Indian Express/Abhinav Saha
Bagga, who has previously been lauded for his initiatives such as hoisting the national flag at the NIT-Srinagar, as also sent copies of the letter to Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi and the NDMC.
Gave a Letter to Honourable PM Sh @narendramodi Ji,New Delhi MP Smt @M_Lekhi Ji & NDMC to Rename Babar Road to Martyr Lt. Ummer Fayaz Road pic.twitter.com/t7aMQ5U35f — Tajinder Pal S Bagga (@TajinderBagga) May 19, 2017
Gave a Letter to Honourable PM Sh @narendramodi Ji,New Delhi MP Smt @M_Lekhi Ji & NDMC to Rename Babar Road to Martyr Lt. Ummer Fayaz Road pic.twitter.com/t7aMQ5U35f
— Tajinder Pal S Bagga (@TajinderBagga) May 19, 2017
Map of the Babar Road. Google Maps
A hero of the country, Lt Fayaz was on leave at the time of his death.
Lt Umar Fayaz Parray was apprehended and killed by by terrorists at Shopian.
In his letter Bagga writes, “The whole nation is mourning the sacrifice of Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz of Rajputana Rifles – a true martyr. He fought for Bharat and demonstarted extraordinary valour and courage.”
The letter Tajinder Pal Bagga addressed to PM Modi. Twitter
Urging the government to change the name of the road to that of the martyr’s, Bagga writes, “It will help in keeping his story alive as a constant reminder for people across the length and breadth of India who visit this road of how selflessly a young man laid down his life for them, the Motherland. [sic].”
It should be noted that changing the names of roads is a prerogative of the NDMC. If the NDMC approves of the name change through a majority vote, the same is done.
The renaming of Aurangzeb Road to Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Road. PTI/Atul Yadav
It is an undeniable fact that Babar was nothing more than an invader, and he did what every invader does – pillage, plunder, kill and loot. Though not as cruel towards his subjects (he ruled for a very brief period, anyway) as Aurangzeb, Babar was also nowhere close to the justness displayed by his grandson Akbar.
Painting showing Babar fighting Ibrahim Lodhi in the First battle of Panipat in 1526. Wikimedia Commons
Some Twitter users disagreed with Bagga’s initiative and claimed that the martyr is being hailed only because he is a Muslim. Some demanded that the road be renamed to Martyr’s Road or in the name of anyone who opposed Babar, such as Rana Sanga.
It is not because of his religion (the current GOC-in-C of Southern Command Lt Gen P.M. Hariz is a Muslim and so are many present and past officers and soldiers). The significance is because Lt Fayaz was a Kashmiri.
For a Kashmiri to join the Indian Army is a huge challenge in itself given the risk of social boycott such an individual’s family may face in the state. The Pakistani-sponsored Separatists regularly incite the youth of Kashmir towards stone pelting and anti-India actions. The hatred for the Indian Army, in spite of all the good it does, is created by the Separatists and some politicians.
So it is obvious for them to incite the local population against anyone from the state who joins the armed forces. And that’s a huge problem.
Tributes for Lt Umar Fayaz at India Gate in New Delhi on Saturday. Atul Yadav/PTI
Yet Lt Fayaz set an example for the genuinely development-oriented youth of his state by joining the very force the Separatists of his state spread lies about.
So having a road named after a martyr is obviously logical and better than having one named after an invader.