Rajat Sharma

Why was it necessary to rename Raj Path as Kartavya Path?

AKBAnother symbol of slavery was consigned to the dustbin of history on Thursday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi renamed the historic ‘Rajpath’ (Kingsway) in Delhi as ‘Kartavya Path’. He also installed a 28-foot statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose at the India Gate canopy, under which the British monarch George V once stood. This marked the end of another symbol of what Modi called ‘mental slavery’.
Raj Path was initially named Kingway during British Rule, and after independence, it was renamed Raj Path. To remove the last vestiges of colonial rule, Modi renamed Raj Path as Kartavya Path. In his address at the colourful function near India Gate, Modi said, “Rajpath, the symbol of slavery, is now part of history. It has been erased forever. Today, a new history has been created in the form of Kartavya Path”.
Unveiling the statue of Netaji under the India Gate canopy, Modi said, “Today we have installed a huge statue of our ‘rashtra nayak’ (hero of the nation) Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. During the period of slavery, there was the statue of the representative of British monarchy here. By installing Netaji’s statue here, we have kindled the soul of a modern and strong India. This is a historic moment, an opportunity that is unprecedented. We are fortunate to be witness to this historic day.”
Modi praised Netaji as a ‘maha manav’ (great man). He said: “He was beyond the challenges of posts and resources. His acceptance was such that the entire world respected him. He had courage and self-respect. He had ideas and vision. He had the leadership capability and policies. Netaji used to say, ‘India is not a country which will forget its glorious history. India’s glorious history is in the blood of every India and in its traditions.’ Netaji was proud of India’s heritage and he wanted to modernize India at a fast pace. Had India followed the path of Subhash Babu after Independence, our country would have attained big heights. But unfortunately, our national hero was forgotten after independence. His thoughts and all the symbols related to him were ignored.”
“It will be our endeavour to ensure that Netaji’s energy would show the path to our country. Netaji’s statue on Kartavya Path will become the medium. This statue will inspire us so that Netaji’s imprint on our policies and decisions must remain forever”, Modi said. “Netaji was the first prime minister of undivided India who hoisted the tricolour much before 1947 after liberating Andaman Islands. At that time, he must have dreamed how we would have felt after hoisting the tricolour on Red Fort. I had this feeling myself, when I had the fortune to hoist the tricolour on the completing of 75 years of Azad Hind government.”
Modi said, “this is not the first time that we removed the mindset of slavery. This is neither the beginning, nor the end. This is a continuous ‘sankalp yatra’ which will go on till we achieve the objective of freedom of mind.”
The Prime Minister said, “This change is not limited to symbols only, it has become part of our policies. We have removed hundreds of laws that were in force since British rule. India’s budget, which was being presented earlier in sync with British time and their parliament for decades, is now being placed on different date and time. By implementing the National Education Policy, we are going to free our youths from the compulsions of studying foreign language. Today our ‘vichar’ (thoughts) and ‘vyavahar’(practice) are being freed from the slavery mindset. This liberation will take us to our aim of a developed India”.
By renaming Raj Path and installing Netaji’s statue under the India Gate canopy, Modi has fulfilled his promise given 25 days ago on Independence Day from the ramparts of Red Fort. He has not only removed the last vestiges of colonialism, but also provided to Indians, a lush, scenic avenue with lawns on both sides along with water canals and fountains, from India Gate to Boat Club.
Built at a cost of Rs 477 crore, the pedestrian walkway is spread across 16.5 km, with four underpasses built at busy junctions to segregate traffic, 74 old light poles restored and 900 new ones added, more than 400 benches, 150 dustbins and over 650 new signages. There are kiosks for state-specific food, toilets and drinking water fountains in the entire area from India Gate towards the former Boat Club. Benches made of red sandstone have been installed in the midst of lawns with lush greenery and trees.
The 28-foot high Netaji statue weighs 65 metric tonnes. It has been sculpted from a huge black granite rock weighing 280 tonnes brought from Khammam, Telangana. It took 26,000 hours to make the statue. Built by Mysuru sculptor Arun Yogiraj and his team. It was brought in a 100-foot long truck having 140 wheels.
The new Parliament building, Central Secretariat, Vice President House and Prime Minister House will now be completed in the next phase. On Thursday, Modi met the labourers who worked on building the huge avenue, with red sandstone benches, pathways and canals. He promised to invite them as guests at next year’s Republic Day parade.
Raj Path deserved to be renamed Kartavya Path. Netaji’s statue deserved to be installed under the India Gate canopy. Removal of all symbols and vestiges of slavery mindset was necessary. It is an issue of national pride and self-respect. Along with this is a practical issue, too. Central government buildings on both side of Raj Path had become old and overcrowded. There were frequent problems relating to vehicle parking, security and air-conditioning.
When Modi took over, he found loads of old files lying in the corridors. He worked on a new plan to make the offices of different ministries efficient and equipped with new state-of-the-art technology, so that a new India can get a new makeover. Work is going on at a fast pace on the Central Vista project, and it is in the final stage. The world shall see the symbols of a stronger India and its proud heritage, soon.

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