AAP’s Gurgaon candidate Yogendra Yadav has a Muslim name too. His family and close friends call him ‘Salim’, while one of his sisters, Neelam, is known as ‘Najma’. Yadav said he was named Salim by his father as a “secular response” to the murder of his grandfather Ram Singh in a communal riot in 1936.
“My grandfather was a school headmaster. He was killed trying to stop a Muslim mob from entering the school. My father was seven years old then. He also witnessed another massacre during the Partition. It was after that he decided to give his children Muslim names,” Yadav said.
However, due to societal pressure, Salim’s official name was changed to Yogendra at the age of five.
Aam Aadmi Party leader leader Ramzan Chaudhary, who did not know about it earlier, said he was confused when Yadav’s family members called him Salim.
“About seven years ago, I came to know that Yogendra was called Salim within the family,” said Chaudhary, member of AAP’s Haryana election coordination committee.
In 2007, he happened to stay at Yadav’s Model Town house in Rewari.
“Yogendra’s sister Poonam, who is a doctor and works at a hospital in Rewari, asked me ‘Are you friend of Salim Bhai?’ I did not understand but later I came to know she was calling Yogendra as Salim,” he said.
Yadav’s wife Madhulika Banerjee, who is an associate professor at the University Of Delhi, also calls her husband Salim.
“Yogendra Yadav as well as his ancestors have this great feeling of patriotism. The family is one of the most respected in the region,” Jaswant Singh Yadav, a retired Delhi Police officer and resident of Saharanwas village in Rewari, told.