‘Paschim Banga’ invokes mixed response in Kolkata

August 19th, 2011 - 9:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Aug 19 (IANS) The West Bengal government’s decision Friday to rechristen the state as ‘Paschim Banga’ has evoked a mixed response among the city intellectuals with a majority of them questioning the use of ‘Paschim’ in the name.

“Where’s the change? It has been merely translated to Bengali. I have strong reservation against the use of Paschim (west) in the name. The change is for the sake of change, there is no essence behind the change. I thought they would use Banga, or Bangabhoomi, but they didn’t,” said Sahitya Akademi Award winning author Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay.

The state government and the opposition Friday unanimously decided to rename the state Paschim Banga, state Industries Minister Partha Chatterjee announced.

Echoing Mukhopadhyay’s sentiments, noted theatre personality Bhibhas Chakraborty said: “It’s no change at all. Why the word Paschim is there? Where’s the place for a Paschim or a West? Ideally it should have been Bangla or Bangabhoomi.”

However, legendary magician P.C. Sircar Jr. expressed happiness over the decision.

“I am very happy and excited. Finally Bengali sentiments have been honoured. No other state in the country has an English name except ours. The new name will remind the coming generation about the painful history of division of Bengal. It will help them grow strong.”

Accomplished stage and film actor Kaushik Sen feels the name-change bears no effect on commoners.

“Those who took the decision of name-change are far more learned people and took the decision for some reason. But how does it affect the common man who struggles for his daily bread? There are larger issues like illiteracy, unemployment to be dealt with.”

“It will only add to the confusion. Many people from foreign countries often ask me if Kolkata and Calcutta are two different cities. Now they would be asking if West Bengal and Paschim Banga are two different states,” quipped Padma awardee and renowned classical vocalist Ustad Rashid Khan.

Celebrated poet and novelist Sunil Gangopadhyay also expressed his reservation over the use of Paschim in the name.

“Paschim is redundant, wonder why it is still there. Wherever you go, people refer to the state as Bengal. You will hardly find anyone saying Paschim or West Bengal. Though I am glad a Bengali name has been given.”

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