Why do Kerala politicians want to change the state's name? | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Why do Kerala politicians want to change the state's name?

Jun 25, 2024 04:22 PM IST

The Kerala assembly had passed a resolution about the change of name in 2023 as well, but did not get the Centre's approval.

The Kerala assembly on Monday passed a resolution for the second time to change the name of the state to ‘Keralam’.

The Kerala state assembly has passed a resolution for the second time to change it's name to Keralam, but why is it important for the state to change it's name? (PTI Photo)(PTI)
The Kerala state assembly has passed a resolution for the second time to change it's name to Keralam, but why is it important for the state to change it's name? (PTI Photo)(PTI)

The Kerala assembly had passed a resolution about the change of name in 2023 as well, but did not get the Centre's approval.

The journey of Keralam

The Aikya Kerala movement in the 1920s called for a separate state based on linguistic grounds for those who speak Malayalam. In 1956, a state for Malayalam speakers was eventually formed. The original name of the state in its language was Keralam. It was changed to Kerala in the eighth schedule of the Constitution.

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The history of the word ‘Keralam’ is linked to many theories. Some people consider it to be linked to the ‘Chera’ dynasty, saying that the word changed from ‘Chera-alam’ - land of the Cheras- to Kera-alam', according to the book Culture and Media: Ecocritical Explorations by P.S Sachindev. The book also speculates that the meaning of the word could be the land of coconuts - ‘kera-alam' - where kera is a local term for coconuts.

During the period in which the Chera dynasty ruled what is now Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Malayalam as a language developed after branching off from Tamil and combining with several regional languages. The Malayalam speaking communities thus formed their own cultural and linguistic bonds that eventually led to the state of Kerala.

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The process of going from Kerala to Keralam

The current resolution now awaits the Centre's approval once again. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has asked that the name of the state must be changed in all languages in the eighth schedule of the Constitution and in all official records.

The demand for the name change has existed for a long time. In 2010, the then chief minister, VS Achuthandan, had raised the issue along with several other legislators, but a resolution couldn't be passed.

A change in the name requires the Parliament's approval and is a difficult process. In 2011, Orissa changed into Odisha under the Orissa(Alteration of Name) Bill, 2010. West Bengal has also tried to change the name of the state to 'Paschim Banga' in 2011 and 2016 but was turned down by the Centre in 2020.

Read more: Kerala Assembly passes resolution to change state's name, to seek Centre's approval

The call for the state being called ‘Keralam’ as it is called in Malayalam has got support from not only the ruling party but also members of the Opposition.

According to ANI, Indian Union Muslim League MP, ET Muhammed Basheer, said, “Instead of Kerala, it is better to have Keralam. That is the proper terminology.”

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