Kolkata, Aug 2: The Mamata Banerjee government's bid to rechristen West Bengal as "Bengal" has attracted mixed reactions from authors, singers and politicains, with some giving the thumbs up and others frowning at the move.
Announcing the state cabinet Tuesday's decision adopting the proposal to drop "West" from the state's name, state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said a special session of the assembly will be convened beginning August 26 to discuss and pass a resolution to give effect to the new name.
He said that in Bengali, the state currently referred to as "Paschim Banga" or "Paschim Bangla", will now be called "Bangla" or "Banga".
For Sahitya Akademi award winning author Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, it isn't rechristening rather reinstating the state's origianl name.
"For long I wanted the name of the state to be changed to Banga. The name West Bengal is meaningless. The state was originally known as Bangabhoomi in an earlier age. I am happy that the state is being rechristened Banga.
"This is almost the same as the original name Bangabhoomi. After Partition, the name of the state was changed. Many of us did not like it. I would not call it rechristening, rather going back to the original nomenclature," said Mukhopadhyay.
Author Samaresh Majumdar too echoed a similar view.
"We don't have any state or country called East Bengal. So the name West Bengal is also irrelevant," said Majumdar and expressed his preference for "Bangla" over "Banga" as the new Bengali name.
"Banga" is a strict no- no for Bollywood singer turned Union Minister Babul Supriyo.
"Bengal in English is fantastic and makes a great pair with Bangla the State and its language Bangla Bhasha - but not Bongo pleaseeeeee
"Bongo is an instrument that is played, do not want people to crack dirty pun about it," said the BJP Lok Sabha member from the state.
Educationist Pabitra Sarkar pointed out to the alphabetical advantage the new name carries.
"During discussions at the national level, representatives of our state will get a chance to speak earlier. As the present name starts with W, our representatives get to speak last now," said Sarkar for whom changes in the name of cities or states is a natural process.
However, Bengali novelist Tilottama Majumdar wants the name "West Bengal" to continue as a reminder of the state's partition in 1947.
"I cannot accept the new name as Paschim Bangla or West Bengal has now entered deep into our consciousness. The name West Bengal, Paschim Banga reminds us of the historic partition," said Majumdar questioning the logic of the move.
Singer Anidnya Chattopadhay called for a referendum to gauge the opinion of the people.
"For decades, we have known the state as Paschim Banga. If the name is changed now, that will create problems. Earlier also, efforts had been made to change the name. The opinion of the people should be taken. It would be best to conduct a referendum to ascertain whether they want the name changed or not," said the famed singer.