The West Bengal Assembly unanimously passed a resolution to change the name of the state from West Bengal to ‘Bangla’ in all languages.
All parties, including the Left, the Congress and the BJP, agreed over the proposal of name change. The resolution will now be sent to the Centre for its approval.
It was during Partition in 1947 that the British province of Bengal was split into West Bengal, which stayed with India, and East Pakistan (formerly East Bengal) which went to the newly created Pakistan. While East Pakistan went on to become Bangladesh in 1971, its Indian counterpart continued to be called West Bengal.
On August 29, 2016, the state Assembly had passed a resolution to change the name of West Bengal to ‘Bengal’ in English, ‘Bangla’ in Bengali and ‘Bangal’ in Hindi. The Union ministry of home affairs rejected the proposal saying that a state cannot have three different names in three different languages.
TMC sources said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wants to rename West Bengal as it will help the State to move up the alphabetical order in any official circular list prepared by the central government: as of now West Bengal sits at the bottom of the table, but doing away with ‘West’ would help it climb up to no. 4.
On July 16, after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee attended an Inter State Council meeting in New Delhi, she shared her displeasure with close associates, saying she was made to speak at the very end, “after six hours of waiting when none was willing to listen.”
Bengali author Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay welcomed the move and said, “I am very happy that now West Bengal will be known as ‘Bangla’. This could have happened earlier because there is no logic in keeping the prefix ‘West’ after the partition. There was no logic at all.”
However, Former Head of the Department of Sanskrit, Calcutta University, Sitanath Goswami, opposed the move. He said, “With this move, I think there is an attempt to dilute the idea of greater Bangla which was there before the partition. Even Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee fought for this and now it seems that there is an attempt to thin the whole idea by removing ‘West’ from Bengal.”