Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik has clarified the move to add ‘Ramji’ as the middle name of the father of the Indian Constitution, Dr BR Ambedkar. Speaking to news agency ANI, Naik said that Ambedkar was a Marathi and Hindi speaking states have always written his name “incorrectly”.
“I am a Marathi and so was he. Hindi speaking states have been writing his name incorrectly. Most importantly his name is written as Bhim and Rao as two words, however, the correct way to write is Bhimrao,” said the Uttar Pradesh Governor.
Acting on the recommendation of Naik, Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh decided to change Ambedkar’s official name to Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar in all government correspondence/documents. A government order to this effect was issued on Wednesday night by Principal Secretary (Admin) Jitendra Kumar, an official spokesman said in Lucknow on Thursday.
The move faced opposition from opposition parties like Samajwadi Party as well as BJP MP Udit Raj, who said that it would create unnecessary controversy. Speaking to ANI, the Dalit leader said, “I don't find any reason to change his name, it's an individual's freedom to decide how he wants to be known. Why create a controversy unnecessarily?”
Reacting to the development, the Samajwadi Party accused the state government of politicising the Dalit icon. SP leader Deepak Mishra said that the move by the BJP government is aimed at changing the perception of the party being anti-Ambedkar. Another SP leader Anurag Bhadoria said, “The BJP government is playing politics with the name of the Dalit icon.”
UP cabinet minister Swami Prasad Maurya, however, said there was no politics in the decision and no ulterior motive should be seen in it.
The campaign to write Ambedkar's name in the correct way was initiated by Governor Ram Naik in December 2017, citing the manner in which Ambedkar signed on the pages of the Constitution. The Governor had written to the prime minister, the chief minister and also the Babasahib Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Mahasabha, expressing concerns over the prevalent "incorrect spelling" of Ambedkar.
The spelling of Ambedkar in English will remain unchanged, but the Hindi it will be spelt as 'Aambedkar'.
'Ramji' was the name of the father of B R Ambedkar and as per practice in Maharashtra, father's name is used as the middle name by his son.