If everything will go positive then West Bengal will get a new name just ‘Bengal’. Bengal CM Mamata Bannerjee’s cabinet on Tuesday proposed to omit West from West Bengal. The new name would be ‘Bengal’ in English and ‘Banga’ or ‘Bangla’ instead of Paschimbanga in Bengali.
This is the third attempt to change the state’s name. Initially, Jyoti Basu Government gave the proposal in 1999. After 17 years, again the political debate over the name change will play a crucial role.
But for the approval this process will go through a long term process. Now the State Assembly to debate name change resolution during the three day special session from Aug 26. If the amendment would be passed then the resolution will be sent to the President through the Home Ministry. After that the Constitution Amendment bill will have to be introduced in Parliament since it demands the changing of the constitution’s 1st Schedule that lists states and Union Territories.
This bill needs two-thirds majority of both the houses to be passed. Then it goes to the President for consent.
Efforts taken over the name change
In 1999, West Bengal assembly discussed the name change of the state. The then CM Jyoti Basu led government proposed the name ‘Paschimbanga’ but Congress preferred only ‘Bangla’. At last, Centre NDA government did not show their interest and nixed the proposal.
In 2011, after getting the power, new TMC government proposed the name change and left preferred ‘Bangla’. But this time again Congress opposed this. All parties agreed on ‘Paschimbanga’. CM Mamata Banerjee favored ‘Bangabhumi’ but accepted ‘Paschimbanga’ as consensus choice.
A two member panel of ministers Partha Chatterjee and opposition leader Surjya Kanta Mishra recommended ‘Paschimbanga’ which was accepted commonly. But this time UPA govt at the centre was not interested.
Alphabetically, the name West Bengal comes last when all the 29 states in India are listed. If named Bengal/ Banga/ Bangla then it would come to fourth position after Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
In all India meetings the official representatives of the state have to wait for a long time for their turn to present the state’s case. In that case, the other state representatives would lose their interest to hear because of the alphabet ‘W’. The recent victim is the CM herself at the Inter-state council meeting where she waited for six hours and at last got only 12 minutes to present the state’s problems.
Mamata Banerjee often complained she got very few time to discuss the problems of West Bengal.
Debate over the name
Well, not everyone is happy with the proposal of name change.
Union Minister Babul Supriyo didn’t like the idea and he felt “Banga (pronounced Bongo) is an instrument and we shouldn’t have this name”.
Many Bengalis expressed the grievance; the alternative ‘Bengal’ is used for local unbranded liquor, so it’s a problem. A teenager joked, “On one hand you have liquor on the other you have an instrument. We don’t know which way to go.”
Most suggested the name ‘Bengal’ as it makes the online applications easier.
Many historians didn’t like the idea, they felt dropping west from ‘West Bengal’ would be an attempt to forget the history of the Partition of undivided Bengal in 1905.
Writer Nabanita Deb Sen preferred ‘Banga Bhumi’ or ‘Banga Pradesh’ as only ‘Banga’ is ‘too bald’. Another writer said changing the state’s name will not change the GDP. “The term West Bengal is our history, our heritage. How can we erase that?”
If the name is changed then the CM will get a chance to present the states problem much earlier than other states. But will it really change the social and economic condition of West Bengal?
What is your opinion over the name change of West Bengal? Please share your views