Renaming roads, railway stations and cities is rajma ‘n’ chawal for revanchist revisionists with cotton wool stuffed between their ears.
So, Aurangzeb Road is now Abdul Kalam Road. Mughalsarai Junction is Deen Dayal Upadhyay junction. Gurgaon is Gurugram.
What would BJP do to “Basiyam Bazeer Ahamed Street” in Chennai, the city of ‘The Hindu’ and ‘The Musalman’, if it comes to power in the southern state?
The easy answer, of course, is that pigs will fly—or ‘Achhe Din’ would have arrived—the day BJP wins an election on its own in Tamil Nadu, to make such a decision.
The difficult answer is, which part of “Bashyam Bashir Ahamad Street” will the BJP seek to change?
Because, this little street in Alwarpet is truly a salute to the India we are; the India we shouldn’t lose.
The ‘Bashyam’ or ‘Basiyam’ part of its name comes from the name of a local lawyer, Bhashyam Iyengar, known for his commentary on the Negotiable Instruments Act.
And the ‘Bazeer Ahamed’ or ‘Bashir Ahmad’ part of it comes from Basheer Ahmed Sayeed, a Madras High Court judge, who was instrumental in the purchase of the land for the Music Academy, and was the brain behind the Southern Indian Educational Trust (SIET).
The Hindu and the Musalman, the lawyer and the judge, lived on either end of the street and its portmanteau name is a tribute to the two.
It’s a long shot, but the way the names are spelt differently at either end of the street suggests that artists of different persuasions stencilled them.
Also read: The Hindu and The Musalman
Our own Bhashyam Circle is safe because it is not a street named after two different persons.