Shimla: The recent renaming of Gurgaon and Mewat by the Haryana government has triggered calls for changing the names of other cities in the country.
According to a report in the ToI, RSS affiliate Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) has now called for renaming Himachal Pradesh capital Shimla - the erstwhile summer capital of British India - as Shyamla.
VHP organising secretary Manoj Kumar had appealed to Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Devvrat to discuss the issue of renaming important historical places in the state with the state government and the Centre.
The state unit of the VHP made this move a day after it mooted a proposal for renaming Dalhousie after Netaji Subhash Chander Bose and re-designating Shimla's historical Peterhoff building as Valmiki Sadan.
VHP, a première Hindu organisation, believes all these places have a strong British connection and legacy.
Shimla's popular Peterhoff building has housed several viceroys and governor generals of India during the British Raj. It was completely ravaged in a massive fire in 1981.
Dalhousie was established in 1854 by the Britishers as a summer retreat for its troops and officials.
The place was named after Lord Dalhousie, the then British Governor-General in India.
VHP's call for renaming Shimla stems from several theories regarding the origin of the hill town's name. Interestingly, the district administration's official website also documents these versions.
One such theory says the name Shimla was actually derived from 'Shyamla' which means blue house. There was a blue slate house built by a 'faqir' on Jakhu peak of Shimla.
Another theory says that Shimla derived its name from 'Shyamla', which means a blue female. Interestingly, Shyamla is another name for Goddess Kali. The city also housed a temple of Goddess Kali.
Shimla, then a small hamlet, was discovered by the British surveyors in 1817. The British officils later viewed it as an ideal retreat due to its salubrious climate.
In 1830, the Britishers bought the land around it and turned it into a resort for British army officers.
However, the VHP's demand for renaming Shimla has been opposed by Congress.