Our railway system is hardly divine, but that hasn’t stopped the saffron brigade from trying to rename stations. A report in this paper stated that the newly built station between Jogeshwari and Goregaon, which was to be named Oshiwara station, is now going to be named Ram Mandir. CM Devendra Fadnavis showed the green flag to the name after months of ‘petitions’ by the BJP and Shiv Sena.
One cannot fathom why this station should be named Ram Mandir. Some reasoned that it was because there was a Ram mandir in the vicinity, but that holds little water. To accede to such petitions about giving religion-specific names is to set a dangerous and unwanted precedent.
Why not just name it Oshiwara station, like we have Andheri station or Jogeshwari station? This renaming stirs the communal cauldron and keeps it bubbling.
Naming facilities has always been Instead of taking a no-nonsense, workman-like approach to the issue, where we name the station after the area it is in and simply get on with it, we are once again getting bogged down with unnecessary time-wasting tactics.
Mumbai is a cosmopolitan city, a commuting city. We are proud that it has some of India’s best public commuting facilities, given all its drawbacks. Names of public utilities must reflect the city’s cosmopolitan ethos.
More importantly, political parties petitioning for names of this, that or the other, should instead concentrate on improving amenities for commuters. If they really care about the railways, look at toilets on platforms, escalators, snack stalls, overall hygiene or even the gap between trains and platform.
Keep it Oshiwara, keep it contemporary, keep it cosmopolitan. It’s a railway station, not a pilgrimage spot.