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Cultural activists protest West Bengal's renaming plan

By bdnews24.com
20th-Oct-2016       
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Bangladesh's Sammilito Sangskritik Jote, the central platform of cultural activists, has called for a rethink by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banarjee's cabinet to change the name of the Indian state.
They called the decision 'shortsighted' and a 'political stunt' by Mamata.
A part of Bangla-speaking people was put in West Bengal through the Partition of India in 1947.
The other part, put in Pakistan as its East exclave, snatched independence to emerge as Bangladesh in 1971.
On Aug 8 this year, Mamata's cabinet approved a resolution to call the Indian state, actually located in eastern India, "Bengal" in English - one of India's official languages.
State lawmakers would also get to choose between the Bengali names "Bangla" or "Bongo", said state minister Partha Chatterjee.
The feisty Banerjee, 61, had complained that she barely got a chance to speak in meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi because West Bengal came at the end of a list of India's 29 states arranged alphabetically.
An earlier initiative to rename the state Paschim Banga - or West Bengal in the vernacular - would have moved it only about a quarter of the way up the list. But it was never approved by the New Delhi government.
The Sammilito Sangskritik Jote organised a meeting at Dhaka University's TSC on Tuesday to protest against the resloution passed by Mamata's cabinet.
Jote leaders said the decision would put Bangalee nationalism, Bangla language, its history and tradition in question.
Jote President Golam Kuddus said the decision to change the name "before nurturing and developing Bangla culture will be suicidal".
Drama personality Nasir Uddin Yusuf Bachchu said the change of the name would risk the "Joy Bangla" slogan being mixed up with West Bengal.
A committee was formed in the meeting to coordinate the protests.
Kuddus said the committee would send a protest letter to the foreign ministry.

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