City Life – Place Names, Around Town
No small wonder.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Time passes. Places are transformed. Something routine in timeless cities like Delhi/Dilli/Indraprastha/Khandavprastha. This year the Mughal Gardens in Rashtrapati Bhawan (formerly the Viceroy’s House) has been rechristened Amrit Udyan. Here’s a list of few of the many, many places in the Delhi region that met the same treatment, sometimes more than once.
Gurugram, earlier Gurgaon
An entire city had its name changed in 2016 when Gurgaon was turned into Gurugram, a nod to the belief that the place originated as a village given by the Pandavas as gurudakshina to Guru Dronacharya. The city also has Dronacharya Government College on the prosaically named New Railway Road, and it continues to have a village called Gurgaon.
Kartavya Path, earlier Rajpath, earlier Kingsway
Site of the Republic Day parade. King George V’s statue was a landmark, apart from the India Gate memorial. The statue was removed after our azadi. Re-renamed last year as Kartavya Path, the path of duty, in time for the opening of the redeveloped Central Vista. Freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose’s statue is the new landmark.
Bangla Sahib Marg, earlier Baird Road
Named after General David Baird, the subject of the 1839 painting General Sir David Baird Discovering The Body Of Sultan Tippoo Sahib After Having Captured Seringapatam (4 May 1799), by David Wilkie. Present name comes from a gurdwara here.
Subramania Bharti Marg, earlier Cornwallis Road
Named after a British governor general. Renamed after an early 20th century Tamil poet, whose statue is a short walk away from the hoity-toity Sujan Singh Park.
Amrita Shergil Marg, earlier Ratendone Road
Runs alongside Lodhi Gardens, which was formerly Lady Willingdon Park. The road was named after her son, the marquis of Ratendone. Renamed after Amrita Sher-Gil, the painter who died at 28. Delhi’s most exclusive neighbourhood. Much loved for its summertime amaltas bloom.
Tilak Marg, earlier Hardinge Avenue
Was named after a British viceroy who served in India during the historic Delhi Durbar in 1911, when the capital was shifted from Kolkata. Renamed after freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Dr B.R. Ambedkar lived here as the country’s first law minister.
Mandir Marg, earlier Reading Road
Lord Reading, or Rufus Daniel Isaacs, was British India’s only Jewish viceroy. Current name comes from the iconic Laxmi Narayan Temple, aka Birla Mandir.
Swami Shradhanand Marg, earlier Garstin Bastion Road
Built by the British in the 19th century as part of a series of bastioned fronts for the defence of Delhi, it is today a red-light district, and also a market for toilet fittings. Swami Shraddhanand was a social reformer—his statue in Chandni Chowk replaced Queen Victoria’s.
Carterpuri, earlier Daulatpur Nasirabad
A sleepy village in Gurugram is briefly visited by US President Jimmy Carter in 1978. And Daulatpur Nasirabad became Carterpuri (see photo).