“It has been unanimously decided by all the parties under the leadership of our chief minister Mamata Banerjee that from now onwards West Bengal will be called Paschim Banga,” state industries minister Partha Chatterjee announced in a media conference Friday.
Chatterjee said the name change would give the state an “administrative advantage” because the letter “P” in “Paschim” was closer to the beginning of the alphabet than the “W” in West Bengal. Paschim Banga means West Bengal in Bengali.
The choice of name was made from among the suggestions of Paschimbanga (West Bengal), Bangla (Bengali) and Bangabhumi (land of Bengal).
Some were proud of the state’s new name:
West #Bengal will be Paschim Banga! -- Up alphabetically, truer to name in the national anthem and initials PB remind you of politburo :-)
While others started puns around the name, suggesting that Manu Chao’s hit tune “King of the Bongo” should become the state’s new anthem.
Since independence in 1947, India has been renaming its cities, landmarks and streets to local language names, in an effort to free itself from reminders of British rule.
In recent years, the city of Bombay became Mumbai, Madras became Chennai, Calcutta became Kolkata, and Bangalore became Bengaluru.
Not all Indians support the name changes, especially if they become longer and more cumbersome to pronounce, such as Victoria Terminus, the site of one of Mumbai’s 2008 terror attacks, which is now Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Others are upset to find that they are now required to call their city of birth an entirely new name.
West Bengal renamed. It is now Paschimbanga! When will this renaming of cities & states stop? #shame
Indian author Samit Basu took to Twitter Friday to express just how ridiculous he found the name change:
This is why Prince changed his name to a symbol.
Now I know what the Oompa Loompas went through.
The excuse for changing WBengal’s name was that it came last in state roll-call. To then pick something starting with P is... oh god. oh god