City anchor: Fish market named after freedom fighter 14 yrs ago, now the stink

Almost 14 years after it came to be, the Ghazipur machli mandi is raising a stink, and it's got nothing to do with the tonnes of seafood sold here.

The name of the machli mandi, Shaheed Ashfaqullah Khan fish market, has offended some who believe naming a fish market after a freedom fighter demeans him. As a result, Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu Hind — an organisation formed in 1903 to promote Urdu — has started an online petition and sent a letter to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, requesting that the name of the market be changed.

But for the traders at the market, the name is a matter of pride.

The controversy started on Monday, after Ather Farouqui, general secretary of Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu Hind, wrote to Dikshit and started the online petition.

In his petition, Farouqui wrote: "It is a matter of national shame that the insensitive authorities of the Delhi government have so recklessly renamed the fish market at Ghazipur as Shaheed Ashfaqullah Khan Fish Market supposedly to honour the memory of this great son of India and famed Urdu poet. To set this right, I have sent a scathing letter to the Chief Minister of Delhi."

At the fish market, not many agreed with Farouqui.

President of the market association Imran Ahmed said none of the traders felt that Ashfaqullah Khan's name had been sullied. In fact, he said, it was a matter of pride.

"Ashfaqullah Khan was a great man and a hero to us as well. What is wrong with this market being named after a freedom fighter? Is a fish market a demeaning place?" Ahmed said.

He said the fish market was given the name in 1999, a few months before the market was officially opened.

On the other hand, Farouqui wants that the authorities put the "bungle" right immediately. "Do we want to pay homage to our national heroes with glowing commemorations or shower them in a deluge of crabs, lobsters, tuna and prawns? Is this the legacy we want to bequeath to our young generation?" Farouqui wrote in his letter to Dikshit.

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