PM Modi had talked about India freeing itself from every sign of slavery on Independence Day, August 15, 2022 from the ramparts of Red Fort, PM Modi set out “an India free of colonial mindset” as one of the Panch Pran (five pledges) for New India to undertake in Amrit Kaal. This is not the first time though when a conscious effort is being done by PM Modi to shed the baggage of the colonial past.
The effort to erase the memory and symbols of colonisation has been a continuous for the past eight years. Numerous steps in this direction have been taken to let go of colonial legacy, colonial symbols and replace it with Indian traditions and strategic thought.
Rajpath to Kartavya Path
In line with its intention of getting rid of any remnants of the colonial past, Narendra Modi has decided to rename ‘Rajpath’ and Central Vista lawns as ‘Kartavya path’. Rajpath is the Hindi word for ‘Kingsway’, which was given in honour of King George V.
The iconic Rajpath which hosts the Republic Day parade each year, stretching from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate and Central Vista lawns was renamed Kartavya Path. Rajpath, translated to English means ‘Kingsway’, which was given in honour of King George V, symbolised the “right to rule” rather than the “duty to serve”.
The move comes ahead of the road’s opening after redevelopment as part of Central Vista Avenue. After nearly 20 months of development work, Central Vista Avenue will open on September 8, 2022.
New Naval ensign
September 2, 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi while commissioning of the country’s first indigenously-built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, unveiled the new ensign (Nishaan) of Indian Navy that he said has ‘removed remaining traces of slavery and colonial past’ on the country’s warships by doing away with the St George’s cross. This move is befitting the rich Indian maritime heritage.
The Cross of St George was removed from the Indian Navy’s ensign. It was Indianised with the tricolour on the upper canton and an emblem with a navy blue background enclosed in an octagon representing the royal seal of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Renaming the Race Course Road as Lok Kalyan Marg
Back in 2016 itself this process decolonisation had started when the Race Course Road was renamed, Lok Kalyan Marg. The prime minister’s residence is at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg.
Redundant Colonial-Era Laws Repealed
Since 2014, Modi government has repealed more than 1500 old and obsolete laws. Most of these laws were remnants of the British era.
Merger of the Railway budget with the annual Union budget
In 2017, breaking the 92-year-old tradition started by the British, the government merged the Rail Budget with the General Budget as the Rail Budget has shrunk over the years and a separate budget and announcement wasn’t required anymore.
Presentation of the Budget on the First Day of February
It has also done away with the colonial-era presentation of the Budget on the last day of February. The budget is now presented on the first day of February.
Grand Statue Of Bose At The India Gate Canopy
In January 2022, PM Modi inaugurated the hologram statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at India Gate. A statue will be installed soon in the canopy where the statue of King George V was earlier installed on the 8th September. This will help bring Netaji into the mainstream.
Replacement of the Beating ‘Abide with Me’
During Republic Day 2022, the Beating The Retreat ceremony’s concluding piece ‘Abide With Me’ was removed, and Kavi Pradeep’s seminal piece ‘Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon’ was introduced.
Earlier in 2015, the Beating Retreat saw some major changes wherein Indian musical instruments sitar, santoor, and tabla were added for the first time. The retreat was thus infused with an Indian flavour.
Merger of Amar Jawan Jyoti with National War Memorial
Amar Jawan Jyoti, the ‘eternal flame’, was merged with the flame of the National War Memorial (NWM).
Andaman and Nicobar islands renamed
In December 2018, PM Modi took a page out of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s book and renamed three islands of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago. Back in 1943, Bose had suggested that Andaman and Nicobar Islands be renamed as Shahid and Swaraj Dweep respectively.
In a tribute to the freedom fighter, many Islands took names suggested by Netaji including Ross Island was renamed as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep, the Neil Island as Shaheed Dweep and the Havelock Island as Swaraj Dweep.
Biplobi Bharat Gallery inaugurated at Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata
PM recently inaugurated Biplobi Bharat Gallery at Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata. In what has been named after an erstwhile British Empress of India, PM inaugurated a gallery displaying the contribution of the Revolutionaries in the freedom struggle.
Teaching in mother tongue reflected in NEP 2020
PM has been a proponent of teaching in mother tongue, as reflected in NEP 2020. This is a marked departure from the focus mainly on English based education, the wheels of which were set in motion during the British time.
PM Narendra Modi pushed for self-attestation of documents
Right at the beginning of his tenure of Prime Minister of India in 2014 he pushed for shifting to self-certification of documents and pitched for minimum use of affidavits. This has saved the common man from hassles and red tape.
List of other remnants of colonial past erased by Modi government can go on but here are a few more:
- In 2015, Aurangzeb Road was renamed A P J Abdul Kalam Road.
- In 2017, Dalhousie Road was renamed Dara Shikoh Road.
- Teen Murti Teen Murti Chowk was changed to Teen Murti Haifa Chowk in 2018.