Karimnagar to Karinagar: How BJP is using name politics to win Telangana

By CR Gowri Shanker  Published on  19 Dec 2022 5:45 AM GMT
Karimnagar to Karinagar: How BJP is using name politics to win Telangana

Hyderabad, Dec 15: What's in a name? A lot, when political parties adopt a multi-pronged approach including change of the names of towns and cities to win a State. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is eyeing Telangana, is now on a name-changing spree like other ruling parties across the country.

Though the change of names of places has been through ages based on rulers, BJP has focused mostly on Mughal, Asaf Jahi, and British-era names. Though the process has begun a long time ago beginning with the announcement of the proposed change of name of Hyderabad city into Bhagyanagar, which it religiously uses during Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations and other events, it is now adding more towns and cities in its kitty.

An innocuous change of name in a recent full-page ad of BJP from Karimnagar to "Karinagar" in Telangana has created a stir in political circles and among locals. "Chalo Karinagar: Praja Sangrama Yatra" of BJP with photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and National BJP President J P Nadda in Karimnagar sorry Karinagar is the cynosure of all eyes.

At first look, it looks like a spelling mistake, but BJP leaders assert, it's the beginning of the restoration of original names. Old timers of Karimnagar assert that it used to be called "Karinagar" "Elagandula" or "Elgandal," but over some time during Asaf Jahi rule Karimnagar has come into effect. Before Kakatiyas, during the time of Chalukyas, it was known as Sabbinadu with Vemulawada as its Capital City of it.


During Nizam's rule, Karimnagar was named for a village by Elgandala Qiladar Syed Karimuddin. Karimnagar is known for agro-industries and is also called the "City of granites." It is the fifth largest city in Telangana State.

BJP State president Bandi Sanjay has announced that the party would change the name of Hyderabad to Bhagyanagar and Bhainsa to Mahisha among others if they come to power in Telangana.

BJP leaders claim the Adelli Temple deity was popularly called "Mahisha" which was turned into "Bhainsa". Bhainsa is in the Nirmal District of Telangana State bordering Maharashtra. It is one of the most sensitive towns, where communal clashes are quite frequent.

While BJP leaders call Hyderabad "Bhagyanagar" more so during Ganesh Utsav, it caught everyone's attention and gave a stamp of approval to saffron brigade dreams when Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to Hyderabad as "Bhagyanagar" while addressing a national executive meeting here recently. It was also called Bhagnagar, City of Gardens.

Modi said, "Hyderabad is Bhagyanagar, which is of significance for all of us. It was in Bhagynagar that freedom fighter Sardar Vallabhai Patel laid the foundation of a unified India and coined `Ek Bharat."

Bhagynagar binge got a shot in the arm during the 2020 Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections when Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who offered prayers at the famed and disputed Bhagyalaxmi Temple adjacent to Charminagar, asked citizens to vote for BJP to transform Hyderabad into Bhagyanagar. Rulers in various eras changed the names of places from time to time in the State and country.

From Sikandrabad, named after Mir Akbar Ali Khan Sikander Jah (1803-1829), the third Nizam of the Asaf Jahi dynasty, it assumed the anglicized name of Secunderabad, the preserve of the Army in the British Raj. It was also called Lashkar. The old name is said to be Ulwul!

Medak, during the Kakatiya era, was called Methukudurgam, meaning fort of cooked rice grains, Mahabubnagar, formerly Palamur, was changed to Mahabubnagar after Mir Mahbub Ali Khan, the 6th Nizam of Hyderabad.

Khammam, the place got its name from the huge vertical rock on which the Narasimha Swamy temple stands. The rock was called Khamba, which means pillar, and the place was initially called "Kambam Mettu" which later got corrupted to Khammam Mettu and later Khammam.

Famed ancient town of Warangal Ekasila Nagaram, meaning the city built on a single stone, and in the local parlance was called Orugallu (One Stone), which later became Warangal. Adilabad was named after the ruler of Bijapur, Mohammed Adil Shah, which was part of the Adil Shahi kingdom for some time, Nizamabad's original name was Indur, from Indrapura, as it was founded during the reign of Rashtrakuta ruler, Indra III. It was renamed Nizamabad after the founder of the Asaf Jah dynasty, Nizam-Ul-Mulk.

BJP's name-changing spree is not just confined to Telangana where it is eyeing power but spread across the country more so in the national capital New Delhi. Even other ruling and opposition political parties in the country are in the name-changing game, which has become an emotional and pride issue!

Before stepping down, Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra changed the names of two prominent cities—Aurangabad to Shambhaji Nagar and Osmanabad to Dharashiv which was denounced by MIM supremo Asaduddin Owaisi.

BJP leadership is not only fighting elections on development, progress, and corruption-free rule but also adding a deadly combination of "Hindutva, Hindu, Hindi" and Bharatiya names in its adventure in various states.

Prominent among the BJP leaders in the name-changing spree is Yogi Adityanath, who changed Faizabad to Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, where a massive Lord Rama Temple is coming up.

Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta demanded that the names of 40 villages be changed. It's not correct to blame or accuse BJP of changing the names of cities and towns. Previous governments too had played to gallery and changed names of major places including some of the British era.

Bombay to Mumbai, Trivandrum to Thiruvanthapuram, Poona to Pune, Waltair to Visakhapatnam, Allahabad to Prayagraj, Pondicherry to Puducherry, Madras to Chennai, Gurgaon to Gurugram, Calcutta to Kolkata, Benarus to Varanasi, Bangalore to Bengaluru, "Rajahmundry" to "Rajamahendravaram" etc.

The Centre has approved proposals to rename cities and towns in the last five years, the Union home ministry told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. It includes plans to rename West Bengal 'Bangla'. In 2018, Jharkhand's town "Nagar Untari" name was changed to Shri Banshidhar Nagar. During the same year, Madhya Pradesh Nagar panchayat town, "Birsinghpur Pali" name was changed to "Maa Birasini Dham", "Hoshangabad Nagar" name was changed to Narmadapuram and "Babai" was changed to "Makhan Nagar.

In 2022, "Shri Hargobindpur" in Punjab was changed to "Shri Hargobindpur Sahib". The list goes on in the country, states, cities, towns, villages, and colonies!

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