The West Bengal state is the only state in India to have its name in ENGLISH! Moreover the name is totally insignificant as discussed in my earlier post “Only BENGAL, not West Bengal! “. Almost everyone was taken aback by the West Bengal Government’s decision to rename the state as “Paschimbanga (read: Poschimbongo) পশ্চিমবঙ্গ”. Why were the people displeased? Because, West Bengal has been always referred as “Paschim Banga (read: Poschim Bongo) পশ্চিমবঙ্গ” in Bangla, whereas it was known as “Paschim Bangal” in Hindi and several other languages and all of these meant “The western half of Bengal province”. So the question arises, what was the need to rename? When the meaning has remained the same?
The inhabitants of West Bengal expressed their desire to get rid of the “West or Poschim (পশ্চিম)” prefix but the politicians ignored it and unanimously decided to officially use the Bangla version of the state’s name i.e. Paschim Banga. This is absolutely a disagreeable name change; actually it’s not even a change!
Why don’t we support this change? Because,
- It’s a cosmetic change, the meaning of the state’s name still remains unchanged i.e. it doesn’t satisfy the trivial purpose behind the demand for renaming. Apparently it seems like they changed the name just for the heck of it!
- The renaming procedure will not be “free”, so when the government is ready to invest time and money in this name change procedure- it’s expected that this change is welcomed and accepted by the inhabitants of the state firstly! We don’t want the taxpayer’s money to be wasted if the renaming process if it is merely being translated!
- There were better options like “Bongo Pradesh (বঙ্গ প্রদেশ)” or “Bangla Prodesh (বাংলা প্রদেশ)” or “Bharatia Bongo (ভারতীও বঙ্গ)” or “Bongo Bhumi (বঙ্গ ভুমি)” and people were ready to adopt any of these names but all they wanted is to shun the defunct “West পশ্চিম” prefix. We want the name of our state to be in Bangla, but the translation of the existing “West Bengal” is unacceptable!
- Why is it taking so much time to provide our state a meaningful name ? There are several developmental issues that need immediate attention, so the Government should approve the public choice and start working for overall development of our state!
The positioning of the state's name among the list of Indian States in the three cases : West Bengal (left), PaschimBanga (centre) and Bongo Prodesh (right).
Why did they do it? These could be the possible reasons:
- In order to standardize the name in all languages i.e. be it in English or Hindi or any other language, everyone is bound to use only “Paschim Banga”.
- They wanted to keep the ghost of partition alive! They wanted that the state’s name should reflect that another half of Bengal lies across the border. But this issue could be resolved by naming the state “Bharatia Banga” or “Indian Bengal” this would have meant a change in reality..!
- They might be showing us the hope for the futuristic “Greater Bengal বৃহৎ বাংলা” that is to form an United Bengal with Bangladesh J and free from Indian dominium.
- Another concern was to bring the state position alphabetically higher in the list of Indian states for administrative reasons. Even then, by renaming as “Bongo Prodesh” or “Bangla Pradesh” or “Bharatia Banga” , the state would have featured in the 5th position in the list of Indian states; but “Paschim Banga” merely raises the state’s position to 22 on the list from being at the last position i.e. 28.
If they rename it Paschimbanga it will be nothing less than a waste of public money, waste of time, waste of resources, and most important undermining the sentiments of the residents of the state!
জয় বাংলা ! Joy Bangla !