Kolkata: Education Minister Partha Chatterjee announced on Tuesday to make a proposal to change West Bengal name and call it as ‘Bangla’ or ‘Bongo’ in Bengali, and ‘Bengal’ in English.
West Bengal may soon be known as Bengal in English and Bangla or Banga in Bengali. After decades of deliberation, the first concrete step of renaming the eastern state was taken on Tuesday, with the cabinet adopting the resolution.
It has to be ratified in a special meeting of the assembly, which may take place on August 29 and 30. The resolution will then be sent to the Centre for approval of Parliament.
But before that, the proposal will be discussed at an all-party meeting where the assembly speaker will be present. “The assembly will meet for a special session on August 26 to discuss the matter and adopt a resolution,” said education minister Partha Chatterjee after the cabinet meeting.
The name of the state capital — and national capital till 1911 — Calcutta was changed to Kolkata in January 2001 by the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee-led Left Front government.
Senior bureaucrats and politicians of West Bengal often complained that they were attended to at the end of high-level meetings in Delhi where representatives were called in accordance with the alphabetical order of their states.
If the state gets the new name, it will leapfrog from bottom of the list to the top of the pecking order. “The change in name will be to protect the interests of the state,” minister Chatterjee said.
Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay, a renowned Bengali author, said: “This is actually no change in name. We are merely going back to the old name.” He was referring to the pre-Independence era when a united West Bengal, Bangladesh and some parts of India’s northeast were together known as Bengal. Lyricist and film director Anindya Chatterjee suggested that there should be a referendum to consider the change of name.
After ending the Left rule in 2011, chief minister Mamata Banerjee changed the names of a number of roads, metro stations (Tollygunge station became Mahanayak Uttam Kuma etc.).