Can someone change the name of his father? Can a person give one name to his grandmother, which another person later on changes to something else? If that is not possible or permissible, how is it that the various state governments in India have been changing names of cities in a very casual manner? So Bombay has been made Mumbai and Madras renamed as Chennai. Even the communists followed the name changing saga by making Calcutta only Kolkata. Connaught Place in Delhi has been re-christined as Rajiv Chowk. The game of name changing has been taken to ludicrous heights in Uttar Pradesh (UP), where names of some 8 districts were changed by the previous government. Many of these were centuries old names like Hathras or Amroha. They became almost metaphorical and were associated with renowned poets or businesses or other specialists. The new government has restored the old names. Yet there is no guarantee that this ugly practice of changing names will come to an end. The names of cities, towns and villages are historic treasures. They are associated with history. They are heritage. They have the same value as the traditional knowledge. The barbarity of the brute majority of a legislature for simply 5 years should not be allowed to transgress to the extent of changing history, heritage or legacy. No political party, no legislature acquires any right to violate this inviolable principle. Names are changed only by an aggressor after vanquishing a country. The democratically elected assemblies or parliament with a mandate for a limited term of just 5 years being no aggressor, have no business to commit such transgressions. Since they behave autocratic at times, there is an urgent need for a legislation to prohibit change of names of places by any authority, including the legislature. If the political authority is capable of doing so, it must establish new cities with new names. It has no legitimate sanction to fiddle with old names.
Since it is a matter of heritage, the United Nations comes in the picture. It is already implementing several programmes for heritage. It should consider drawing up an appropriate convention against changing names of old cities and other places. Human history can not be allowed to be destroyed by maniacs!