Rajiv Chowk: that’s Rajiv Gandhi, not Goswami, Wikipedia

July 2, 2014

Rajiv Gandhi was the former prime minister of India. Rajiv Goswami was a Delhi student who set himself on fire in 1990 to protest job reservations for India’s so-called backward classes. Gandhi has a place named for him in the middle of New Delhi: Rajiv Chowk.

This is true everywhere but on Wikipedia. The online, user-maintained site’s entries for Rajiv Chowk (formerly Connaught Place), which is in Delhi’s central business district, and the city’s busiest metro station, say both were named after Rajiv Goswami.

The colonial-era Connaught Place, designed to resemble two concentric circles with a manicured park in the centre, was renamed by a Congress-led government in 1995. The inner circle was named Rajiv Chowk after Rajiv Gandhi, the former Congress prime minister killed by a suicide bomber in 1991. The outer circle was called Indira Chowk to honour his mother Indira, who had been assassinated nearly a decade earlier.

Regardless of the errors on the two Wikipedia pages, Rajiv Gandhi is in no danger of losing his status as India’s most commemorated political figure – at least in terms of government schemes.

Although the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Hyderabad looks set to be named after a former regional leader, the newly elected government under Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party is apparently not interested in renaming government schemes that carry the Gandhi or Nehru names.

In 2009, an application under the Right To Information (RTI) Act showed 450 government projects, schemes and institutions were named after three members of India’s premier political family —  Rajiv Gandhi, his mother Indira and grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first prime minister — with around 200 carrying Rajiv Gandhi’s name.

(Editing by Robert MacMillan; Follow Tony on Twitter @tonytharakan and Robert @bobbymacReportsThis article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced in any form without permission)

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