New Delhi: A day after it was reported that the Uttar Pradesh Higher Education Services Commission (UPHESC) had changed the pen name of famous Urdu poet Akbar Allahabadi to “Akbar Prayagraj” on its website, the original name was restored, with the panel blaming a hack for the switch.
Syed Akbar Hussain, better known as Akbar Allahabadi, was a legendary Urdu poet who continues to be popular among modern readers.
The “About Allahabad” section of the Prayagraj-based panel’s website also reflected a similar change in the names of two other Urdu poets who used “Allahabadi” as a suffix to their names — Rashid Allahabadi was changed to “Rashid Prayagraj” and Tegh Allahabadi to “Tegh Prayagraj”.
Allahabad’s name was changed to Prayagraj by the Yogi Adityanath government in 2018.
While state Education Minister Dinesh Sharma had expressed ignorance about the change Tuesday and said the UPHESC was an autonomous body, the chairman of the panel, Ishwar Sharan Vishwakarma, said Wednesday that the website had been hacked and the “error has been rectified”.
Speaking to ThePrint, Vishwakarma said, “The error came to light on Tuesday and we were trying to figure out what happened, but it has come to light that the website was hacked. Someone deliberately changed the names of the poets and the error has now been rectified.”
He added that a police complaint has been registered with the cyber cell to investigate the matter and nab the culprits.
The name change on the website had sparked criticism.
Heramb Chaturvedi, a professor at Allahabad University, had told ThePrint Tuesday that “this was an act of disruption and shows pettiness…”. The professor also said changing the pen names of famous poets shows that “authorities have a skewed understanding of history”.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who is also a professor of history at Allahabad University, had tried to play it down by suggesting that “it can be a manual error because one cannot change a person’s pen name like that”.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)