Mumbai: By all accounts, this is the onset of the silly season, marked by mindless renaming of cities and building of statues. So, there was a good reason for the word Ram to trend in the city circuit on Friday. After Oshiwara was renamed Ram Mandir, there is a demand to rename Malabar Hill as Ram Nagri. But the rechristening is not to be confused with the yesteryear Amol Palekar-Suhasini Mulay starrer ‘Ramnagri’, in which Palekar played a barber. Malabar Hill is far too upmarket for that.
Shiv Sena corporator Dilip Lande was the one who ‘fired the barbed arrow’ on Friday, tabling a proposal which demanded renaming of Mumbai’s plush Malabar Hill to Ram Nagri. This proposal, in all seriousness, will be tabled in the civic body meeting to be held in a week. Mythology is on the side of the Sena.
According to Lande, the legend goes, “when Ram and Laxman had to set off to Lanka in search of Sita during their 14-year exile, they took a break and rested awhile at Malabar Hills. That is why this area should be named after Lord Rama.” Opposition has cried foul over this proposal and accused the ruling BJP and the Sena of covering up their non-performance by resorting to such gimmickry.“The Sena has ruled the BMC for 20 years but not done any good work for the public.
They have been named in land scams and believe only Lord Ram can save them. There seems to be a one-upmanship between the BJP and the Sena to prove which one is the bigger bhakt of Ram,” said Congress corporator Ravi Raja. On the issue of renaming the Malabar Hill, Rais Shaikh, group leader of Samajwadi Party, slammed the Sena, saying it would oppose the proposal in the general body meeting.
They have accused the Sena of playing with people’s sentiments in the name of Ram. “They are using the name of the Lord for a wrong cause. The Sena has failed the city and its people, so now they are covering up their lacklustre performance by playing with popular sentiment,” said Shaikh. Malabar Hill residents are critical of this proposal and Raju Solanki, a leading jeweller, said, “We do not want the name of Malabar Hill to be changed, and will not allow it. Malabar Hill is a historical name in itself and we should be proud of it.”