Renaming of Old Delhi’s Hauz Qazi Chowk Shelved in Wake of Local Resistance


A view of Hauz Qazi Chowk. Photo: Abu Sufiyan

Despite opposition to the decision from locals, all major political parties had colluded to rename the historical square.  

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – The North Delhi Municipal Corporation was all set to change the name of a Old Delhi’s historic location from Hauz Qazi Chowk to Harish Chandra Varma Chowk after a former councilor and congress leader. However, they had to rescind their decision in the wake of an outrage on social media by activists, local residents and also opposition by Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor.

The North Delhi has mayor taken a final call on Wednesday and directed Deputy Commissioner (DC) Paharganj Zone to withdraw the notification issued to the this effect.

A letter by the DC, a copy of which is with Clarion India confirmed the revocation of name change plans. The letter came even as the corporation had already put up posters announcing an event to be held on Thursday, March 10, for the renaming of the chowk.

Despite resistance from the locals, all major political parties had seemingly colluded to rename the historical square.  Imran Hussain, the Aam Aadmi Party MLA from Ballimaran and cabinet minister in the Kejriwal government and Shri Jai Parkash Aggarwal, former Congress MP from North East Delhi, were expected to grace the occasion. Besides, former Union Health Minister Dr Harashvardan was also going to attend the event.

Husain, however, claimed that his name was included in the poster without his consent and that he opposed the name change plan.

Notably the proposal for name change was made by  AAP councillor Rakesh Kumar and  approval by Raja Iqbal Singh, North Delhi Municipal Corporation mayor and BJP leader.

As soon as the poster surfaced on social media it sparked concerns among the residents of the locality, activists and history buffs who said that the name was being changed without their knowledge. They said the plan was part of a larger agenda of Hindu right to obliterate the Muslim history and character of Old Delhi.

Abu Sufiyan, an old Delhi native who runs the Purani DILLI Walo Ki Baatein initiative, said he was shocked to see the poster for the name change. He immediately put out a tweet calling attention of activists and journalists to raise their voice against such a move. This led to outrage

“They had not consulted any one among the locals. Everyone here was angry. People I have talked to condemned such plans,” Sufiyan told Clarion India.

“Huaz Qazi chowk has an importance in Old Delhi’s history. There used to be a Hauz (Pond) once right in front of the Qazi Masjid. When the Chawri Bazar metro station was constructed, one gate was given the name of Hauz Qazi gate.

Sufiyan asked when the name was not changed even at the time of establishing the metro station keeping in mind its historical importance, why then were they going to change it now.

He alleged that this is not the first time the name of a place of historic importance is being changed. “In the last few years, I can count at least name change of eight places in Old Delhi alone. For instance Kinary Bazar has been renamed. Similarly, Azad Market Chowk has been changed to Durgadas Rathore, a person who has no relevance to the place.”

Khalil Ahmad, a businessman who lives near Hauz Qazi Chowk saw in it an agenda of the right wing to alter the history and character of Old Delhi. “Just because they see an Urdu word in the name, they say let’s change it. This name has history to it. How could they change it right away without any rhyme and reason. Changing the names will not change history.”

He was equally angry at the secular parties like Congress and AAP which he said were in cahoots with the RSS to target whatever is Muslim.

“Harichand Varma, after who they were going to rename the locality, was from the Congress. He is not some historical figure. He was a councillor who had lost MLA election.  He is no freedom fighter or a figure of national importance,” Khalil said.

Sufiyan said that there was a need to resist such moves everywhere “otherwise the coming generation will not know the real history.”

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.


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