On Friday, 11th September in 2015, Chandigarh will take the first step on being on the International Airport map of the World. The Chandigarh International Airport will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
Though the first flight will start on October 19 to Dubai, it will be only a matter of time before the Chandigarh Airport gets linked to other major destinations of the World. In view of the Punjabis worldwide, there will be great demand for direct and connecting flights to London, Frankfurt, Singapore, and possibly New York, Toronto and Vancouver.
It is unfortunate that on the eve of the inauguration there has been a controversy over naming of the Chandigarh Airport. I think the airport should be named without any hesitation as Bhagat Singh International Airport, Chandigarh in memory of the iconic freedom fighter from this land.
There is no need to insist on replacing Chandigarh with Mohali for the simple reason that Chandigarh is and will remain the capital of not only Punjab but also Haryana, which has an equal stake in the project. Moreover, there is confusion over Mohali’s own name since in records it is still referred to as SAS Nagar.
Naming it after Bhagat Singh will be appropriate for the simple reason that though Punjab had a huge contribution in the freedom struggle, none of the airports had been named after any of the martyrs who hailed from this land.
Look at other names: Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Airport, Ahmedabad, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Airport, Nagpur, besides of course Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi and Rajiv Gandhi Airport, Hyderabad. Since there are airports like Chhatarpati Shivaji Airport, Mumbai named after historical figures, I also feel that Amritsar airport should have been named after Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Naming it after Sri Guru Ram Dass could have been avoided as Sikh Gurus are far too big and sacred than putting their names on airports. I would be very keen to know your opinion on both these things – naming of Chandigarh and Amritsar airports.