Bengalis do it better
I note our brethren to the west have finally gotten around to renaming their state as Bangla. A couple of years back, they toyed with the notion of having three names: Bangla, Bengal, and Bangaal, in Bangla, English, and Hindi respectively.
I know Bengalis do it better, but three names from one was taking the biscuit (or is that biskoot? or pitha? Things are now getting confusing with all this name-changing. And also food is additionally complicated lest one get accused of being in cahoots with the supposedly dastardly Nadiya Hussain, apparent besmircher of the fair face of Bangladeshi culinary honour and reputation).
However, after a process that can only be called Bongo Bingo, they did the politically correct (literally) thing of settling on one name for the erstwhile West Bengal. I, of the free and independent state of the Bangla peoples, had a few suggestions: The Lesser Bengal, Subjugated Bongo, Imperial Bengal, Bangla Pradesh, East or West: Bengal is Best.
An online poll showed Bong to have gotten many hits. In the end, this was ditched because during monsoon season, everyone would refer to it as the Water Bong.
So it seems it hasn’t occurred to anyone that having a Bangla and a Bangladesh might give rise to some confusion. Furthermore, we have failed to explode with our usual self righteous indignation (“indignation” looks as though it should be the correct term for an angry country, doesn’t it?).
Perhaps a joint parliamentary committee should have toured Slovakia and Slovenia. Or, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Papua New Guinea. Or, Guyana and French Guyana. People have actually booked for Dakar Senegal, whilst intending to come to Dhaka.
But then, no one bust a fuse when Bangalore became Bengaluru. Although I suspect we were mollified when a rumour went around that Bengaluru actually means “we want to be Bengalis.”
Also, the question arises as to what they will call themselves? Will people of Bangla be Banglatis? Or Banglayas? Or Banglalas?
To differentiate ourselves further and establish a distinct brand identity, away from the above and the hereto traditional Bongs, Bings, Bangoos, Bingos, we should legislate to become Bangers. This is who we are. We are more dynamite than dynamic. We are more populous than popular. In a word, we bang.
Then again, perhaps taking a leaf out of their book, perhaps we should match them for cheekiness. Should we rename ourselves as East India? It would be great for tourism, not to mention boost global interest in our cooking and related export orders of ingredients. It would be easier for foreigners to locate on a map.
It would be a gentle reminder for those of our increasingly stridently nationalist neighbours that we are not an “other” people to be demonized but much the same.
Same same but different. Lungis, saris, rice is nice. Well, apart from that we be deshis, not desis, and none of that rasagola nonsense, not when there is roshogulla to be had. Likewise, we’ll call you shaala and baashtard as we please.
We toil under the same sun, see the same stars at night, thrive or wither on the same monsoons, our very lives depending on the same rivers.
Alas, I see this currying little favour or flavour, as inevitably, some wags would name whichever of our ruling parties, as The East India Company.
Shammi Huda is a businessman.