The Railways has renamed Tipu Express, which plies between Mysuru and Bengaluru, as Wodeyar Express while an express service from Mysuru to Talaguppa has been named after poet laureate Kuvempu.
The demand was made by Mysuru MP Pratap Simha, in a letter to Minister for Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw a few months ago. His plea was approved and a notification to this effect was issued by the Railway Board on Friday, and the order renaming the train will come into effect from Saturday.
However, Mr. Simha’s critics have slammed the move on the grounds that this was in continuation of the BJP name-changing spree to efface historical legacy of Muslim rulers.
Mr. Simha, in his letter, highlighted the contribution of the Wadiyars to the development and expansion of railways in the then princely Mysore state.
Similarly, the Talguppa-Mysuru Express has been renamed as Kuvempu Express after the poet laureate, who was born in Tirthahalli in Shivamogga district.
While there is no controversy over renaming the Talguppa Express after Kuvempu, the renaming of Tipu Express has drawn a mixed response.
A section of railway activists, who constantly bat for better amenities for passengers, said there was no doubt that the Wadiyars of Mysore made immense contribution for expansion of rail connectivity in the State. The authorities could have honoured the Wadiyars with a new train and a new rake instead of renaming an old train, said the railway activists who did not wish to be named and wade into the controversy.
But Mr. Simha had, in the letter, justified his demands on the grounds that there was no railway system in India during the regime of Tipu Sultan while the Wadiyars had invested heavily in promoting railways as a means of fast transportation and ensure timely relief during famine.
Tipu Express was flagged off on April 15, 1980 as a superfast train connecting Mysuru and Bengaluru, and the train covered the 139 km between the two cities in 3.15 hours chugging along the single-line metre gauge track.