- After Mughal Sarai station, UP to rename Allahabad to Prayagraj
- Chief Minister Adityanath had announced the move a few days ago
- Memes show Mr Adityanath on phone with celebrities, giving them new names
A renaming spree in Uttar Pradesh - first with the iconic railway station Mughal Sarai and now with the historic city of Allahabad - has drawn mixed reactions on social media. Some have welcomed the moves, contending that the names reflect the desires of most of the state's residents and are efforts at reclaiming overwritten identities. Others, however, have criticised them as blatant majoritarianism and overwriting established historical nomenclature. Nevertheless, for jokes and memes, the name changes set just months apart, have been a boon.
With the Uttar Pradesh cabinet reportedly approving the name Prayagraj for Allahabad, christened by Mughal emperor Akbar in 1575 as "Illahabad" or "abode of God", social media and instant messaging groups burst into frenzied activity. Tied to the hashtag #AajSeTumharaNaam, internet users came out on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp with images of Yogi Adityanath on the phone with celebrities as he gives them new names.
Taking India by storm these! pic.twitter.com/9eqT8PMBy9- Indroneil B Biswas (@indroneilbiswas) October 19, 2018
However, one meme featuring actor Rajinikanth, celebrated in Indian internet folklore as an insuperable legend, appeared to turn the tables on Mr Adityanath.
Mr Adityanath, 46, had announced Allahabad's impending name change earlier this week. "It might be the wish of many people that Allahabad can be renamed Prayagraj. It will be a very good message. If everyone agrees, we should know this city as Prayagraj and it can be a good start," the BJP leader said on Staurday.
Allahabad, a historic city with a deep association with the freedom struggle, features the confluence of the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati.
Reports suggest Yogi Adityanath wants a new name in place before the Kumbha Mela, a mega spiritual gathering that draws gurus, seers and others from across the nation to Allahabad.
Less than three months ago, the UP government renamed the Mughalsarai Railway station, another historic spot, after BJP icon Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.