The BJP once again announced that their election motive is to change the name of Hyderabad to Bhagyanagar if they are voted to power in the November 30 Assembly elections. This is not the first time that the BJP has called for changing the name of Telangana’s capital. Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to Hyderabad as Bhagyanagar in his various speeches. Telangana has a mixed population and a backward class and Muslims are the majority of the population. Apart from the Brahmins and upper caste voters, the BJP actually has no takers in this state. The BJP, which is seeking to make a foothold in Telangana, vigorously pushed its Hindutva agenda under its former state chief, Bandi Sanjay Kumar. As part of this move, Sanjay started his statewide “Praja Sangrama Yatra” in 2021 at the Bhagyalakshmi temple, which is located adjacent to the iconic Charminar monument in Hyderabad.
There have been numerous theories about Hyderabad’s name. The most popular belief is that the city got its name after its founder, Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah of the Golconda Sultanate, who ruled the city between 1580 and 1612 and named it Bhagyanagar after Bhagmati, a local dancer, his beloved with whom he got married. Bhagmati converted to Islam and adopted the name Hyder Mahal, and the city was renamed Hyderabad in her honour. According to a scholar of Islamic architecture, Andrew Petersen, the city was originally called Baghnagar because it is surrounded by many gardens. The people of Hyderabad never had an issue with its name; they all want this name to remain as it is.
The majority of the people in Telangana do not like the name change. The city has always been known as Hyderabad since it was founded in the late 16th century. Not only the city, but the entire kingdom was called Hyderabad. One cannot wipe out the history of a city for political motives. Moreover, it will not serve any purpose. With all due respect to the sentiments of the Telugu-speaking people, Hyderabad’s name should not be changed to avoid ruckus. Because the name change will be perceived from a religious angle. There will be riots and unrest, and thousands of innocent lives will suffer. Politicians should bring harmony rather than create communal clashes. This is one strong reason why people in Telangana do not support the saffron party.
If Hyderabad is changed to a new name, There may be demands to change the names of Aurangabad, Firozobad, Allahabad, Secunderabad, Ahmedabad, and so on. Bangalore, Madras, Calcutta, Bombay, Trichinopoly names got changed because these names were considered as the British Colonial names which is not the case with Hyderabad. BJP has been on a renaming spree in a bid to make the names of various places “more Hindu”. In Maharashtra, Aurangabad was renamed as Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar while Osmanabad became Dharashiv. In UP, the Mughalsarai railway station was renamed after Deen Dayal Upadhyay while Allahabad became Prayagraj. Recently, UP Deputy CM Brajesh Pathak said the state’s capital city Lucknow will be renamed as Lakshman Nagari.
Hyderabad is rich in culture and history in the last 1500 years. BJP doesn’t have any development schemes to offer. So, they let out a populist slogan. Changing city’s names doesn’t change the living standards of people. It’s just politics to eyewash the public and divert them from real issues. Hyderabad, the capital city of Telangana, is known by two names: Hyderabad and Bhagyanagar. The reason behind this dual jargon is rooted in the city’s history and the cultural and political shifts it has experienced over time.
The dual names for Hyderabad reflect the cultural and historical influences of both the Qutb Shahi dynasty and the Mughal empire. Over time, the name “Hyderabad” gained prominence and became the widely accepted and recognized name for the city. However, some groups and individuals, particularly those with a historical or cultural connection to the Qutb Shahi dynasty, continue to use the name “Bhagyanagar” to honour its original founder and preserve that aspect of the city’s heritage. During the time of the then Chief Minister of Andhrapradesh (1980–1982) T Anjiah, the name change was proposed and many institutions like Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA) was renamed as Bhagyanagar Urban Development Authority etc- which gradually evaporated and got renamed as Hyderabad Urban Development Authority at the end of 1982.
Hyderabad is among the most developed Indian cities. The city of Hyderabad is famous for its rich architecture, culture & history. Hyderabad is the fourth populous metropolitan in India. It is an emerging Bio-Technology & IT (Information Technology) hub of India. Hyderabad is not a name; it is an emotion. Name change is nothing but playing with the emotions of the people. Lets see how BJP can make it to power by playing with people’s emotions.