Jawahar vs Tiranga: Do Names Really Matter In India’s Politics?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the names for the landing sites of India’s moon missions, Chandrayaan-2 and Chandrayaan-3.
The site where Chandrayaan-3 landed will be called ShivShakti, the Chandrayaan-2 impact site will be known as ‘Tiranga’, and August 23 will be celebrated as National Space Day.
Following this announcement, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) criticized the Congress party, accusing them of prioritizing their own family.
BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawala tweeted that if the Congress party had been in power, they would not have sent Chandrayaan-2 and Chandrayaan-3 to the moon instead, the landing sites would have been named after Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
The BJP leader’s statement suggests that the BJP believes the Congress party prioritizes their own family over the interests of the country.
The BJP is using the naming of the moon landing sites as an opportunity to promote their agenda of putting India first, rather than their party or a family.
Following this news let’s shed light on the importance of political-biased names and their examples. We will also discuss whether names matter in a country’s politics or not for maintaining the legacies.
List of Names Based On Nehru & Gandhi Family
Here are the approximate numbers of items named after the mentioned individuals in India. Please note, these data have been collected by several journalists & news reports.
There has been no official survey done for this till date. Thus, there might be slight differences in the figures.
3,500+ Institutions & Organizations
Over 3,500 institutions and organizations named after Gandhi & Nehru family in India. Out of these, about 2,000 were named by the Congress or UPA governments, others were named by other UPA alliance governments, and local bodies.
● Jawaharlal Nehru: Around 50+
● Mahatma Gandhi: Around 15+
● Rajiv Gandhi: Around 10+
● Indira Gandhi: Around 20+
For example: Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development (RGNIYD), Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Technology (MGIT), Nehru Science Centre etc.
1,000+ Places, Cities & Roads
There are over 1,000 places named after Gandhi & Nehru family including cities, towns, villages, parks, airports, railway stations, and others. Some of them are following:
● Jawaharlal Nehru: Around 150+
● Mahatma Gandhi: Around 200+
● Rajiv Gandhi: Around 50+
● Indira Gandhi: Around 100+
For example, Indira Gandhi International Airport, Rajiv Chowk (metro station), Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Mahatma Gandhi Road (MG Road), Nehru Place (commercial and business area) etc.
There are more than 20 awards named after Gandhi & Nehru family. Some of them are listed below.
● Jawaharlal Nehru: 1 (Nehru Award for International Understanding)
● Mahatma Gandhi: 1 (Gandhi Peace Prize)
● Rajiv Gandhi: 1 (Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award)
● Indira Gandhi: 1 (Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament, and Development)
For example: Nehru Award for International Understanding, Gandhi Peace Prize, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament, and Development, Jawaharlal Nehru Award for Best Book on Science, Technology, and Environment etc.
400+ Government Projects
There are approximately more than 400 government projects named after the Nehru & Gandhi family, including sectors of education, health, agriculture, rural development, and infrastructure.
● Jawaharlal Nehru: Around 70+
● Mahatma Gandhi: Around 90+
● Rajiv Gandhi: Around 20+
● Indira Gandhi: Around 30+
For example, Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), Indira Awaas Yojana (housing scheme), Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (rural electrification scheme), Jawaharlal Nehru Port (Nhava Sheva) etc.
25+ Science Projects
● Jawaharlal Nehru: Around 10+
● Mahatma Gandhi: Around 5+
● Rajiv Gandhi: Around 5+
● Indira Gandhi: Around 5+
For example: Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB), Gandhi King Plaza & Science Museum, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Rural Industrialization (MGIRI) etc.
List of Names After BJP Leaders
There are only 50-70 such examples which are named after BJP leaders.
● Government projects: Around 14
● Awards: Around 10
● Institutions & organizations: Around 20
● Places, cities & roads: Around 25
● Science projects: 0
For example: Atal Tunnel, Deendayal Upadhyaya Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Airport, Narendra Modi Stadium, Sardar Patel Award etc.
BJP often chooses the patriotic names instead of their own leaders. There are several examples, some of them are listed here:
● Gaganyaan, Chandrayaan, Aditya-L1, Tiranga Point (On Moon)
● Vande Bharata Express, Tejas Express, Gatimaan Express
● Ayushman Bharat Yojana, Bharatmala Pariyojana, Gati Shakti Master Plan, National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), Digital India
● Vande Bharat Terminal, Smart Cities Mission (Dholera, Nagpur etc.)
● Rani Durgawati Airport, Rani Karnavati Flyover
● Alluri Sitarama Raju International Airport, Komaram Bheem International Airport
Unbiased Opinion: Do Names Really Matter In India’s Politics?
In India, some political parties name things after their own party leaders or their family members so that everyone understands that this is the strongest or most valuable party in the country. This influence extends not just within the country but throughout the whole world.
It’s acceptable to name a few things after former ministers, but no political party should be their family-biased. They should not forget other freedom fighters, athletes, scientists, and others prominent from their country.
Indian political parties should also refrain from using names after invaders, as they looted and harmed the country in the past. India is the only country that used to praise its invaders like the Mughals and the British.
Thus, such names must be changed and named after freedom fighters. No country should solely focus on one or two families. The names should be patriotic, as names represent the legacy and heritage of the country.