Hindu priest forces railways to erase MP station’s name written in Urdu
The Western Railways was forced to erase from a signboard the name of the newly-built Chintaman Ganesh railway station in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain in Urdu on Wednesday night after a Hindu priest threatened agitation against the use of the language.
Mahamandaleshwar Acharya Shekhar of Avahan Akhada said it is just a start and railways should remove names written in Urdu from the signboards of railways stations named after Hindu gods and goddesses.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) backed Shekhar. “The signboards are to inform people or appease people. Why were the railways’ officials so adamant to write the name in Urdu? They just want to appease a section of people. They should respect the demand of saints,” said Madhya Pradesh BJP spokesman Rajnesh Agrawal, without elaborating what he meant by the appeasement and to whom.
Urdu, which originated in India in the 12th century, is one of the 22 scheduled languages included in the Constitution’s Eighth Schedule. A majority of its 70 million speakers live in India.
Opposition Congress leaders said they do not need a controversy over the issue. JP Dhanopia, a party spokesman, said he would not comment on Shekhar’s demand. “...Railways follow the norm of writing the names of stations on signboards in Hindi, Urdu, and English and in southern states in their regional languages. It has nothing new. So, people should not create controversy. Urdu is a rich language, and it should not be connected with any religion.”
Jitendra Kumar, a railways public relations officer, said the name was written in Urdu by mistake due to some communication gap. “We rectified our mistake by removing the name by yellow colour paint,” said Kumar.
The Western Railways has constructed the railway station six km from Ujjain along the route connecting Indore and Ujjain with Fatehabad. It has been named after a famous temple Chintaman Ganesh of the area, said Kumar.
Writer and poet Shyam Munshi said the railways should have behaved sensitively. “I am ashamed of it. Urdu and Hindi languages are like conjoint twin sisters and we cannot separate these two languages. It is unfortunate that people are trying to find out the religion of a language.” (With inputs from Anand Nigam in Ujjain)