In January this year, a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party had written to the Railways Ministry, asking why the names of railway stations in Uttarakhand were not written in Sanskrit. The letter was in context to a rule, which mandates the railway manual to have Sanskrit as the second official language on such signboards at railway stations in Uttarakhand. Following the letter, the railways ministry has now decided to rename the stations in the state and the move has sparked a controversy.
The signboards which have names of railway stations written in Hindi, English and Urdu will now be written in Hindi, English and Sanskrit. In a bid to promote the use of Sanskrit, Dehradun railway station became Dehradunam and Rishikesh was renamed as Rishikeshah.
Last week, name of Dehradun railway station was written in Sanskrit as Dehradunam, along with Hindi and English, when the station re-opened for public after three months. The name for Doiwala railway station also in Dehradun has been written ‘Doiwalah’ and a new railway station in Rishikesh as ‘Yog Nagari Rishikeshah’.
Meanwhile, the work for getting the right names in Sanskrit has begun.
“First of all, the state government has to provide us with how the names of the railway stations are to be written in Sanskrit. Only then we would be writing to the railway headquarter to clarify the fact of adding a fourth language on station signboards,” Rekha Sharma, senior divisional commercial manager Moradabad railway division, which manages the stations falling under Garhwal region, said.
Speaking on the name of Dehradun railway station being written in Sanskrit, which was later changed, Sharma said, “The name was written by the construction agency which was renovating the station. They had put up a board with the name written in Sanskrit. The board was removed as soon as the matter came to light.”
The railway official, however, agreed that the name of a new railway station in Rishikesh (Yog Nagari Rishikeshah) has been written in Sanskrit along with Hindi and English, as the name was suggested by the state government.
Rajendra Kumar Singh, public relations officer for Izzatnagar railway division that manages the railway stations falling under the Kumaon region, said the names of stations would be written in Sanskrit after orders are received from railway headquarters.
However, a senior railway official from Kathgodam railway station in Nainital, wishing not to be named, said, “Even though official orders have not been received, preparations are afoot to write names of stations in Sanskrit.”