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23 April 2012

Ahmedabad's main heritage is Islamic, says Mallika Sarabhai

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By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani  

Ahmedabd: The political move to change  Ahmedabad  name from Ahmedabad to Amdavad, to make it sound more colloquial, is likely to have adverse impact on city's claim for World Heritage City status from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Moreover, eminent persons of the city believe that merely changing the name of the city will not improve basic amenities.

"How can we demand UNESCO heritage status for a city whose main heritage is Islamic but still pretends to be not? If name is changed to Amdavad, the heritage question stands null and void for the city," said Mallika Sarabhai, a danseuse and social activist.

The name Ahmedabad is directly associated with Emperor Ahmed Shah, founder of the city and his four Ahmeds (counsellors).

Another artist, on condition of anonymity, said that it is not a wise move by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to change the city's name. "Changing name to Amdavad from Ahmedabad will not help in creating better civic amenities. Moreover, the name has been written in this way for centuries and there is no need to create a controversy now by implementing such a change that might affect its claim for a heritage city status," he said.

Meanwhile, another section of the civil society believes that as people could not pronounce 'Ahmedabad' properly in Gujarati, it became 'Amdavad'.

"However, we still pronounce Ahmedabad properly in English and we are habituated to writing the same. Thus there is no need to change the name," said Kumudini Lakhia, a renowned artist from the city. She also said that the city takes pride in its architectural and heritage structures built during Islamic rule in the city. There is no point in removing Islamic flavour from the name.
Yet another group of people believes that changing the name is a sign of crisis felt by language in all aspects of life, while another set of people believe that change from Ahmedabad to Amdavad gives it a Gujarati flavour.

Ankit Trivedi, an eminent Gujarati poet feels that language has become 'fast food' and it carries more calories and less nutrition.

"Changing the name to make it sound more colloquial is a sign of language deficiency, seen in every aspect of life," he said.

[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Gujarat). He can be reached at lakhani63@yahoo.com or on his cell 09228746770]

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