Wednesday, August 3, 2016

With name change, hurt hearts may finally heal

  | TNN |

KOLKATA: For years, they have lived with the burden of nostalgia that sat heavy on their chest. Nothing can reverse that. The very mention of the name "West Bengal" would dig up fresh wounds every time. Those who say "What's in a name?" will find no favour with senior writers of Bengal, who are still emotional when it comes to the name West Bengal. To them it is a reminder of their amputated past.Time hasn't healed it.

So, when it comes to a name-change, they sound hopeful that at least a bit of that hurt would get erased. "Every time `West Bengal' was mentioned, you would be reminded of the sad fact that there is also an East Bengal," said an emotional Samaresh Majumdar. "Though no one refers to it by that name and calls it Bangladesh today , how can you avoid feeling sore for that tract of land that was also your motherland? A barbed wire divides us, such was our fate... a barbed wire that runs through the heart of our mother." Majumdar is happy that the word "West" may finally be removed, and this will stop reminding him of that past. "I prefer `Bangla' to `Banga', though. It is like one step closer," he sighed.

Even author Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay sounded happy and felt vindicated. He pointed out that efforts were made in the past, but they somehow fizzled out. "We hope that this time the state government sees to its effective conclusion. Both `Banga' and `Bangla' are good. In fact, these are what identify us. West Bengal was sectarian and reminded us of our sore past, of a divide in which we had no hand," he said, reiterating the fact that "West Bengal" had no meaning and was bound to change one day .

West Bengal was hardly a name; it was very impersonal, almost like an address, felt some writers like Bani Basu. "It was like calling a place not by its name but by its geographical location or identity ," she explained. But there are some, like like Nabanita Debsen, who go a step further while expressing their happiness."I would prefer `Bangabhoomi', you know, a name that has that earthy flavour with which you can associate Bengal. I know I am sounding emotional, but what to do?
The topic is such and it has such a touching soul-rending history behind it," she said.

There is no denying the fact that by dropping the prefix "West", the Mamata government is planning to catapult the state right on top of the charts, albeit in name, because now the name would start with a B, felt many. "And that would definitely have an advantage for Bengal, which, because of its name, used to be always way down in recall," reasoned linguist Pabitra Sarkar, welcoming the change.

W Bengal was once one of the highly industrial states of India, up to the time of Dr. B C Roy. I remember when I entered Engg college in 1966, I used to pity the boys from Haryana, Rajasthn and Punjab for I would wonder how they would find jobs in their states after passing. In fact some of the boys did find jobs in Kolkata with HM and HDC after passing in 1972. But by then  Jyoti Basu had come in full form as he started gobbling up all the industries in W.Bengal like Krishna gobbling up the Kaurav and Pandus when He showed the Virat Roop in Chapter 11 of the Bhagavat Gita. Industries vanished and all those boys went back to their states where jobs were plenty. Mamata Banerjee came 6 years ago building high hopes for the people of Bengal which all went to ashes like a Diwali Cracker which goes phissh instead of a bang.
With her new innings, she is again making the same noises as if she will get down to work including the name change from W.Bengal to Bengal. 
Whether it will catapult us into the big league once again is doubtful but at least during the Republic Day parade, it will bring our pavilion fouth after Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. People will at least get to see Bengal as earlier they used to get bored and go away before the W.Bengal pavilion came into view.

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