On February 26, Gujarat Tourism put out a tweet through its official Twitter handle celebrating the “foundation day” of “India’s first #World Heritage City” — Ahmedabad. According to the tweet, on February 26, 1411, the city was “founded by Sultan Ahmed Shah” of the Muzaffarid dynasty, which ruled over the Gujarat Sultanate (earlier part of the Delhi Sultanate). Naturally, Gujarat Tourism received flak from several Twitter users, including this writer, for its Stockholm Syndrome-esque commemoration of the city’s conversion from Ashaval/Karnavati to Ahmedabad. Although the tweet was later deleted, the episode reflects an incongruent official continuum on certain aspects of history.
Incongruous, because on the one hand, the Centre along with the Assam state government celebrated Lachit Dibox/Diwas (Lachit Day) in Delhi last November to commemorate the 400th birth anniversary of the legendary Ahom commander Lachit Borphukan who defeated the Mughal invaders at the Battle of Saraighat in 1671. Refreshingly, perhaps for the first time, there were official flyers all over the national capital that used the term “invader” for the Mughals and celebrated the life of the Ahom commander. On the other hand, Gujarat Tourism, under the very same dispensation, deemed it fit to celebrate the “founding” of Ahmedabad by Sultan Ahmed Shah. Ahmed Shah was a Muslim of Hindu ancestry who is credited with taking forward Alauddin Khilji’s desecration of the Rudra Mahalaya Temple in Sidhpur (Patan District) and converting parts of it to the “Jami Masjid”, also known as the Adina Masjid.