General VK Singh Wants New Delhi's Akbar Road Renamed As Maharana Pratap Road

17/05/2016 8:24 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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NEW DELHI, INDIA - APRIL 25: V.K. Singh, Union Minister of State Development of North Eastern Region (Independent Charge), External Affairs, Overseas Indian Affairs General, after attending the first day of the second half of the budget session at the Parliament House, on April 25, 2016 in New Delhi, India. Rajya Sabha adjourned till Tuesday after uproar by the opposition over the Uttarakhand issue. Opposition raised slogans of 'Loktantra ki hatya bandh karo' (Stop the murder of democracy) in the House. The issue of imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand today echoed in Parliament with Congress members in both Houses storming the Well and party leader Mallikarjun Kharge staging a dharna in the Lok Sabha. (Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh has sent a letter to the Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu presenting a case for the New Delhi's Akbar Road, which happens to house the Congress headquarters, to be renamed as Maharana Pratap Road in honour of the Rajput king.

Calling Maharana Pratap of Mewar a ‘truly secular’ king whose army, which had Bhil and adivasi soldiers apart from men belonging to other religions and castes,was led by a Pathan, Singh wrote. “I do find that one historical personality that has motivated generations--Maharana Pratap--has not been given his due,” he said in the letter, according to a report in India Today.

New Delhi Municipal Council had last year renamed Aurangazeb Road to APJ Abdul Kalam Road in nod to the late former Indian president following requests from BJP leaders. The idea had come from many BJP supporters who dislike that important roads are named after Muslim emperors who once invaded India.

The retired general of the Indian Army praised the Rajput king for his substantial role in opposing the strong Mughal king Akbar and added that he was a ‘man of the masses,’ the India Today reported, quoting from the letter.

"In view of this, I would request you to honour this great son of India by naming the Akbar Road as Maharana Pratap Road or a suitably important road in the Lutyen's Zone in his name. This would provide recognition to his valour and spirit of secularism which makes our country great. I do feel that important personalities like Maharana Pratap and Chatrapati Shivaji deserve greater recognition than they have been given thus far," he said in the letter.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy seconded Singh’s views saying he felt that there was a need to recognise the ‘real heroes’ of the country.

"The General is absolutely right. There isn't a single road in New Delhi after Maharana Pratap, one of India's biggest heroes when it comes to love for motherland and sacrifice. He preferred to live in poverty in jungles but did not compromise on his principles and patriotism. But there are roads named after Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb,” the Rajya Sabha MP told India Today.

Last month, Gurgaon, the corporate hub of Haryana in the outskirts of Delhi, was renamed as Gurugram. Apart from Gurgaon, the largest city in Haryana, the neighbouring Mewat district was also rechristened as Nuh.

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