‘Fingers pointed at 1 community’: SC junks plea to rename places | India News


NEW DELHI: Days after Aurangabad and Osmanabad were renamed Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar and Dharashiv respectively, the Supreme Court on Monday said attempts to erase the imprints of foreign invaders on cities and towns by rechristening them with their ancient identities was fraught with danger.
“Do you want to go back to the past, keep the issue alive and keep the country on the boil? Your fingers are pointed at one community. You must remember India is a secular country,” the apex court told petitioner Ashwini Upadhyaywho wanted the ministry of home affairs to set up a committee to restore the names of such cities.
Asking him not to dig up history in a bid to keep the present and future generations “prisoners of past”, Justices K M Joseph and B V Nagarathna said, “you want to bring a certain point of view on history… and create more disharmony.”
Dismissing his PIL, the judges told Upadhyay“We cannot wish away the invasions. But can’t we move forward and deal with the problems at hand?”
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Historical aberrations cannot haunt present and future generations of the nation to a point that succeeding generations become prisoners of the past. What is of the greatest importance for the country is the Preamble of the Constitution, which professes secularism and maintenance of harmony and fraternity between different sections. This alone will be true notions of national unity and bind the country together. Do you want to go back to the past, keep the issue alive and keep the country on the boil by pointing to a particular community? You must remember that India is a secular country, and this is a secular forum,” the SC bench said.
Upadhyay, the petitioner, gave a long list of cities named after Muslim invaders who are known in history to have indulged in mass killings and conversions of Hindus and demanded that the dignity of the ancient country of India, the right to freedom of religion, right to know of citizens and right to culture be restored by renaming them as per the references of the puranic texts and history.
Justice Joseph conceded that the petitioner has given certain facts which were not known to him but dismissed it as a certain point of view on history. “What we have learnt from history is that Akbar was trying to bring cohesion between different religious groups through Din-E-Elahi,” he said. Justice Nagarathna said, “Hinduism is a way of life, and it is free from bigotry.”
Justice Joseph said, “Hinduism is the greatest religion in terms of metaphysics. The height it reached through Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita is unequalled. No one could come anywhere near it. Do not belittle it. We must understand our greatness and be magnanimous. The world looked at India in the past and still looks up to it. I am a Christian, but I am equally fond of Hinduism and try to understand its greatness.”
When Upadhyay argued that even Shaktipeeths have been desecrated and renamed after barbaric Muslim invaders, the SC said, “That is a fact in India’s history. It is no secret that India remained under foreign rule. But what is the point in digging into the past? Do we not have other problems in hand? Can’t we move forward and deal with the problems at hand?”
The bench said, “India is embedded in the rule of law, secularism, and constitutionalism. Article 14 stands on a grand guarantee of the founding fathers to make the country a democracy, a Republic and involve all communities against discrimination by the state. It is important that the country moves forward. The directive principles and fundamental rights are two wheels of the governance chariot for progress of the country. All actions taken by the government must encompass all sections of the society.”
Upadhyay said Hindus have been reduced to minority in 200 of the 700-odd districts. “Hindus too have a right to practice and profess their religions. Why should they be forced to remember Mohammad Ghori, Ghazni and not remember their ancient history and culture through the names of cities by which they were known prior to invasions,” he asked.


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