The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Saturday refused to change the name of “Bhangi Darwaza”, a gate dedicated in the memory of a sweeper who was sacrificed on the completion of the historic Mandu fort, situated 30 kilometres from Dhar city.
Social activist Dr Anand Rai had filed a PIL before the Indore bench of high court in Madhya Pradesh to change the name of the gate as it was derogatory to the community. He had also appealed for removal of the quote displayed at the gate as well as from the official website of the ASI, demanding action against officials concerned under the SC\ST Act of 1989 for allegedly maligning the community.
The ASI has argued that changing the name of the gate would amount to distortion of a historical fact.”
The high court had disposed off the petition and in its order dated December 16, 2015, asked the ASI to decide on the issue.
In a letter marked to petitioner Anand Rai, ASI director general Rakesh Tewari stated that following the high court order, a three-member committee was formed comprising two former superintending archaeologists of ASI and a former deputy director of state archaeology for further research on the name.
The committee in its report stated that the name of the gate has historical significance as a person of the particular profession\caste has made supreme sacrifice by laying out his life for the cause of the fort.
The letter added that the committee members also sought opinion of residents of Mandu and people of the same caste. “They (people of the community) did not show any objection or humiliation for the name of the gate. They felt proud that a person of their community sacrificed his life by after raising of the gate. The committee, therefore, recommended that no attempt should be made to change the name of the monument,” read the letter.
Mandu, with its beautiful buildings, is a popular tourist destination and dates back to the 6th century. It was once the summer capital of the Mughals. It is also famous for romantic liaisons between Muslim ruler Baz Bahadur and Hindu princess Rani Roopmati.