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   A friend, who is very active in the BJP... (August 9, 1996)

A friend, who is very active in the BJP, was telling me: "It is very unfair, there are no names left for me to change into Hindi."

"Is that so!" I said.

"Yes," said the friend. "All the names that were there to change, have already been changed. We have changed the names of Bombay, Madras, Trivandrum, Thana, India, Frontier Mail, Victoria Terminus, Peddar Road, Bandra fly-over. There is nothing left."

"That's a shame," I said.

"You're telling me. People should be more considerate and not go about changing every name. There are others wanting to do so also."

"What will you do?" I asked.

"I have to do something," the friend said. "What will people say, that I am in the BJP and I am not leading a protest for the change of a single name. My political career will be ruined."

"True," I said. "There must be some name somewhere that has escaped the attention of vigilant name-changers. If you can find it, you can change it."

"Tell me which," the friend said. "Victoria Gardens has been changed, and Aleandra Docks, and proposals have already been made for changing the names of Churchgate, Marine Lines and Grant Road. There are no colonial names left, not in the map and not in the railway time-table."

"I see you point," I said. "It must be difficult being a BJP politician these days, with no names to change."

"It is impossible," the BJP politician said. "They have even started dubbing American films and renaming them in Hindi. I strongly suspect there is a plot to make the BJP ineffective. First, they started allt he trouble in Gujarat, then they got our Advani charge-sheeted, now this."

"Possible," I said. "But you must remember that most of the English names were changed into Hindi by the BJP itself, leaving nothing for future generations of its members to change."

"That may be," he said, "but when they construct new things, they could give them foreign names, so that people like me have an opportunity to organise dharnas and court arrests or hold up legislature proceedings to get them changed into Hindi."

"They could do that," I said. "How does the BJP leadership feel about all this?"

"The BJP leadership views it very seriously," he said. "The other parties, by naming or renaming things in Hindi, have successfully sabotaged the entire Hindutva campaign. Tis repercussions wil be left in the U.P. elections."

"Oh, dear!" I said: "Things are bad. What can you do?"

"There is one porposal. Get Mr. Thackeray to change his name to Thakre. After all, Thackeray is English," he said.

"Yes, that is a possibly," I said.

"There is one problem," the friend said. "Mr. Balasaheb Thackeray may agree to change his name, but what about Mr. Raj Thackeray!"

 
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