NEW DELHI: The newly elected BJP MLA from Deoband, Brijesh Singh, has said he will ensure that the new government in the state changes the name of the town to Deovrind, The Hindu reported on Friday.
Mr Singh said Deoband should be known for its historical association with Mahabharata and not the Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband.
Talking to The Hindu on the phone from Lucknow, Mr Singh said the proposal to change the name of the town to restore its historical glory would be the first proposal he would move in the state assembly after formation of the government.
Several Hindutva groups like the Bajrang Dal had, in the past, raised the issue of renaming Deoband to Deovrind, but this is the first time it is being proposed by an MLA.
“Deoband is quite sacred for Hindus because of its historical association with Mahabharata. Pandavas visited Deoband when they were in exile and living incognito. Their visit to the town also led to the foundation of the famous temple here,” Mr Singh said. “The historical association of Deoband with the Mahabharata needs to be highlighted and reinforced in public memory. It would be unfair if Deoband is known and talked about only as a place where Darul Uloom Deoband is located,” added the BJP MLA.
Mr Singh insisted that several ancient structures were found in villages such as Rankhandi, Jakhwala and Jarauda Panda, pointing towards their association with the Mahabharata.
“This is not a new proposal but in the past also many people raised this. Everyone knows how centuries-old structures were found in villages such as Rankhandi, Jakhwala and Jarauda Panda,” added Mr Singh, who is the first BJP candidate to have won from the constituency in the past 21 years.
Deoband is one of the five assembly segments of Saharanpur, which the BJP swept, defying conventional wisdom as Muslims make up 30 per cent of Deoband’s electorate.
Mr Singh said he had “nothing against Darul Uloom Deoband which is like those old religious Sanskrit schools. In its current form the town stands to symbolise only the Islamic seminary whereas historically Deovrind represented much more than that. I only want this town to get that identity back”.
Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2017