The name : Arguments over BT Airport:
Overdose of BT ?
What is in a name ? A lot it seems to many who have taken strong objection to the decision of the State Government to rename Imphal/Tulihal International Airport as Bir Tikendrajit International Airport. The objections raised are interesting in the sense that some have based their argument on the ground that the name of the airport should reflect indigenous names or words. Nothing wrong on raising the objection on this ground for indigeneity is the catchword in today’s age when communities, particularly communities who feel they have been marginalised want to assert their identity. This is the case with Manipur but then again it is also important to acknowledge that names of the Meitei people have been Sanskritised for years and those who are in their 30s, 40s and 50s and older would surely have names which do not reflect the indigenous identity of the people. And it also stands that many male and female names are followed by a second name which may not have anything to do with the identity of the land and the people as a whole. This is a fact and objecting this reality would amount to arguing for arguments sake. Another argument against renaming the airport runs along the line that too many landmarks have been named after one personality and as examples they have cited BT Road, BT Flyover, BT Park and BT Bhawan at Chanakyapuri. There may be more but the point that has been raised is acknowledged. Why not name the airport after another personality ? Or better still why not name it after a leader from the hills ? The Government of India has already gone ahead and named a fast patrol vehicle (vessel) and a postage stamp after Rani Gaidinliu.
Here again objections could have been raised on the ground that the term Rani is not indigenous to the tribe to which she belonged but fortunately this did not happen ! Yes the State Government failed to consult the people before naming the airport as Bir Tikendrajit International Airport and this should be a reminder to the Government that when it comes to important decisions such as naming a place of importance, it always pays to involve the people. As noted earlier here, what is in a name and it would far better serve the interest of the place and the people if the Government gives more attention to the airport itself. As things stand today, the road after the entry point to the airport and which leads to the parking lot definitely needs to be broadened. So also the exit road. Why not regulate traffic at the exit point so that vehicles coming out of the airport and headed towards the eastern side on the other side of the road know when it is safe to cross the busy road. How clean are the toilets inside the airport ? These are points which need to be studied minutely to take Bir Tikendrajit International Airport to the level of an international airport which will receive foreign guests. At the moment the debate over the name of the airport is on and it would be in the fitness of things for the Government to give due importance to the voice of opposition raised for this cannot be a case of opposing just for the sake of opposing.