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Paschimbanga: Where's the change dude?

Saturday August 20, 2011 01:57:03 PM, Anurag Dey, IANS

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Kolkata: Finally after all the hoopla, it is to be "Paschimbanga". The rechristening of West Bengal has left many, especially the younger generation, disappointed after the frenzy that had caught on among the people with several possible names being tossed around.

"It's a classic case of much ado about nothing. After the announcement was made, I thought they would come up with a name that has attitude, but I am utterly disappointed. They just merely translated the name to Bengali," Debomita Das, a college student, told IANS.

The entire state was caught up in the excitement of thinking of a new name and the topic ruled the charts everywhere, be it colleges or office canteens or the dining table at homes or restaurants. From "Bengal" to "Bangabhoomi" to "Banga Pradesh" - a whole lot of names were being proposed and rejected as the fever caught on.

The new proposed name - a literal translation into Bengali of West Bengal - was anyway in currency in the state.

"Where's the change dude? After so much of hype they came out with nothing. It's so disappointing. We were so excited and hoped for a modern name. I wonder if non-Bengalis would be able to pronounce the name properly," said Nibir Mukherjee, a college dropout.

Even Class 7 student Sayantani Banerjee did not fail to express her dismay over the whole issue. "I had expected it would be renamed as Bengal. We have the Bay of Bengal, the Royal Bengal Tiger, then why not the name of the state as Bengal. The new name is disappointing to say the least."

However, there are many for whom the name change is just not an issue.

"Is it an important issue?," asks Lakshmi Maa, a maid servant, when told about the name change. "How does a name change affect me? If the new name will help improve our condition then it is good. If it can bring us our daily bread then it's good," she said.

Rickshaw puller Lakshman sounded optimistic about the change. "Didi (Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee) is the symbol of change. Winds of change are blowing. Now it is the name of the state, later it would be poor people like us. Our bad times too will change for sure."

Saikat Mandal, a primary school teacher, though expressed happiness over the new name. "I am happy for the new name. The new name stirs Bengali emotions. Ours was the only state which had an English name. Now we have a name which by essence is Bengali."

"People have been clamoring about the word 'Paschim' (west), but I am happy that it has been included. The word reminds that Bengal was divided. It's a painful history which the coming generations must be reminded of. They must at least be aware of the agonies of division," said Ardhendu Chattopadhyay, a retired teacher.

Some felt it would be difficult for non-Bengalis to pronounce.

"Indian politicians never fail to amaze me. First they proposed the name change which I feel was not required. And now they have come up with a name which sounds alien to foreigners, especially those in the West. No matter what new name they come up with people will continue using West Bengal," Indranil Sen, a computer analyst in Washington, told IANS on email.

(Anurag Dey can be contacted at



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