Modi government determined to erase colonial past

Renaming of Rajpath to Kartavya Path is just an instance, as many such initiatives have been taken in the past few years which show that the Centre is determined to erase the colonial past.

A new naval ensign, renaming Race Course Road as Lok Kalyan Marg, repealing of redundant colonial-era laws and the grand statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at the India Gate canopy are few such instances.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had talked about being free from every sign of slavery on Independence Day this year. He marked “an India free of colonial mindset” as one of the ‘Panch Pran’ for New India in Amrit Kaal.

Rajpath to Kartavya Path

In line with its intention of getting rid of any remnants of the colonial past, Narendra Modi has decided to rename the Rajpath and Central Vista lawns in the national capital as ‘Kartavya path’.

Rajpath is the Hindi word for ‘Kingsway’, which was given in honour of King George V. The decision to rename Rajpath and the Central Vista lawns as Kartavya Path gave the Modi government another boost in its effort to erase the images of the country’s colonial past.

The move comes ahead of the road’s reopening after redevelopment as part of the Central Vista Avenue. After nearly 20 months of development work, the Central Vista Avenue will be opened on September 8.

New naval ensign

On September 2, Modi unveiled the new ensign (‘Nishaan’) of the Indian Navy that he said has ‘removed the remaining traces of slavery and colonial past’ on the country’s warships by doing away with the St George’s cross. This move is befitting the rich Indian maritime heritage.

The cross of St George was removed from the Indian Navy’s ensign and replaced by the seal of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Renaming Race Course Road as Lok Kalyan Marg

The Prime Minister had announced his intention to abolish the images of the colonial era during his Independence Day speech on August 15. However, this process had already started in 2016 when the Race Course Road was renamed as Lok Kalyan Marg. The Prime Minister’s residence is located at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg.

Colonial-era laws repealed

Since 2014, the Modi government has repealed more than 1,500 old and obsolete laws, most of which were remnants of the British era.

Merger of Railway Budget with Union Budget

Breaking the 92-year-old tradition, the government had merged the Railway Budget with the Union Budget in 2017. The government has also done away with the colonial-era presentation of Budget on the last day of February. The budget is now presented on the first day of February.

Grand statue of Netaji at India Gate canopy

In January this year, Modi had inaugurated the hologram statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at India Gate. A statue will be installed soon in the canopy where the statue of King George V was earlier installed. It was removed in 1968.

Removing ‘Abide With Me’

During Republic Day this year, the ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony’s concluding piece ‘Abide With Me’ was replaced with Kavi Pradeep’s piece ‘Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon’. Earlier in 2015, the ceremony saw some major changes when Indian musical instruments sitar, santoor and tabla were added for the first time. The retreat was thus infused with an Indian flavour.

Merger of Amar Jawan Jyoti with National War Memorial

The Amar Jawan Jyoti, the ‘eternal flame’, was merged with the flame of the National War Memorial (NWM).

Renaming Andaman and Nicobar islands

In December 2018, Modi took a page out of Netaji’s book and renamed three islands of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago. Back in 1943, Bose had suggested that Andaman and Nicobar Islands be renamed as Shahid and Swaraj Dweep, respectively. In a tribute to the freedom fighter, Ross Island was renamed as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep, Neil Island as Shaheed Dweep and Havelock Island as Swaraj Dweep.

Other remnants of colonial past erased by the Modi government:

* In 2015, Aurangzeb Road was renamed as A.P.J Abdul Kalam Road

* In 2017, Dalhousie Road was renamed as Dara Shikoh Road.

* In 2018, Teen Murti Chowk was changed to Teen Murti Haifa Chowk

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