West Bengal is going to unify the name. It moved a step ahead to become “Bangla”, with all parties in the state approving the name-change in the assembly today. The new name needs the Centre’s clearance.
It will be “Bangla” in all languages, according to a leader of the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress. On this at least, the ruling party concurs with its rival Left, which had suggested the name in 1999.
Two years ago, a similar move had been stalled after the Mamata Banerjee government cleared a new name with three versions — Bangla in Bengali, Bangaal in Hindi and Bengal in English. The centre suggested one uniform name.
Mamata Banerjee has been angling for a new name for her state for some time now. One of her reasons is that West Bengal comes last in state lists, which means the Chief Minister gets to speak last in meetings, or often not at all.
People wait to cross a road in West Bengal’s capital Kolkata. Mamata Banerjee has been angling for a new name for her state for some time now
It may mean a bump up for the chief minister but the name “Bangla” also has a downside.
Many Bengalis find it difficult to overlook the other meaning of the word; Bangla is a term used for local unbranded liquor.
The state is currently called “Paschim Banga” or “Paschim Bangla” in Bengali.
In 2011, the previous Left government led by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had cleared the renaming of the state to “Paschimbanga”. It was never cleared.
Independence and partition in 1947 led to the division of the province of Bengal into West Bengal, which stayed in India, and East Bengal, which is now part of Bangladesh.