Locals fume at bid to rename Chandni Chowk

CULTURAL BATTLE

Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s attempt to rename the historic Chandni Chowk after the name of ace cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has been received with much anguish by the locals. 

As Metrolife talks to the residents and shopkeepers of Chandni Chowk, some call the proposal as illogical and needless as the place has a heritage value.

While some say it is nothing more than vote bank politics as the area has always been neglected by the authorities in terms of infrastructure development.

Neeraj Gupta, who has been running a mattress and sweets’ shops in Chandni Chowk area of Old Delhi for the past 15 years, says that no doubt Sachin is a jewel of the country and has brought it enormous popularity, but Chandni Chowk is known the world over and changing its name will not be appropriate.

“It is not good to even bring such a proposal, leave alone passing it. No doubt, Sachin is an international icon, but Chandni Chowk is a landmark too. I don’t understand the need to rename the chowk after his name,” says Neeraj, whose shop has been in the market area for over 100 years and is located right next to Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib’s haveli.

Many like him, who have been born and brought up in the area express their anguish over the civic body’s proposal, saying if the authorities cannot provide better infrastructure in Old Delhi, they should not take away what it already has.

“Sachin Tendulkar has done a lot for the country, but he is not the only one to do so. What benefit would changing the name bring to the area, or even Sachin Tendulkar?” asks Shafiquddin Khaksar, owner of a medical store and a resident of Chandni Chowk.

It is not just the old generation who takes pride in belonging to this place and wants it to remain the way it is. Youngsters feel the same. A standard IXth student Sadia Hammadi feels that changing the name won’t make any difference as people will still call it by its original name.

“Why change the name of such an old and historic place? I am a proud resident of Chandni Chowk. Sachin Tendulkar is an unmatchable sports personality. It would be better to name some sports stadium after him,” she says.

The proposal has also received flak from those who do not live in Chandni Chowk, but are charmed by its beauty.

Tabinda Khan, a professional and a fan of Sachin Tendulkar, feels it would be a mean thing to change the name of a place like Chandni Chowk. “I am a very big fan of Sachin. He is a legend, but it doesn’t justify changing the name of any historical place after him,” Tabinda says.

MCD now terms the proposal as a rumour and says it has no plan to rename Chandni Chowk or even a street in the area after the batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar.

“MCD never made a statement on renaming this cultural and historical hub. We are concerned and committed to preserve the culture, history and tehzeeb of Chandni Chowk and there is no question of changing its name,” says Rajni Abbi, mayor, Delhi.  

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