On a significant note, the Maharashtra government issued a notification on Friday, officially changing the names of two prominent districts in the state. Aurangabad is now officially known as Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, while Osmanabad has been renamed to Dharashiv. This move comes after considering suggestions and objections that were sought from the public several months ago.
The Decision to Rename
The decision to rename Aurangabad and Osmanabad was initially made on June 29th of the previous year when Uddhav Thackeray, the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, approved the change. However, this decision was made just a day before he resigned from his post, following a rebellion within his own party led by Eknath Shinde. This rebellion eventually led to the ouster of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, which was a coalition of the Congress, NCP, and Shiv Sena.
The renaming of these districts at the sub-division, village, taluka, and district levels is now official, as per the notification issued by the Revenue Department of the Maharashtra government, currently led by Eknath Shinde.
The Political Backstory
The decision to rename these districts was not without controversy. Chief Minister Shinde and his deputy, Devendra Fadnavis, who were sworn in a day after Uddhav Thackeray’s resignation, argued that the Thackeray-led dispensation’s decision to rename these places was illegal. They contended that this decision was made after the governor had asked the government to prove its majority in the state assembly.
In July of the same year, CM Shinde’s government gained cabinet approval to rename Aurangabad and Osmanabad cities as Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar and Dharashiv, respectively. In the final cabinet meeting of the MVA government, Aurangabad was renamed as Sambhajinagar, but the Shinde government added ‘Chhatrapati’ as a prefix to it, making it Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar.
The Impact of the Renaming
Renaming places carries historical and cultural significance. It not only reflects the identity of a place but can also have political implications. The renaming of Aurangabad to Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar and Osmanabad to Dharashiv is seen as a move to honor historical figures and assert regional identity.
Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj was the son of the legendary Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who founded the Maratha Empire. By renaming Aurangabad to Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, the government aims to pay homage to this historical figure and highlight his contributions to the Maratha dynasty.
Dharashiv, on the other hand, is named after Dharashiv, a village in the Osmanabad district. The renaming of Osmanabad to Dharashiv is seen as an effort to bring attention to the local heritage and culture of the region.
The renaming of Aurangabad to Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar and Osmanabad to Dharashiv by the Maharashtra government reflects the complex interplay of historical, cultural, and political factors. While it honors historical figures and regional identity, it also sparks debates and controversies in the political arena. The official notification marks the culmination of a decision made amidst political upheaval and underscores the importance of names in shaping the narrative of a place’s identity.
For more detailed information on this development, you can refer to the official notification issued by the Revenue Department of the Maharashtra government.