Orissa won't stop at Odisha

According to these pro-changers, during the pre-independence period the British rulers had wrongly changed the English spelling and pronunciation of several of the state’s districts and towns for their own convenience. Hence, there is an urgent need to rectify the mistake.

It took more than a year to change the name of the state from Orissa to Odisha which has come into effect from November 1 with issuance of a gazette notification by the government of India. Earlier, a bill in this regard had been passed by both the houses of Parliament and subsequently it had also received the seal of approval of the President.

However, observers believe that it may be easier for the state government to effect the changes in the names of the districts and towns as the move will not require the sanctions of Parliament and the President. It can be done at the state level. Moreover, apart from the local people, the opposition parties in the state have also extended their support to the demand to change the names of the districts and towns. This has made the job easier for the state administration.

Supporting the change

Two important business hubs of the state - Cuttack in coastal Cuttack district and Berhampur in southern Odisha district of Ganjam - top the list of the pro-changers who have demanded that the former should be changed to ‘Kataka’ and the latter to ‘Bramhapur.’

 If the spelling of Cuutack town would be changed to Kataka then Cuttack district would automatically be known as the district of Kataka. The important coastal Odisha town, one of the oldest towns in the country (more than one thousand years to be precise) is also known as the erstwhile capital  of the eastern state. Apart from Cuttack, as many as 12 other districts in the state would have new English names if the state government accepts the name change demand.

 Two north Odisha districts - Keonjhar and Balasore - would be known as Kendujhar and Baleswar. Similarly, the names of two southern Odisha districts - Nowrangpur and Rayagara - would be changed to Nabarangpur and Rayagada. As many as five western districts - Nuapara, Deogarh, Bolangir, Sundergarh and Bargarh - may see their names changed to Nuapada, Debagada, Balangir, Sundargada and Baragada respectively.

Like Cuttack, three other coastal districts - Kendrapara, Khurda and Nayagarh - would be known in English as Kendrapada, Khorda and Nayagada. State capital Bhubaneswar is part of Khurda district.

 According to socio-cultural organisations, there are also several sub-divisional and block headquarters towns whose English names are needed to be changed immediately. Prominent among them are Rairakhol in western Sambalpur district and Aul in coastal Kendrapara district. The English names of both the towns should be changed to Redhakhol and Alli respectively.

  Meanwhile, a debate is still on among the common people whether the decision to change the state’s name from Orissa to Odisha is correct or not. According to a section of the people, particularly younger lot, the state government should be concentrating more on core issues like eradication of poverty and availability of basic needs of the people such as health care, schools, electricity and roads. These basic amenities are still eluding majority of the people in the state. The name changing exercise is a costly and wasteful one which was not needed for a poor state like Odisha.

   It is true that with Orissa turning into Odisha the state exchequer would have to spend a lot of money to effect changes on several things which included change in the signboards and hoardings of office buildings, on the official uniforms of police and others, number plates of government vehicles as well as stationeries such as seals, writing pads and official files.

   However, there are many others who feel happy that at last the state’s name would be correctly spelled and pronounced, especially outside the state. They don’t mind the one time expenditure the state has to bear to throw away the ‘baggage’ of the British rule away permanently.

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