January 28, 2023 at 12:00:00 AM
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Rashtrapati Bhavan's Mughal Gardens renamed as Amrit Udyan
The iconic Mughal Gardens at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President's House, will now be known as 'Amrit Udyan' to commemorate 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav', 75 years of Independence. The 'Mughal Gardens' signage was removed, thrown into a bulldozer, and replaced with the one that read 'Amrit Udyan' on Saturday afternoon.
A Rashtrapati Bhavan statement credited President Droupadi Murmu for renaming the lawns. However, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra hailed it as "yet another historic decision of the Narendra Modi government to break the shackles of mental slavery." Others pointed out that the parks were so named since the Mughal style of gardens had inspired it.
At least until Saturday evening, the Rashtrapati Bhavan website acknowledged the origins of the Mughal Gardens. "The Amrit Udyan draws its inspiration from the Mughal Gardens of Jammu and Kashmir, the gardens around the Taj Mahal and even miniature paintings of India and Persia," it stated. It credited Sir Edwin Lutyens for bringing together two different horticulture traditions together for the gardens, the Indian and Western, that is the Mughal style and the English flower garden. "Mughal canals, terraces and flowering shrubs are beautifully blended with European flowerbeds, lawns and private hedges," it states.
President Murmu will grace the opening of the gardens, Udyan Utsav 2023, on Sunday. "On the occasion of the celebrations of 75 years of Independence as 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav', the President of India is pleased to give a common name to the Rashtrapati Bhavan gardens as 'Amrit Udyan'," Navika Gupta, Deputy Press Secretary to the President, said in the statement. While the several gardens in Rashtrapati Bhavan will now collectively be called 'Amrit Udyan', It wasn't clear whether the name 'Mughal Gardens' might survive as that of a specific garden.
The government had last year renamed Delhi's iconic Rajpath as 'Kartavya Path'. The renaming of the stretch and other institutions is in line with the Centre's effort to remove any trace of the colonial mindset, or so it has maintained. "Rashtrapati Bhavan is home to a rich variety of gardens. Originally, they included East Lawn, Central Lawn, Long Garden and Circular Garden. "During the term of former Presidents Dr A P J Abdul Kalam and Shri Ram Nath Kovind, more gardens were developed, namely Herbal-I, Herbal-II, Tactile Garden, Bonsai Garden and Arogya Vanam," the statement issued on Saturday said.
This time the gardens (Herbal Garden, Bonsai Garden, Central Lawn, Long Garden and Circular Garden) will be open for about two months from January 31, 2023.