Pune: Renaming is the rage. Taking a cue from Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Aditya-nath, the BJP and the Shiv Sena-led state government want to rename Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar and Osmanabad as Dharashiv. Swiftly catching up with the ruling dispensation, the Sambhaji Brigade has demanded that the name of Pune be changed to Jijapur, in honour of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s mother, Jijau.
Maratha leaders from the brigade have written to the state government to pursue this matter. The call for renaming Pune to Jijapur has come at a time when a faction of Maratha leaders recently floated a political outfit and the state government is yet to allocate the exact percentage of quota for the community.
“Pune is associated and identified with Jijau, mother of the Chhatrapati. Jijau had personally transformed this city. In 1630, after Adil Shah had ransacked Pune city, people were afraid to come and settle here. At that time, it was Jijau who believed in this city, nobody should forget this history,” said Santosh Shinde, district head of the Sambhaji Brigade.
Some Maratha leaders have, however, said renaming Pune is not a practical decision and, moreover, this demand is not new.
“Renaming Pune means erasing history and identity, which is not going to be easy with this government. This has been an old demand, which needs to be followed up diligently, by writing to the state and union governments and these leaders have not done so,” said Pravin Gaikwad, a Maratha leader.
Gaikwad pointed out the BJP government is using devious means to divide society, especially with elections round the corner. “They are deliberately changing the names of all cities with Muslim names. It is interesting that even though Narendra Modi was chief minister of Gujarat for 15 years, not once did he propose changing the name of Ahmedabad, which they now want to rename as Karnavati. This is politics of convenience,” said Gaikwad. Shinde further said that the BJP government has been formed by invoking the blessings of Chhatrapati Shivaji and he is confident that they will not reject this proposal.