West Bengal Cabinet Approves Changing State’s Name to Bangla or Banga

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Mamata Banrjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal. Credit: Wikimedia

Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of West Bengal. Credit: Wikimedia

West Bengal’s cabinet has approved a proposal to change the state’s name to Bangla or Banga. The English version will remain Bengal but the ‘West’ will be dropped.

Earlier, the state government had sent a proposal to the Centre for renaming West Bengal as “Paschim Bango”, but that never got the green signal.

“Now we are giving a new proposal and will convene a special session of the assembly on August 26 to pass a resolution to this effect,” state minister Partha Chatterjee said.

The proposal needs to be ratified by the West Bengal Assembly, in a special session likely to be held on August 29 or 30, before being presented in the Centre for parliamentary approval. If passed, the bill will require a constitutional amendment to be put into effect.

Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay, a renowned Bengali author, told the Hindustan Times: “This is actually no change in name. We are merely going back to the old name.” He was referring to the colonial history behind the name West Bengal, which came about when the British partition Bengal into the Hindu dominated West Bengal and the Muslim majority East Bengal. East Bengal went on to become East Pakistan and after gaining independence from Pakistan was renamed Bangladesh. However, its Indian counterpart remained West Bengal.

“Our CM gets to speak last. There is little time left,” a minister told PTI.

In a lighter vein, the report added that senior officials were pleased that their state’s name will be called at the very beginning of alphabetical roll calls at high-level meetings in Delhi, a nice change from their current position at the bottom of the order.

(With PTI inputs)

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