as Chakravarty Lake. However, whenever, an alternate government headed by either Devi Lal or his son, Om Prakash Chautala or even Bhajan Lal would be formed, the lake would be again addressed as Karna Lake. Going by this precedent, the city may revert back to its original identity once the Khattar government completes its tenure and somebody else comes to power.
Citizens have been informed that by renaming the city, the BJP was paying its homage to Dronacharya, the Guru of the Kauravas and Pandavas in Mahabharata. Firstly, if that is the reason, even Gurgaon denotes that it was the village of the Guru. Thus by calling it as Guru Gram serves zilch purpose. In fact, there is no word such as Gram in Haryanvi and people feel more comfortable addressing their village as gaon instead of gram. Secondly, Guru Dronacharya was an eminent teacher of martial arts but even in Mahabharata, he comes across as a man who is short on human values. He does not protest when Draupadi is disrobed on the orders of Duryodhan by his brother Dushasan. He chooses to side with the Kauravas when Lord Krishna motivates the Pandavas to fight for their right and truth. Earlier, he comes across as a jealous unforgiving guru when he discovers that Eklavya, the prince of the Nishadha and the son of Hiranyadhanus, who is a tribal, had acquired excellence as an archer far above that of his favourite disciple Arjun.
He is stunned when Eklavya informs him that he attained perfection in archery by practising before a statue of Dronacharya since the guru had declined to take him under his wings. He thus forces Eklavya to honour the guru dakshina tradition and demands him to cut off his right thumb as his offering. This goes against the very grain of the guru genre, which holds the guru to be Godlike and transgresses the sanctity of the guru-shishya relationship.
Dronacharya also earns Lord Krishna’s ire for his negative role. During the battle, Krishna finds a way of humbling the guru when he comes with the canard that “Ashwathama is dead”, thus creating an illusion in the guru’s mind that it is his son, also named Ashwathama who has been killed while the fact was that it was an elephant. Unable to accept the battlefield grapevine, Dronacharya looks towards always truthful Yudhishtira to authenticate the news and after seeing his assenting nod loses control of his senses. This is enough for a Pandava warrior to behead him thus ending his role on the battlefield.
Hence, the Haryana government’s desire to honour a spiteful and jealous guru, who sides against the forces of truth does not speak well at all regarding the reasoning of those who helped in arriving at this controversial decision. Modi being a pragmatic administrator must stop the implementation of this unrealistic, time consuming and financially unviable exercise. He should instead direct his colleagues in the party to concentrate more on development and good governance, the two planks that brought the BJP to power both at the Centre and in several states. The country needs to march forward and not fast-track to a bygone era. At this rate, some maverick may ask Air India to be renamed as Uran Khatola airlines. We must respect our heritage and culture, but at the same time work towards securing a better future. Between us.