Even as Bharatiya Janata Party is yet to form the government in Uttar Pradesh after a historic win, some of the newly elected MLAs have already started making their proposals to be tabled in the first session of the Legislative Assembly. This one proposal, however, could trigger a controversy. According to a report in The Indian Express, Brijesh Singh, a BJP MLA from Deoband, wants to rename his constituency as ‘Dev Vrand’. Reason: Singh says the town is more famous for its links to the Maharabharat than Darul Uloom Deoband, the Islamic school know as the birthplace of the Deobandi Islamic movement.
“Deoband is just a perception as this town is always famous as Dev Vrand only. We have Mahabharat’s Rankhandi here and the five Pandavas have worshiped here in Dev Vrand. Even the village named as Jarwala is actually Yakshawala and is the same place where ‘Yaksha’ has questioned Yudhisthir,” Singh told the daily.
Renaming cities and roads have been one of the undeclared agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre. The government has not only renamed the 7 Race Course road, which hosts the Prime Minister’s residence, as ‘Lok Kalyan Marg’ but the National Capital’s Aurangzeb Road has also been renamed after Former President Late APJ Abdul Kalam. Before these changes, the BJP government in Haryana had renamed Gurgaon as ‘Gurugram’ which invited lot of jokes and ridicule on social media as well as from some public figures. If Singh has his way, Deoband may become Gurugram of Uttar Pradesh. However, it won’t just invite jokes, but some communal tensions as well.
Deoband is one of the five constituencies in Saharanpur district of the state. Around 65 per cent people living in Deoband are Muslims and it is home to one of the earliest Islamic revivalist movements in the country. During the polls, Singh defeated Majid Ali of BSP by 29,415 votes and got 1,02,000 votes from Deoband.
The Deobandi movement had started a decade after the First War of Independence in 1857 the British colonial rule. The centre was founded by Islamic scholar Shah Waliullah Dehlawi. The rationale behind the movement was that the downfall of the Mughal empire was a punishment meted out to the Muslim community for having strayed from the true path of Islam, reports IE. At present, Darul Uloom Deoband, the religious seminary created by the founders of the movement, propagates Islamic science and jurisprudence.