Absurdities # 1

In another example of the cultural chauvinism that seems to be spreading around India (Bengaluru anyone?), Mamata Banerjee’s government has decided to change West Bengal’s official name to Paschimbanga, which literally means ‘West Bengal’ in Bengali.

The absurdity lies in Mamata’s rationale for the change:

Announcing the decision, CM Mamata Banerjee said the new name would enable a move up in the alphabetical order, and state representatives will be able to speak early during national-level seminars or conferences. “This will help us so far as administration is concerned,’’ she said.

This switch would only result in West Bengal moving a couple of places up the pecking order.  If ‘administration’ were really the issue, a much simpler mechanism would be to simply drop the ‘West’ from the state’s name.  Quite obviously, this is just more populism on Mamata’s part.  Cheap talk is much easier than actually governing a state and getting into the nitty gritties of policy.



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