The West Bengal state assembly on Thursday passed a resolution to change the name of the state to “Bangla”.
The resolution covers changing the name of the state to “Bangla” in three languages— Bengali, Hindi, and English. In order for the change in West Bengal’s name to be finalised, it will need to be examined and approved by India’s Home Ministry.
This comes at the heels of several past attempts by the state government to change the name. In 2011, the West Bengal assembly passed a resolution to rename the state to “Paschim Bango” in Bengali and English, but was denied approval from the Centre.
This was followed by an attempt to adopt three different names in 2016— Bengal in English, Bangla in Bengali, and Bangal in Hindi. The Centre responded by asking the state to come up with one name, and refused to accept three.
The state government has in the past explained that an important factor behind its push for a name change is the fact that West Bengal comes last alphabetically on the list of Indian states. This means that politicians from the state are often the last ones to speak at meetings and gatherings, and don’t get adequate time to do so.
Other states whose names have been changed in the recent past include Uttarakhand, which was known as Uttaranchal until 2006, and Odisha, whose name was changed through the passing of the Orissa (Alteration of Name) Bill, 2010.
The Process Of Changing State Names
In order to change the name of a state in India, a bill needs to be passed in the Parliament. Following consensus within a state assembly, the resolution passed by it is sent to the Central government.
The Centre drafts a bill and sends it back to the state to seek its views on it, after which it is taken up in the Parliament.
Interestingly, a resolution from the state assembly is not the only way states’ names can get changed. The Parliament can also put up a bill to do so without the concerned assembly’s resolution, on the President’s recommendation.