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Battle over 'Bhojpal' goes to internet, Big B joins in

Thursday March 03, 2011 11:12:09 PM, Shahnawaz Akhtar, IANS

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Bhopal: The move to rename this city as Bhojpal has made it to the blog of mega star Amitabh Bachchan, who says Raja Bhoj was a great king. But more than a dozen pages on Facebook have come up from residents protesting the move to change Bhopal's name.

Bachchan, who has been shooting here for Bollywood movie "Aarakshan", writes in his blog: "There is a move here in this city to christen it as Bhojpal, instead of its present Bhopal. Bhojpal was apparently its original name, a name it got from the great warrior king, Raja Bhoj.

"A thousand years have passed and the city celebrates his stature and contribution as not just a valiant ruler but one that excelled in literature and the arts and culture too. An astute politician, an astrologer, a medical specialist and gifted with many valuable traits, his larger than life statue gets unveiled tomorrow by the banks of the great lake."

Bachchan was referring to the Bharatiya Janata Party government plans to unveil a statue of king Bhoj at the Upper Lake here this week.

On Feb 28, while celebrating 1,000 years of the coronation of Raja Bhoj, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan hoped that this city would be renamed Bhojpal and said he would recommend it to the central government.

However, since then, more than a dozen pages have come up against the name Bhojpal on social networking site Facebook. Over a thousand people have joined these pages, commenting against the idea.

"If renamed, Bhopal will lose it's identity. Bhopal is a signature place. When one hears the name, they can relate to the city. With Bhojpal, all that will be lost. It will be a disgrace in the name of this great city. We are Bhopalis, and nothing on this Earth can turn us into a Bhojpali," a student, Atul Srivastava, commented.

Another Facebook user, Sonia Bajpai, said on the page: "We Love the name 'Bhopal'", "We don't want it changed to 'Bhojpal', our leaders should realize that there are other better things to do than changing names of our old cities... Please let it be Bhopal. The upliftment of the poor and downtrodden, the beautification of the city should be the priority."

Some say the name Bhopal is derived from "Bhojpal".

Even officials of the National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities of the Archaeological Survey of India say there is no archaeological or historical proof of that.

Narayan Vyas, state coordinator of the body, said that in his knowledge there were no manuscripts or archaeological findings available to suggest name of the city was earlier Bhojpal.

The Madhya Pradesh government has already renamed Upper Lake as Bhojtaal and VIP Road as Raja Bhoj Road.





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