The New Delhi Municipal Council has changed the name of Dalhousie Road to Dara Shikoh Road, after the eldest son of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
Dara Shikoh is known to be a champion of religious tolerance and a patron of the arts. Dara was declared the heir apparent of the Mughal throne, but Aurangzeb overthrew his elder brothers in battle and imprisoned his father, Shah Jehan. Declaring himself the king, Aurangzeb tried Dara in court and, based on the Qazi’s judgment, had him and his teenage son sentenced to death for apostasy.
Dara was humble and approachable, and was, therefore, loved by the poor and ordinary people. He translated 50 Upanishads into Persian in 1657, so that they could be studied by Muslim scholars. He also deeply respected by the Sikhs. He found good in both communities.
In 2015, Aurangzeb Road was renamed after A P J Abdul Kalam, with supporters of the move saying the Mughal emperor reminded one of “cruelty”.
AAP opposed the timing of the decision, and questioned the logic behind choosing a name from the same family.
The proposal to rename Dalhousie Road, located 2km from Rashtrapati Bhawan, was submitted by MP Meenakshi Lekhi and NDMC vice chairman Karan Singh Tanwar.
“Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of fifth Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan had promoted peace and concord between the followers of Hinduism and Islam and had interest in comparative religions, universal brotherhood, humanism and peace,” the proposal said. Lord Dalhousie, on the other hand, served as governor general of India between 1848 and 1856, under the East India Company.
NDMC vice-chairman Tanwar denied any political move behind renaming the road.