The Haryana government’s decision to rename Mewat as Nuh has received mixed response from locals and politicians in the district, situated in the foothills of the Aravallis, 60 kms south-west of Gurgaon.
While the debate on the move continues, people hope the new name will bring development for the district.
“Whatever the name, the district needs attention. People want development and this should be the focus,” said 65-year-old Gopi Chand Gehlot, an INLD leader and former deputy speaker of the Haryana assembly.
Mewat is spread over three assembly constituencies-- Nuh, Firozpur Jhirka and Punhana—and Muslims comprise 75% of its population, most of them being farmers.
Locals say Mewat depicts a perfect picture of government negligence.
A recent government survey revealed that Mewat, with a population of 10 lakh, is the least developed district of Haryana.
“The region needs state’s attention. No teacher wants to go to Mewat. There are not more than 3,000 teachers in the district,” said Ram Kishan who was instrumental in the opening of Mewat’s first women’s college at Salaheri in Nuh.
“Let us hope the new name brings some good luck for us,” said Naseem Ahmad, INLD MLA from Firozpur Jhirka.
Locals allege that every government that came to power in Haryana neglected the region.
“Everyone, the Congress and BJP, have neglected Mewat. Does the name even matter?” said 70-year-old Choudhary Shakrullah Khan from the district.
Some have welcomed the new name, saying that it comes with a ‘local touch’.
“Nuh gives a proper identity to the Meos of Haryana. Mewat is often referred to as a bigger geographical unit which covers three states-Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan,” said noted historian KC Yadav.
While making the announcement on Tuesday, the state government spokesman said that it was a geographical and cultural unit and not a town.
“People of the area and elected representatives had been demanding that the name of Mewat be changed to Nuh,” he said.
The headquarters of Mewat district is located at Nuh town.