Kolkata: The West Bengal government`s move
in changing the state`s name to `Paschimbanga` has evoked
mixed response among the people here, from support to
downright opposition and indifference.
Cricketer Debang Gandhi feels that the changed name is
appropriate. "I am happy that the government has settled for
a name that is in our vernacular language."
An all-party meeting, presided over by
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, unanimously decided to rename
the state as `Paschimbanga.`
Expressing happiness that the name `West` has been
dropped from the state`s name, veteran writer and Sahitya
Academy chairman Sunil Ganguly said, "but the word `Paschim`
remains. It would have been better if the name `Bangla` was
adopted since the rest of the country refers to the state as
`Bengal` in English and `Bangla` in Hindi."
To educationist Sunanda Sanyal, `Paschimbanga` is the
best option. "Earlier West Bengal came last during national
presentations owing to its alphabetical position. Paschimbanga
is better," he said.
During the tenure of Jyoti Basu, the Left Front
government proposed the name `Paschimbanga,` while Congress
wanted it to be `Bangla.` Agreeing to the Congress`
suggestion, the government passed a resolution in the Assembly
seeking the change of name to `Bangla.`
This time, however, the Left suggested the name
`Bangla,` while the Congress wanted `Paschimbanga’.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee told
news men after the all-party meeting that the government
wanted to change the name of the state to get the
Actor-film-maker Aparna Sen thinks that the state
should have been renamed `Bengal` to move it up the
"I don`t see the point in renaming the state
Paschimbanga as the letter P is low in the alphabetical
ladder. Bengal would have been better," she said.
Partha Mitra, a medical representative and amateur group
theatre actor, said there has hardly been any change since the
West Bengal had always been referred to as Paschimbangla
"East Bengal doesn`t exist. So why call the state
Paschimbanga?" Mitra asked.
Dissident Trinamool Congress MP Kabir Suman, however,
sees no difference in the new name. "We were already calling
the state Paschimbanga in Bengali. So what was wrong with West
Bengal?" he said.
The BJP, which had objected to its exclusion from the
all-party meet that decided on the change of nomenclature, had
earlier opposed a proposal to drop the word `West` or
`Paschim` from the name of the state, saying that it would be
obliterating a part of history: the partition of India.
"We thank the Chief Minister for retaining `Paschim,`"
a party source said.
To Nitai Biswas, an accountant with a private firm, the
all-party meeting was an attempt in `hoodwinking` the people.
"Did the government make any attempt to ascertain the
opinion of the common people? Who decided to change the
name, the political parties? Were all the political parties
invited? The government is only imposing its whims on the
people," Biswas said.