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Straight from the Specialists

What’s in a name?


(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

So, Mamata Banerjee, the new chief minister of what is currently known as West Bengal, is proposing to change its name.

A couple of weeks ago they were thinking of changing from West Bengal to Bengal, a recommendation which we at Saffron made to the previous Communist government a few months ago. Now it appears that the new government is considering a new name, which is likely to be Paschimbanga, apparently pronounced Poschimbongo. Banerjee’s own preference was said to be for Bangabhumi.

The whole point of this exercise is to make people living in Bengal feel good about their state and also to attract investment. Since a significant proportion of people in Bengal don’t speak Bengali, it doesn’t seem to be very helpful to introduce a name which is, first of all, in Bengali and, secondly, sounds like somewhere quite other.

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