April 14, 2016

India - Hinduising names of existing cities: How Gurgaon became Gurugram - the name has been used for years by local members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

The Hindustan Times, New Delhi, 14 April 2016

Rashpal Singh letters@hindustantimes.com

Years in the making: How Gurgaon became Gurugram

GURGAON: The renaming of Gurgaon to Gurugram may have been a shock to its two million residents but the name has been used for years by local members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

It was always Gurugram and not Gurgaon for RSS. A signboard outside the Sector 12 office of the BJP’s ideological parent.

The RSS of fice ‘Madhav Bhawan’ at sector 12-A has used Gurugram in its address for a long time and Gurgaon’s deputy mayor Parminder Kataria admits he got the idea for Gurgaon’s new name from RSS branches.

“What is new in it? The area was named Gurugram and we have been using this name. In Sangh shakhas and meetings, we introduce ourselves as being from Gurugram. We always wanted the area to have its original name” Anil Kashyap, the Gurgaon district RSS chief, told HT.

Gurgaon changed its name to Gurugram on Tuesday with the district administration saying the land was given to Guru Dronacharya by his disciples as gurudakshina (teaching fee) in the Mahabharata era. Hence, it was known as Gurugram (teacher’s village). Kataria-led Gurugram Gaurav has been campaigning for the name change for two years.

Years in the making: How Gurgaon became Gurugram

From page 01 Gurugram Gaurav was launched in August 2014 after the Gurgaon municipal corporation (MCG) passed a resolution for a name change.

“After passing the resolution, we started a signature campaign and pitched in Surender Pal who acted as Dronacharya in the TV serial Mahabharata” said Kataria.

Always clad in saffron, Kataria said Gurugram represented the originality of the area and needed to be restored.

In March, Gurgaon deputy commissioner TL Satyaprakash wrote a letter to the finance commissioner (revenue) with representations he received from resident welfare associations and groups, including the Gurugram Gaurav.

Lokesh Ahuja, a representative of the resident welfare association of Sector 7-extension, said RWAs of old Gurgaon started discussions on renaming Gurgaon about three years ago. They sent representations to the district administration over the issue several times.

But opposition parties have criticised the name change, with Congress leader Ajay Singh Yadav saying the BJP government was using such handiworks to cover its lack of governance.

“Gurgaon has gained international repute now. Renaming it is just a ploy to divert attention of the public” he said.

Objecting to the word gram (village) in Gurugram, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said authorities should used the name Gurugaon as gaon (village) connects with local people.

Raising a similar issue, Bollywood actor Randeep Hooda tweeted, “Changing Gurgaon to Gurugram is attack on culture, dialect and history of Haryana. Gram is not our word. Why has this been done?”

“Gurg aon could also be renamed as Gurugaon” he said in another tweet.

Sanjay Colony resident Sardar Singh, 70, who served in the Gurgaon deputy commissioner’s office, remembered his father and grandfather using the name Gurugram.

“They used to call it Gurugaon, but I have never seen the name in official documents,” he said.