MOHALI: Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar (SAS Nagar) or Mohali, has been rechristened as Ajitgarh, following approval of Union home ministry on Sunday.
During the tenure of former President of India Giani Zail Singh as Punjab chief minister from 1972-77, Mohali, which was named after a cluster of villages around Mohali village after the division of Punjab and Haryana in 1966, was renamed as Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar in the memory of the eldest son of Guru Gobind Singh, Sahibzada Ajit Singh. He had laid down his life at the young age of 18 fighting Mughal forces.
Political observers state that the name change never really gained any popularity as locals as well as those in power felt that the name was too long and preferred using Mohali.
An earlier proposal renaming SAS Nagar to Ajitgarh was also proposed in 1980s along with renaming a town near Phillaur to Ranjitgarh, in the memory of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It was felt at that time that the name, SAS Nagar, was too long and the shorter, Mohali, should instead be used.
However, Sunday's news of the name change to Ajitgarh has even taken Mohali-based government officials by surprise who are unaware of any such proposal sent to New Delhi.
Speaking to TOI, Mohali deputy commissioner Varun Roojam said, "We have not yet received any official communication regarding the change in name since today is a Sunday. Once we receive the official communication from New Delhi, only then I would be in a position to comment on this development."
He said, "I am not aware of any proposal regarding changing the name again from SAS Nagar to Ajitgarh, and have asked officials in the district administration to look for any such communication."
Locals too are somewhat surprised and slightly disappointed about change. Mohali-based Vikrant Singh Chaudhary said, "Re-naming an already renamed place would just add to the confusion. It's a good thing that everybody knows Mohali or SAS Nagar, but I believe that apart from official use residents would rarely use the name Ajitgarh to refer to Mohali."
Abhijit Prashar, TNN Feb 13, 2012