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Breaking the spell

‘With the name of West Bengal, we face grave administrative problems. For example, in meetings of representatives from various states, our turn comes at the end since the name starts with the letter ‘W’. In fact, people doze off when we rise to speak.’ Manas Chakravarty writes.

india Updated: Jul 09, 2011 21:46 IST

‘With the name of West Bengal, we face grave administrative problems. For example, in meetings of representatives from various states, our turn comes at the end since the name starts with the letter ‘W’. In fact, people doze off when we rise to speak.’ - Partha Chatterjee, West Bengal minister for commerce and industries, Indian Express, July 7.

‘Let’s suppose,’ said the chief secretary, “the Centre has Rs 10,000 crore to distribute among the states and union territories. At the meeting, the chap from Andaman and Nicobar starts speaking first. The central representatives have had a nice breakfast, so they say, ‘Ah, life is tough for these poor Andaman guys, give them a thousand crores’. Then it’s Andhra Pradesh’s turn and they get another thousand crore. Assam comes next, they get eight hundred crore. By the time they come around to West Bengal at the fag end of the day, there’s nothing left, so they get a couple of lakhs.”

They must therefore shed the ‘West’ and become simply Bengal. Others would prefer it to be called Banga, or Bangla, although Bangla might be a little confusing, as it is also the name of the local hooch.

But this move to rename West Bengal has been viewed with alarm by other states. Bihar, for example, will shortly issue an ordinance changing the spelling of the state to Behar, which will keep it ahead of Bengal. Uttar Pradesh is allegedly considering changing its name to Bahujan Pradesh. Telangana activists say they do not want a state starting with a ‘T’. A worried Jayalalithaa has proposed changing Tamil Nadu’s name to ‘Associated Districts of Tamil Nadu’, to make it to the list of states starting with A.

Himachal Pradesh says it grows lots of apples and wants to become Apple Pradesh. Kerala is mulling over a move to call itself Arrackland. In a rather desperate move, Uttarakhand proposes to call itself Aardvark. “That’s the first word in the dictionary,” smiled an Uttarakhand minister smugly. But he had not reckoned with the perfidy of the Andaman islanders, who have changed the spelling of their name to Aandamans. In fact, the Centre is now proposing that the country should be called Bharat. “That way,” pointed out a central minister, “we can finally beat China.”

I think this is rubbish. What matters is not so much alphabetology but numerology. The ideal new name for West Bengal should therefore be Bben@ggall. Of course, astrology is also hugely significant. Just imagine, if India had been born on August 14, 1947 instead of August 15, we might have become another Pakistan. The importance of vastu and feng shui should also not be forgotten. For India to get back its vastu, we’ll have to flatten a few mountains and change the course of a river or two.

The best way would be to combine astrology, numerology and alphabetology, added to a positive attitude. Look how powerful the US is because its birthday is July 4. I suggest, accordingly, that we should inaugurate a new country name on July 4, 2013, since 2012 is a bad year according to the Mayan calendar. Oh, I almost forgot, we must add a D before the name for maximum effect — see how Djokovic managed to win at Wimbledon. India’s new name should therefore be Dbhaaarat$t+, the ‘+’ being the positive attitude. And for ushering in a new age of peace and prosperity, don’t forget to place a large crystal at India Gate to absorb all the negative karmic energies. That should do the trick.

( Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint )
The views expressed by the author are personal