Mohammadpur Village in Delhi Debates Name and Past | Latest Delhi News
These days, the chaupal in Mohammadpur village, south of Delhi, is a place of heated discussion about the origin of the village – and how it got its name. The debate was sparked after Bhagat Singh Tokas, the local councilor, submitted a proposal to rename the village to urban in July at a meeting of the Zonal Committee of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC).
“In Mughal times, the names of all the villages were forcibly changed. The villagers’ request to change the name to Mohammadpur has long been in abeyance. Considering the demand and the feelings of the people, I propose to change the name of the village from Mohammadpur to Madhavpuram, ”said the proposal from Tokas.
The proposal, which came months before civic body polls, where the BJP faces a 15-year term ban, has since gained early approval from SDMC mayor Mukesh Suryan. “This is a valid request. The proposal was passed by the company’s nominating committee and will go home soon. By the end of this month, we will send it to the state government for the necessary changes in income records, ”Suryan said.
For the uninitiated, Mohammadpur is a Jat-dominated village near Bhikaji Cama Place, which is home to around 7,000 people. The village has a Teen Burj, a domed monument from the Lodhi era, protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
In the 1960s and 1970s, village land was acquired to develop RK Puram, Sarojini Nagar and parts of the Safdarjung enclave. Today, a rental economy is thriving in the village, which is a maze of narrow lanes with multi-story apartment buildings housing tenants, many of whom are civil servants, including staff from CRPF, ITBP and the CRPF. The village is also home to many people working in AIIMS, Bhikaji Cama Place and hotels such as Hyatt. The village also has several leather goods shops.
“Our elders believe that the name of the village was changed during the Mughal period, and the current name only symbolizes our subjugation by foreign invaders,” says Bhagat Singh Tokas, the local councilor, who lives in the village.
According to the 2011 census, out of the country’s 600,000 towns and villages, 704 are named after the first six Mughal emperors, namely Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shahjahan and Aurangzeb, but there is no historical evidence. that the name of Mohammadpur was changed during the Mughal period.
“It is historically a Jat village and no Muslim has ever owned land in our village. So we assume that the Mughal rulers gave us this name or changed the original name, ”says Rajesh Tomar, a villager who works as a swimming coach. In fact, unlike many Delhi villages where wrestling, kabaddi and Kho-Kho are popular, nearby Mohammadpur and Munirka are home to many swimming champions who have performed nationally, including Arjuna Prize winner Khajan Singh Tokas.
Speaking of the origin of their village, some elders say that Jat farmers from the nearby village of Munirka came to live near their farmland around the Teen Burji monument around 250 years ago. “This is how this village was born. But those Jat farmers who settled here centuries ago had no reason to call it Mohammadpur, ”says Kulvir Singh, a village resident, sitting in the chapual, which is the center of community activities.
Some villagers claim that the request for a name change was first raised in the 1960s when they contacted the then chief commissioner, Bhagwan Sahay. Until 1966 Delhi was governed by a Chief Commissioner. In 1966, a Metropolitan Council was set up with the Lieutenant Governor at its head. “We offered to him that our village could bear his name under the name of Bhagwan Nagar, but the request was not accepted,” said Sukhbir Singh, a villager.
“The problem is that every time we go out of Delhi and tell people that we are from Mohammadpur, they ask us if this is the predominantly Muslim village. We have nothing against any religion or community, it’s just that the current name of the village goes against our identity and our history, ”Singh adds.
But there are those who are opposed to the idea of the name change.
Jasbir Singh, 71, calls it a futile attempt to dismiss the story. “What are we going to get out of this name change? It’s nothing but politics, ”he says.
Interestingly, elaborating on the history of the village, he says that Tula Ram was the first farmer to come from the neighboring village of Munirka and settled in Mohammadpur in 1765. “I am his descendant. But the village is named after Mohammad Khan, a local landowner from the Lodi period. The Mughals have nothing to do with his name, ”he said.
Singh’s account was supported by Rana Safvi, city columnist and author of The Forgotten Cities of Delhi, who mentions Teen Burji and Mohhamadpur in her book. “The Mughals did not change the names of towns, cities or villages. They built new towns and gave them new names, ”explains Safvi.
“In the past, most villages were named after local landlords or nobles. Mohammad Khan, I believe, was a nobleman during the Lodi period, ”explains Safvi, citing the examples of Munirka and Wazirpur which were named after the nobles of the Lodi era Munir Khan and Wazir Khan, respectively.
Oddly enough, while Councilor Tokas and Mayor Suryan make it appear that the name of the village was Madhavpuram before it was changed by the Mughals to Mohammadpur, Brahm Prakash, president of the local residents’ welfare association, said a different opinion.
“I think Mohammdpur was a name given to us by the Muslim rulers. The locals here came up with another name, Madhavpuram after much discussion. Madhav is the name of Lord Krishna. I hope we will have the new name soon ”.
Mohammadpur may or may not become Madhavpuram, but Safdarjung Enclave BJP adviser Radhika Abrol has offered to rename the village of Humayunpur to Hanumanpur. “We also receive a similar proposal from a few other villages, including Saidulajab. We are favorably inclined to all such requests and proposals, ”Suryan said.