NEW DELHI: West Bengal will now very likely be called just ‘Bengal’ when it’s being referred to in English, and ‘Bangla’ or ‘Banga’ when it’s referred to in Bengali.
The state government’s cabinet on Tuesday okayed a proposal to this effect, and that proposal will be forwarded to the Centre after it’s ratified by the West Bengal Assembly, in a special session that is expected to be held soon.The state Assembly is very likely to ratify this proposal because the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) has a majority in the House.
The long-standing demand for a change in the name of the state received the nod of the state Assembly on Tuesday.
If the name change gets across the board approval, it would require a Constitutional amendment to effect the change.
In the Bengali language, the state is currently referred to as ‘Pashchim Bengal’, which translates to ‘West Bengal.’ The proposal is looking to change it to either ‘Bangla’ or ‘Banga’, in Bengali. This would then gel with the already in effect change in the spelling of the state capital Kolkata, which was once officially called ‘Calcutta.’
That it is referred to as ‘West’ Bengal rather than just ‘Bengal’ is seen by some as the reflection of a colonial hangover. That’s because the British partitioned the then ‘Bengal province’ to Hindu-dominated West Bengal and Muslim-dominated East Bengal.
The latter isn’t called ‘East’ Bengal anymore. It was called East Pakistan after Partition and then Bangladesh after it won independence from Pakistan in 1972. In fact, there was no need to call India’s state ‘West’ Bengal after it won independence from the British.
For example, Punjab – which the British had divided up as ‘West’and ‘East’ Punjab – was called just that by both India and Pakistan after Partition.