Monday, April 10, 2006

Fresh demand to rename Patna as Pataliputra

After nearly two decades, a demand to rename Bihar capital Patna as Patliputra has resurfaced.

The attempt to mobilise people's support for the renaming has once again come from Gen (Retd) S.K. Sinha, the governor of Jammu and Kashmir who hails from Bihar and had initiated a campaign for the renaming in the 1980s.

"People have to put pressure on the government to rename Patna to Pataliputra," said Sinha who was visiting the city to attend a function and address a seminar. He also hinted at seeking help from Biharis outside the state.

He said if Bombay could become Mumbai, Madras Chennai and Calcutta Kolkata, why can't Patna become Pataliputra.

"All the three big cities changed their name but nothing was done to rename Patna as Pataliputra," he said.

"Pataliputra was the capital of India for nearly 1,000 years. It came into existence in 487 BC, it has given many things to the world," said Sinha.

He said on the other hand the name Patna had a history of hardly 500 years and the city acquired the status of state capital only in 1911 during British rule.

About his efforts for renaming in the 1980s, he said: "Over a hundred thousand people had endorsed the move by putting their signature and the state government also approved the proposal. But the central government failed to respond to it."

Patna has been known by different names through the centuries. The city of Pataliputra, which was the capital of the Magadh empire, had two older names, Pushpapur and Kusumpur, both meaning the city of flowers. Patali also means a flower. During the medieval period, it was renamed Azeemabad.

State Tourism Minister Nand Kishore Yadav said the government would look into the demand. The name Pataliputra has more significance for the state and its people than Patna, he agreed.
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