After Allahabad became Prayagraj, the transition is making its presence felt on the ground. Two weeks ago, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had passed an order effecting the name change saying his government was correcting a mistake. The boards at the office of the district magistrate and UP police chief have been changed, and some police vehicles already feature the new name.
But views are sharply divided over the move at the city's prestigious Allahabad University, especially at its history department. The BJP government says an ancient city that existed at the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers was renamed Allahabad by the Mughal emperor Akbar. Historians say Prayag was never a city, but only a pilgrimage site near the confluence.
"Basically, it is as good as uprooting your cultural roots. Uprooting you from your base. If you call it Prayagraj, it does not drill sense into me. You are taking away the spirit of the city... ethos of the city," says Herambh Chaturvedi, professor of history at the Allahabad University.
But Atul Kumar Tiwari, a research scholar in the same department thinks it is a good decision. "For many centuries, the Sangam has been known as Prayagraj and many governments deliberated on this but did nothing."
Will the city be ready for the Aardh Kumbh in January next year, that's the question on everybody's mind in the city. The UP government, which is planning grand celebrations, says projects worth over Rs 4,000 crore have been initiated across Allahabad and in the sangam area. In contrast, the government claims, the Akhilesh Yadav government spent just over Rs 1,000 crore on the Maha Kumbh in 2013.
Roads are being widened, street lights have been installed and drainage system is being expanded in preparations for the big event.
The latest deadline to complete the work, extended once before, is November 30. But even BJP supporters like Mahant Narendra Giri of the All India Akhara Parishad, who played a pivotal role in renaming the city, say they aren't sure the government can meet the deadline.
"I believe it's all in God's hands now. If all the work is done by the end of this month, then Prayagraj will be like heaven else it will become a hell. The name of this place was Prayagraj. We haven't changed anything, we just restored its name," says Mr Giri.
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