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Futile Game of the Names


We, the Citizens

By Hugh and Colleen Gantzer

Many years ago, an enthusiastic neta had the names of Delhi’s Connaught Place and Connaught Circus changed to boost the egos of his leaders. Today, they are still called by their old Brit names.

Our CM wants to obliterate all evidence of the presence of the British Raj in Uttarakhand. No one has any right to comment on his personal ambitions but when they affect large swathes of the people of our state then his ambitions become every Uttarakhandi’s concern. And then, Mr Dhami, we have to question your priorities. Merely claiming that you wish to emulate the PM is not enough. A tame tabby cat cannot possibly have the authority, vision or domain of a tiger, to put it in the simplest of terms.

Your ambition to revert to pre-colonial time strikes its first roadblock in history. There were no hill-stations before the British began to rule India. The Mughals did move their capital to Kashmir during Delhi’s sweltering summer but that was all. It was the British who established the practice of having summer capitals in Shimla, Nainital, Darjeeling, Ootacamund and Mount Abu. So if there were no hill stations there were no Malls before the British came to India. You cannot use the Lansdowne argument on all the other hill stations.

This so-called slave-mentality removal attempt seems to be little more than a brownie-earning move which some narrow-minded adviser has fed to you. It is little more than a cosmetic cover for much larger problems. Here, Mr CM, are some of them.

  1. Who was the VIP Guest due to celebrate a birthday in the resort where Ankita Bhandari worked?
  2. Who were the politicians who owned the other unregistered resorts?
  3. Would swabs have revealed any evidence of rape after Ankita’s body had been immersed in swiftly flowing water for many hours?
  4. If not, then should this fact have not been made public?
  5. What is the result of the application made by Ankita’s father for a CBI probe?
  6. What is your government doing about reversing the emigration from high-altitude villages: the so-called Ghost Villages?
  7. What is your government doing about the long–delayed Jumna Water Augmentation Project for Mussoorie?
  8. What is your government doing about the long delayed Mussoorie Sewage Treatment Project?
  9. How did so many high rises come up in Mussoorie when the Carrying Capacity Study carried out by an organisation under the LBSNAA specifically says that there is no more room in Mussoorie for further constructions?
  10. Does the Jal Sansthan still grant NOCs to the MDDA to sanction more water consumption points when it knows that the existing supply does not meet the requirements of Mussoorie?
  11. What steps has your government taken to shut down unauthorised hotels?
  12. Why has your government not issued a White Paper on the projected Cash Flow of the Purkul Mussoorie Ropeway Project?
  13. Who is the so-called French Company involved in the Purkul Mussoorie Ropeway Project?
  14. How does the government intend to disperse the expected hordes of day trippers brought to the terminal station at one end of Mussoorie, across the town?
  15. The proposal to provide electric buggies is not pragmatic because of the absence of charging stations and the fact that electric buggies are likely to be dangerous on water and ice slicked slopes.
  16. Does a single ticket on the ropeway entitle the tourist to an entire buggy?
  17. Why have all these essential details been kept secret?
  18. Who stands to make the greatest windfall from this project?
  19. In your zeal to wipe out all traces of the British, do you also intend to ban English medium education?
  20. Have you, Mr Dhami, sought the opinion of your voters when fuming against the, so-called, traces of slavery?
  21. Here is a thought to take away, Mr. CM. Under the Constitution of India, English is the Mother Tongue of the only community defined in the Constitution. English is, therefore, an Indian language.

These are only some of the problems that need your immediate attention. We wish you the very best of good fortune in solving them.

(Hugh & Colleen Gantzer hold the National Lifetime Achievement Award for Tourism among other National and International awards. Their credits include over 52 halfhour documentaries on national TV under their joint names, 26 published books in 6 genres, and over 1,500 first-person articles, about every Indian state, UT and 34 other countries. Hugh was a Commander in the Indian Navy and the Judge Advocate, Southern Naval Command. Colleen is the only travel writer who was a member of the Travel Agents Association of India.)