Renamed: Aurangabad’s New Title.

Located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, Aurangabad is a city known for its rich cultural heritage, historical significance, and vibrant arts scene. However, in recent years, a movement has been gaining momentum to rename the city, stirring up debate and discussions among residents, historians, and policymakers alike. This article delves into the controversy surrounding the proposed renaming of Aurangabad, the reasons behind it, and the potential implications for the city and its inhabitants.

The History of Aurangabad

Established in 1610 by Malik Ambar, the prime minister of the Nizam Shahi dynasty, Aurangabad was originally named “Khadki.” It later came to be known as Aurangabad when Mughal emperor Aurangzeb made it his capital in the 17th century. The city boasts a treasure trove of historical monuments, including the iconic Ajanta and Ellora Caves, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the Bibi Ka Maqbara, often dubbed as the “Taj of the Deccan.”

The Controversy Surrounding the Renaming

The proposed renaming of Aurangabad stems from the desire to distance the city from its association with Aurangzeb, the controversial Mughal ruler known for his strict policies, particularly towards non-Muslims. Critics argue that Aurangzeb’s reign was marked by religious intolerance and iconoclasm, tarnishing his legacy in the eyes of many. In response, various groups have been advocating for a name that celebrates the city’s Marathi roots and reflects its unique identity.

The Campaign for a New Title

One of the leading voices in the campaign to rename Aurangabad is the Shiv Sena, a prominent political party in Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena has been pushing for the city to be renamed “Sambhaji Nagar” in honor of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj, the son of Maratha warrior king Shivaji Maharaj. Proponents of the name change argue that Sambhaji Maharaj’s valor and sacrifice make him a more fitting symbol for the city than Aurangzeb.

Implications of the Renaming

The debate over Aurangabad’s new title goes beyond a mere change in name; it raises important questions about identity, heritage, and historical memory. Supporters of the renaming believe that it is a step towards reclaiming the city’s narrative and honoring its Marathi heritage. However, critics caution that renaming the city may be a superficial solution that does little to address the underlying issues of inclusive development and social cohesion.

Potential Challenges and Obstacles

While the renaming of Aurangabad has garnered support from certain quarters, it is not without its challenges. Practical considerations, such as updating official documents, signage, and records, pose logistical hurdles that must be overcome. Moreover, there is the question of how the change will be perceived by different communities within the city and whether it will truly foster unity and inclusivity.

The Role of Public Discourse

At the heart of the renaming controversy is the importance of public discourse and democratic decision-making. As Aurangabad grapples with its historical legacy and future identity, it is essential that all stakeholders have a voice in the process. Civil society, scholars, policymakers, and residents must engage in constructive dialogue to ensure that any decision taken reflects the aspirations and values of the community as a whole.


The debate over renaming Aurangabad is a complex and nuanced issue that reflects the broader tensions between historical memory, cultural identity, and political representation. While the campaign for a new title has struck a chord with many who seek to celebrate the city’s Marathi heritage, it also raises questions about the selective nature of historical commemoration and the need for inclusive narratives that acknowledge the complexities of the past. As Aurangabad contemplates its future, the renaming discussion presents an opportunity to reflect on what it means to truly honor and preserve a city’s legacy.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Why is there a push to rename Aurangabad?

The push to rename Aurangabad stems from its association with Aurangzeb, a controversial Mughal ruler known for his religious policies. Advocates for the renaming seek to celebrate the city’s Marathi roots and distance it from Aurangzeb’s legacy.

2. What is the proposed new name for Aurangabad?

The proposed new name for Aurangabad is “Sambhaji Nagar,” in honor of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj, the son of Maratha king Shivaji Maharaj.

3. How has the Shiv Sena been involved in the renaming campaign?

The Shiv Sena, a prominent political party in Maharashtra, has been a leading voice in advocating for the renaming of Aurangabad to “Sambhaji Nagar.”

4. What are some of the challenges of renaming a city?

Renaming a city involves practical challenges such as updating official documents and signage, as well as addressing the perceptions and sentiments of different communities within the city.

5. Why is public discourse important in the renaming process?

Public discourse plays a crucial role in ensuring that all voices are heard and considered in the renaming process, fostering transparency, inclusivity, and democratic decision-making.

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