West Bengal to be renamed 'Bengal' in English and 'Banga' in Bengali

The West Bengal cabinet today approved a proposal to rename the state as 'Bengal' in English and 'Banga' or 'Bangla' in Bengali, Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and state education minister Partha Chatterjee, said after a cabinet meeting.

"For the sake of the people, culture and tradition, we have decided to change the name in Bengali as 'Bangla' or 'Bongo'. We will put forward the suggestion in the Legislative Assembly. The state's name in English would be 'Bengal'," Chatterjee said.

A special assembly session will be convened on 26 August to discuss the change of name, the minister said.

''The assembly session begins on August 26. We will put forth the proposal of renaming the state for discussions.

''On August 29 and 30, we will discuss the issue and urge all to accept the new name," added Chatterjee

A proposal to change the name of the state has been hanging fire for several years, especially since the TMC-led government took over from the Left Front in 2011. Mamata Banerjee, who took over as chief minister of the state, began her rule by giving new names to existing roads and metro stations after icons of Bengali culture.

Ministers from West Bengal have long been complaining of being called in last to official meetings at the Centre, since alphabetically, the order in which such meetings are scheduled, the name of their state comes at the very end among the list of states.

Also, the name 'West Bengal' is perceived as a relic of the colonial era. The British partitioned the undivided Bengal province into Hindu-majority West Bengal and Muslim-majority East Bengal. The latter was known as East Pakistan after Partition and then Bangladesh after the 1972 war. There is, therefore, no reason to retain the 'West' in 'West Bengal' anymore.

Babul Supriyo, a union minister with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), preferred either Bengal (after the Royal Bengal Tiger) or Bangla (after the language).