Bhopali Youths Mobilize People on Facebook Against Proposed Renaming of Bhopal

The Facebook protest is resulting in a mass rally against undemocratic decisions of government

BeyondHeadlines Special Correspondent

Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh: Youths of Bhopal, the capital of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, have come in a youthful way to protest against what they call “undemocratic” decisions made by the democratically elected chief minister. On March 12, the youths are organising a peace rally against renaming of Bhopal as Bhojpal.

The protest begun when state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan announced the change in name of Bhopal to Bhojpal on February 28 in a large public event organised to celebrate 1,000 years of Kingdom of Raja Bhoj of Dhar.

Soon after the chief minister’s announcement, young boys and girls of the state capital got active on Facebook to register their protest and express their love and sentiments for the Lake City. The silent protest got momentum and a many groups were created on the social networking site, Facebook, to oppose the change in the name of Bhopal. The message spread and the protest soon become the largest online protest in India with more then 40 thousand Bhopalis living in the admistrative administrative headquarters of Bhopal Division and across the world joining it.

Facebook Page of Protesters

Even more than 10 thousand Bhopalis had given their consent to join the peace rally on March 12. The rally will begin from Raja Bhoj statue at 4 p.m. (IST) and will end at the Chief Minister’s House. Perhaps, this is going to be the first time when educated youths have come in this way to oppose a decision of the public representative.

Uzair Alim, brainchild of the protest, says: “I am against the name change only because I love Bhopal. I was born a Bhopali and I want to die as a Bhopali. The chief minister has no right to play with our sentiments.”

Sanchari Vishwas says that the chief minister should have taken the Bhopalis into confidence before making such an “absurd” decision. The youths of Bhopal are not that dumb that they will not raise their voice against foolish decisions of the government, he lamented.

Mun Naqvi, another Bhopali, writes on Facebook: “We oppose the undemocratic decision; we oppose the desregard of people’s sentiments; we oppose the insult of the historical facts; we the attempt to devide people over biased narratives; we oppose change without deliberation; we oppose imposition of the government’s agenda.”

Peace March on March 12 from VIP road to the Chief Minister residence

The whole debate has also provided the opposition party with a chance to play a political drama. Arif Akil, Congress party legislature and senior leader, says that the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is in power and that they can put the democracy at stake by carrying out whatever they want. They can even come up with a proposal to rename Bhopal as the BJP. Bhopal already carries the first three letters of King Bhoj, he said. And the BJP wants to add “J” to create an impression that the district is named on the name of King Bhoj, which, according to him, is a play with people’s sentiments.

The debate is already hot on Facebook. More then 10 thousand Bhopalis have given their consent to join the peace rally. What matters is how many of them will come out of the virtual online world and join the March 12 protest.


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