Name change: Bengal couldn't, but these states could

Name change: Bengal couldn't, but these states could

Photo credit: PTI

When India gained its Independence from the British rule, it had to pay a price: Partition. Among numerous regions that were torn between the conundrum of India and Pakistan, Bengal was one. It was divided into two  East Pakistan (which gave birth to Bangladesh), and West Bengal. 

In 2011, the Mamata Banerjee government tried to change the official name of the state to Paschim Banga (West Bengal in Bengali).  In August 2016 the West Bengal Legislative Assembly passed another resolution to change the name of West Bengal to "Bengal" in English, and "Bangla" in Bengali. But they have failed to persuade the other political parties like CPI(M), Congress and the BJP,  and their proposal has bee turned down by the Central government. 

While West Bengal has failed in its pursuit to attain a new identity, several other states have managed to change their name after independence. 

1. East Punjab became Punjab

During the partition, Punjab was divided according to religion and the Muslim dominated areas were given to Pakistan as West Pakistan whereas the Eastern region was incorporated into India and came to be known as East Punjab. In 1950, the Constitution of India renamed the region as "Punjab". 

2. Travancore-Cochin became present-day Kerala

The United State of Travancore and Cochin and was created on 1 July 1949 by the merging two former Princely States, the kingdoms of Travancore and Cochin. It was renamed as the State of Travancore-Cochin in January 1950. On 1 November 1956, Travancore-Cochin was joined with the Malabar District of Madras State to form the new state of Kerala. 

3. United Provinces became Uttar Pradesh

Created on 1 April 1937 as the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh during British rule, it was renamed Uttar Pradesh on 24 January 1950. The change also preserved the acronym of UP. 

4. Madras State became Tamil Nadu

On 15 August 1947, Madras State became Madras Province, and on 26 January 1950, when the Constitution of India became effective, the Madras State was formed by the Government of India. It was during Annadurai's tenure as the Chief Minister that the name of the state was changed to Tamil Nadu, on 14 January 1969. 

5. When Uttarakhand again became Uttarakhand from Uttaranchal 

It was confusing, bizarre and amusing at the same time. In 1998, the BJP led NDA government renamed Uttarakhand as Uttaranchal, allegedly for its less separatist connotations. Then in 2006, the Union Cabinet of India agreed to the demands of the Uttaranchal Legislative Assembly to rename Uttaranchal state as Uttarakhand. The Uttaranchal Legislative Assembly passed legislation in October 2006, and the Union Cabinet brought in the bill in the winter session of Parliament. The bill was passed by Parliament and signed by then-President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam in December 2006. Since January 1, 2007, the state has been known as Uttarakhand.

6. From Orissa to Odisha

Formerly known as Orissa, the name of the state was changed to Odisha,  and the name of its language from Oriya to Odia, in 2011, by the passage of the Orissa (Alteration of Name) Bill, 2010 and the Constitution (113th Amendment) Bill, 2010 in the Parliament. Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament passed the bill after a brief debate and amendment on 9 November 2010. On 24 March 2011, Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament, also passed the bill and the amendment.