The decision to change the English spellings of five district names has been receiving some appreciation but mostly the people from the districts in question have expressed anger over the matter.
The disapproval is rising from the fact that the people have to change the spellings in their National Identification (NID) card, passport, certificates and other official documents. This will cause a lot of hassle and the government will have to spend a lot of money making corrections.
However, government offices in each district said that the decision will not cause too much hassle for the administrations.
National Implementation Committee for Administrative Reorganizations-Reforms (Nicar), under the Cabinet Division decided to change the spellings on Monday at a meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as chair.
According to a proposal being considered, officials recommend changing the English spellings of districts from Chittagong to “Chattagram,” Barisal to “Barishal,” Comilla to “Kumilla,” Jessore to “Jashore,” and Bogra to “Bagura.”
Reactions in Jessore
Sources from Jessore said public opinion is against the matter. People are opening event pages on social media protesting the decision. Several social and cultural organizations are against the decision of changing the spellings as well.
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Jessore Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) Hussain Sawkat said: “This is a decision made by the government. We will implement it. We are waiting for the gazette regarding the English change of spelling to arrive.”
Jessore Coordination Committee Executive Director Farukh Jahangir Ali Tipu said: “The government is wasting time and money on this unnecessary thing. The state will face a financial loss and nothing else will come out of this.
“All the businesses have to discard and reprint all their papers. Bill pad, invoice papers, rubber stamp, home address, signboards in shops, number plates of cars, trade licence, VAT registration, income tax, birth certificate, examination certificate- all paperwork related to civil life will have to be changed, ” he said.
A lawyer from Jessore, Mustafa Humayun Kabir said: “The current English spellings are causing no trouble for us. Our history and heritage is mixed with the spelling of Jessore. It would not be right to change the spelling.”
Reactions in Bogra
The elderly of Bogra district said Bogra got its name from Sultan Nasiruddin Bughra Khan, son of Delhi’s Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban, when he became the Governor of Bengal. Changing the name of the district will distort history, they said.
On the other hand, Jatiya Party central member Abdus Salam Babu said: “I do not see any issues with the change of spelling. The government has corrected the spelling that was wrong before.”
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Dhunat upazila and district BNP Joint Secretary AKM Touhidul Alam Mamun said: “The district was named after the Bengal governor Bughra Khan. By changing the spelling, the government is distorting history. We now have to change the spelling everywhere. A lot of money will be wasted on this.”
District Election Officer Dewan Md Sarowar said: “For now there will be no issues regarding the matter. When the government updates the software, we will change the spelling in NIDs and everywhere else. This is a government decision. The public does not have to take responsibility for this.”
Reactions in Barisal
Barisal University Dean and writer of Barisal language dictionary Dr Muhammad Muhsin said: “a vocabulary transition such as this is not a bad thing. But the current spelling has been in use for a very long time and it will take a lot of time, funds and effort to make this change effective.”
Researcher Saiful Ahsan Bulbul said: “Due to the change of spelling, it will be easier for us to showcase our regional identity on international platforms. Writers and the media have to play a special role in this.”
Barisal Citizen's Council Member Secretary Enayet Hossain Chowdhury said: “This was not an important change to make. But our love for our mother tongue is coming through with this change.”
Barisal Education Board Controller of Examinations Professor Anwarul Azim said: “We will have an inter-board meeting after we get an official letter. Initially there will be some trouble, but it will pass.”
Reactions in Comilla
Former principal of Comilla Medical College Dr Mosaleh Uddin Ahmed said: “I think such a change is illogical. The district will not benefit financially from this. Instead, the people are going to suffer through administrative hassle.”
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Comilla City Councillor Begum Susmita said: “The people of Comilla will suffer unnecessarily because of this. We will have to change every official document- including educational certificates.”
Comilla Deputy Commissioner Md Abul Fazal Mir said: “We cannot say anything for sure until a gazette is sent to us.”
Reactions in Chittagong
Former Chittagong University professor Dr Gazi Saleh Uddin said: “There will be complications regarding certificates. It will be difficult to change the certificates of all the university alumni. The government should declare a separate policy regarding this. ”
Chittagong BNP President Dr Shahadat Hossain said: “Chittagong has a reputation in the international platforms. I do not know if the name Chattogram can earn the same effect. It will be a challenge to get the foreigners used to this new spelling as well.”
Chittagong Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Elias Hossain said: “We have not gotten any official instructions regarding the spelling change yet. We will have to make a lot of changes after we get the official notice. We will have to correct the ID cards as well. ”
This article was first published on banglatribune.com