Big fuss to change name: Sultan Park

The "Rasrani Bageechaa" that was developed fullest with the beautiful sceneries and a pleasant environment is now almost dilapidated. The fish pond resembled a river that runs in the gardens of kings and queens is now camouflaged with green algae while some parts of it are broken. Most of the colourful fish are dead, and only about two or three are left, that used to get caught at the first glimpse when entered the Park.

The Park's name has been changed to Sultan Park. However, lights of the fountain that is located in the middle of the Park are out of order now. The fountain's water has now changed to green colour with algae and is full of mosquito larvae. It has made the scenery of the whole area ugly.

It is unbearable to go near the trampoline that used to be children's favourite spot because it had not been cleaned resulting lousy odour that comes from the nets due to it getting wet and dry several times.

It shocks seeing the condition of Park, located in the centre where all the wards of the Male' meet and the "Usgekolhu" which is more than 100 years old. Usgekolhu is now changed to a godown for old items.

When the monarchy of Maldives ended, a park was established at the site by President Ibrahim Nasir in 1970s. Planting numerous trees and demolishing the buildings at the site except Usgekolhu made the place a garden. The Park was named "Sultan Park" and was opened for the public. "Sultan" is the English name of the word "Sulthaan" which Maldivians used to call the kings.

On August 21, 2017, former President Abdulla Yameen also further developed the Park and brought significant changes. They established a heritage plaza in the area of Usgekolhu. However, the oppositions at that time made a "big fuss" about changing the English name "Sultan Park" to "Rasrani Bageechaa" denoting to Kings and Queens.

The People that heavily criticized name change are now at the current government. They previously said that changing the name of the place that has such a long history is destroying the past and is vast damage to heritage sites.

However, since they have taken charge of the Park, the place is deserted. In addition, converting the most historical place at the site to a godown, how much attention have they paid to the history?

As soon as the current government came to power, the actions of the government were "beyond weird" resuming the name "Sultan Park" and making it priority number one of the government.

It is in the current government that formed a separate Ministry for heritage. However, the development of historical Park was done only by resuming the old name. No maintenance of the place and neither a glimpse toward the site. "Rasrani Bageechaa" is now left to dilapidate and to become a dump.

Male' City Council Mayor Shifa Mohamed said that Usgekolhu is now changed to godown to store old items. There will be numerous documents related to Rasrani Bageechaa. The materials and agreements have to be reviewed and submitted to the court. She described the other places in Rasrani Bageechaa as useless and wasteful.

"Soon we will have discussions with the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage and decide with public opinions what to do regarding Usgekolhu and "Sultan Park", said Shifa.

Even though Rasrani Bageechaa was developed with spending a considerable expenditure, it was developed in a way that will generate revenue as well for the government. In that regard, a stage for events and the first winter park in the Maldives was established there. However, none of those places is in use now. It has been months since winter parked is closed.

Is there a reason for closing the door for generating revenue from Rasrani Bageechaa while it is being generated with issuing traffic violation stickers? Like the way people gathered for events held at Rasrani Bageechaa, the winter park with a café and other avenues will be prevalent. Why was there a "big fuss" to resume the old name without doing such simple things?

"Billoorige" (glasshouse) that is built 10 feet high enabling to view the whole Park that is more than half a century old is also now deserted. The government of former President Yameen designed the place with classrooms, an art gallery as well as can learn historical information from there. However, it is closed now with "staff only" board, and its staircases that leads to upstairs is closed with nylons.

The previous opposition which is officials at the current government said that they did not want to change "Sultan Park" to "Rasrani Bageechaa" because of the high esteem they have for the name and the place. Today it is left to dilapidate. History is being destroyed, no one is there to look after the site, on what esteem?