Bhopal, Feb. 2: Bhopal will soon join the list of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras and will be known as Bhojapal.
Chief minister Uma Bharti has decided on the name change with a “sense of history”, though there is no conclusive proof that the legendary Raja Bhoj, who is credited with constructing a huge lake around Bhopal, founded the city.
The oldest available gazettes refer to an Afghan chieftain, Dost Mohammed Khan, who was in charge of Bhopal during Aurangzeb’s reign. Khan took advantage of the chaos following Aurangzeb’s death to carve out his own small kingdom.
Uma today expressed her intention to rename the city while inaugurating a bus station dedicated to the late BJP leader Kushabhau Thakre. She said the name Bhojapal would give the city a distinct identity.
Bhopal now presents a multifaceted profile. The old city is known for its crowded market place, huge mosques and palaces of the begums who ruled over the city from 1819 to 1926.
The legacy of Raja Bhoj is well established in Bhojpur town, about 30 km south of Bhopal, where an ancient and unfinished temple stands as a testimony to the 11th century era of the king.
In Dhar, 250 km from Bhopal, exists Bhojshala which Muslims consider to be a 14th century mosque and Hindus a seat of learning-cum-Saraswati temple that is now at the centre of a dispute.