Hazratganj and Atal Chowk

Once there was this man who proudly represented Lucknow as his Lok Sabha Constituency, Lucknow in turn was proud to be associated with the man who was also the then Prime Minister of India. It can even be argued that the present candidacy of Rajnath Singh into Lok Sabha is a Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s legacy.

However the name change of Lucknow’s most iconic landmark- Hazrat Ganj to Atal Chowk is a symptom of how much things have changed from the days of the Atal himself.

Known to be a simple man with simple needs, Atal Bihari Vajpayee served this nation for all his life. His approach was always to build on the foundation laid down by his predecessors. To him inept work of congress before him was just a missed target, not a reason for his own failures. In fact during his reign, we as teenagers believed to see this country of ours to be the counted as developed country by 2020.

Well 2020 is almost upon us and in last eighteen years, BJP has ruled almost nine years. Atal’s legacies remain bad shape. His unfinished work remained enshrine as the national law reforms – to guarantee time bound justice, national river interconnection policy – that would have given India respite both from flood and droughts, National road connectivity – now being undertaken as Bharatmala. Atal’s dreams were as big as dreams of Nehru when he created the Industrial aspect of the country. Make in India – at least in our minds – was supposed to be a formalization of those dreams.

Today as most of his dreams remain unfulfilled, the people who are supposed to work towards it are helping themselves by renaming historic crossroads. Atal’s legacy will not be defined by Hazrat Ganj crossing. At best it will be a metro or a city bus station (aka. Rajeev Chowk of Delhi). Ganj will remain Ganj, just as Atal’s dream will remain our collective dreams and may be realization of next generation.

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