Sanskrit replaces Urdu; new names for Dehradun, Rishikesh railway stations stir controversy

The move to have Sanskrit names for railway stations in Uttarakhand reportedly started when a local BJP leader wrote to railway officials asking why the names on signboards were not in Sanskrit

Sanskrit replaces Urdu; new names for Dehradun, Rishikesh railway stations stir controversy
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NH Political Bureau

With the aim to “promote Sanskrit” in BJP-ruled Uttarakhand, the Railways ministry has decided to replace Urdu name of the prominent railway stations with Sanskrit ones, renaming Dehradun as Dehradunam and Rishikesh as Rishikesham.

The signboards which have names of railway stations written in Hindi, English and Urdu will now be written in Hindi, English and Sanskrit only. Urdu has been dropped from the manual.

However, when a controversy erupted over the move, the signboard at Dehradun station was changed again and its Urdu name was rewritten.

Earlier board at Dehradun station
Earlier board at Dehradun station

Prior to it, name of the Dehradun railway station was written in Sanskrit as Dehradunam, along with Hindi and English, when the station re-opened for public after three months.

Similarly, name for Doiwala railway station, also in Dehradun, has been written “Doiwalah” and Rishikesh has been renamed as “Yog Nagari Rishikeshah”.

As per the local media, the move to have a Sanskrit name for the railway stations in Uttarakhand started when a local BJP leader wrote to railway officials in January asking why the names of the places on railway signboards were not in Sanskrit which is the second official language of the state.

According to railway manual, it is mandatory to have names of places on such boards in the second official language.

Speaking on the name of Dehradun railway station being written in Sanskrit, Rekha Sharma, senior divisional commercial manager Moradabad railway division, which manages the stations falling under Garhwal region, told the local media, “The name was written by the construction agency which was renovating the station. They had put up a board with the name written in Sanskrit. The board was removed as soon as the matter came to light.”

“The state government has to provide us with how the names of the railway stations are to be written in Sanskrit. Only then we would be writing to the railway headquarter to clarify on that fact of adding a fourth language on station signboards,” Sharma was quoted as saying by the media.

However, a senior railway official from Kathgodam railway station in Nainital said, “Even though official orders have not been received, preparations are afoot to write names of stations in Sanskrit.”

Meanwhile, the Sanskrit School-Colleges Teachers’ Committee submitted a memorandum to Dehradun station director on Wednesday protesting against removing Sanskrit name from Dehradun station signboard.

It may be recalled that in 2010, the-then chief minister of Uttarakhand, Ramesh Pokhriyal who is currently serving as Union HRD minister, gave Sanskrit the status of second official language of the state.

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