02 August, 2021

Why We Should Let Aurangzeb Road Be

A short history of Independent India’s strange priorities through a tour of Delhi’s avenues

Why We Should Let Aurangzeb Road Be

Successive generations of Indians go through school with a formidable disdain of mathematics, Sanskrit and history. Math, to be fair, is still seen as useful for the handful with aptitude for it. Sanskrit is good for easy scoring. But time spent on history is a total waste, to be learnt by rote (dynasties, names, periods, dates of wars) and then forgotten. Our view of history was defined by that evergreen song in 1962 Dharmendra-Mala Sinha starrer Anpadh, ‘Sikander ne Porus se ki thi ladayi, jo ki thi ladayi, toh main kya karoon (OK, so Alexander and Porus fought a war, but so what if they did, why should I bother?)’

Again, in north Indian folklore, Muslim rulers, with the exception of Akbar, were all thugs who beheaded and blinded brothers, sons, fathers and enemies with equal joy. This may explain the near absence of any popular outrage when a road named after Aurangzeb is renamed after A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. The reaction is, toh main kya karoon?

It is not possible, however, to apply the same test to roads built in most of its...

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