Recently, state and local universities in BJP-ruled states have been renamed to those of lesser-known people or local heroes. This exercise has been conducted at 3 universities in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.
The universities are as follows:
- North Maharashtra University is now Kavayitri Bahinbai Chaudhari North Maharashtra University,
- Chhindwara University is Raja Shankar Shah University
- Allahabad State University is Prof. Rajendra Singh (Rajju Bhaiya) University
This is seen as an attempt to not only move away from the legacy of naming government institutions after the Gandhi-Nehru family but also as a way to connect with the local populace.
According to former UGC chairman, Sukhadeo Thorat, institutions should be named after careful consideration and only after those personalities who have contributed to society. He also said that it is mostly a political move and not related to academics.
It can be seen as a political movement in this sense: the Chhindwara University in Madhya Pradesh, which was renamed Raja Shankar Shah University, was established under the Kamal Nath government in 2019, and Chhidwara is also a stronghold of the former MP chief minister Kamal Nath.
Other examples of this include the change of Chattisgarh’s Bilaspur University to Atal Bihari Vajpayee University in September 2018 and Sikkim University in Gangtok to Khangchendzonga State University in December 2021. Both of these changes happened during the BJP’s rule in these states.
Name changes of universities however are neither limited to the BJP nor are new for educational institutions.
For example, Meerut University has renamed Chaudhary Charan Singh University in the 90s, and in 2014, Pune University’s name was changed to Savitribai Phule Pune University. The difference here, however, was that the institutions were named after famous personalities.
Through this exercise, it is believed that this will not only bring attention to universities in smaller cities but to lesser-known personalities as well.
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