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No more Brahmanwada, Maharwada — Maharashtra govt to change caste-based names of localities

Such localities and settlements within Maharashtra to now have names of historical leaders or ‘something else that is appropriate’.

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Mumbai: The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra plans to take up a massive exercise of changing all caste-based names of localities and settlements within the state to names of historical leaders or something else that is appropriate. 

The state cabinet unanimously passed the decision Wednesday and has instructed the state urban development and rural development departments to identify all such areas or settlements tagged by caste. 

The government will soon issue a government resolution in this regard, a state official said. 

“Some settlements in various cities and villages of Maharashtra have caste-based names such as Maharwada, Mangwada, Brahmanwada and so on. Names based on such caste divisions don’t suit our progressive state,” Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde said in a statement. “Considering this, to promote social harmony and a feeling of national unity, the social justice department sent a proposal to the state cabinet to change all such names to names of great leaders or appropriate names such as Samatanagar, Bhimnagar, Jyotinagar, Krantinagar and so on.”  

He added that NCP president Sharad Pawar had a few days ago expressed displeasure at such caste-based names, saying these are inappropriate in today’s times, following which Munde directed his department to draft a proposal to change these. 

Decision ahead of Ambedkar death anniversary

The decision comes ahead of Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s death anniversary on 6 December. Every year, lakhs of his followers from across Maharashtra travel to Mumbai to pay their respects to the leader at Chaityabhoomi, where his ashes are interred, close to Shivaji Park in Dadar. 

This year, however, with the state still grappling with Covid-19, the state government has decided not to allow any visitor to Chaityabhoomi or make arrangements for visitors at Shivaji Park. Instead, a Facebook Live link will be provided for people to pay homage. 

The decision to change caste-based locality names follows another decision of the previous Maharashtra government in September 2019 to omit the word ‘Dalit’ from all government correspondence and replace it with ‘scheduled castes’ or ‘neo-Buddhists’. 

This decision, implemented through a government resolution, was in keeping with a directive issued by President Ram Nath Kovind under Article 341 of the Constitution to replace the word ‘Dalit’ with ‘scheduled castes’ and ‘neo-Buddhists’ in all government transactions, records and certificates. 

Earlier, in 2011, the then Congress-NCP government had decided to change the name of ‘Dalit Vasti Sudhar Yojana’ to ‘Scheduled Caste and Neo-Buddhist Vasti Sudhar Yojana’. Similarly, in 2012, the state government decided to change the name of Dr Balasaheb Ambedkar Dalit Mitra Puraskar to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Samaj Bhushan Puraskar. 


Also read: ‘Not remote control or headmaster’, but Sharad Pawar’s clout has only grown in a year of MVA


 

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