New Delhi: The suggestion for renaming Delhi's Aurangzeb Road after APJ Abdul Kalam had not come from VHP or Bajrang Dal, but from a Pakistan-born Muslim journalist, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Sunday and added that he no longer felt "shy" while giving his address.
The Parliamentary Affairs Minister said earlier he used to feel shy when he had to give address of his residence (in Delhi) as- 30 Aurangzeb Road.
"One road in Delhi was named after a great son, an inspirational man from Rameswaram- APJ Abdul Kalam. There was so much of furore, and so much criticism and all, as if it was named after a foreigner," he said while speaking after releasing a book titled 'The Chronology of Ancient India-Victim of concoctions and distortions', penned by Vedveer Arya.
"But you will be surprised to know, the truth should also be known that the suggestion to change Delhi's Aurangzeb Road to Abdul Kalam Marg came not from a Hindu, or an Indian, nor from VHP or Bajrang Dal. But from a non-Bharatiya. He is a Muslim. Tariq Fateh, born in Pakistan and who is now settled in Canada and works as a journalist," Naidu said.
"When he (Tariq Fateh) visited India for the first time in 2013, he was shocked to see the name of Aurangzeb adorn one of the most majestic streets of capital of Bharat (India). It is he who had appealed the Indian Muslims to take the initiative in demanding to change the name of the Aurangzeb Road to be named as Dara Shikoh, the brother of Aurangzeb," the Minister said.
"I also used to feel little shy when I had to give my address. I had to say I am living in 30 Aurangzeb Road. But now I am happy because now I am living in 30 Abdul Kalam Road," Naidu said.
On August 28, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) gave its nod to rename Aurangzeb Road in Lutyen's Delhi as APJ Abdul Kalam Road. Naidu further said it is not the question of Muslim or Hindu.
"There are many Muslim rulers who have also done good to the country. History is very clear about it. All Muslims who have chosen not to go to Pakistan but decided to be in India, they are all Indians and they are equal citizens and they have got equal rights," he said.
"When we talk of Hindutava...Hindu is a cultural identity of nation. I told the Parliament also. Hindu is not a narrow religious bigotic concept, it is a broader cultural identity of this nation," he added.
"People have got every right to preach and practise whatever religion they want and that has been the great tradition of this Hindustan", the Union Minister said.
"You have seen what happened in Pakistan and Bangladesh and other countries also. This land, this water, this air, this civilisation, this culture has got something unique 'sarve jana sukhino bhavanthu'. This is the greatness of this land and we have to remember the past always and move towards future," Naidu said.
Taking a dig at media, the Union Minister said recently there was more focus by some TV channels on Yakub Memon than Abdul Kalam (for his last rites).
"Unfortunately in this country it has become a fashion for some people to degrade India and degrade Hinduism. Some of them are influenced by Western thinking and some of them are influenced by the Leftist thinking and now most of them are inspired by vote-bank politics," he asserted.
"I am astonished, sometimes I feel very sick, what is happening to this country. Some of these people are well entrenched in various sections of the media and also in communication sector and give such wonderful ideas," Naidu added.