Rasheda Rawnak Khan, teacher of the Dhaka University’s department of anthropology, believes that it is fair enough to change the name of the state since ‘East Bengal’ doesn’t exist. “But using the name ‘Bangla’ might lead to a lot of problems for us in all sense of the term, including our National Anthem. Bangla is the name of a language. People from other countries will confuse between the name of a language and a state. Bongodesh could have been a better alternative,” Khan said.
The National Anthem of Bangladesh was penned by Rabindranath Tagore. It was written in 1905 during the first partition of Bengal when the ruling British Empire had an undivided India’s province of Bengal split into two halves. The first ten lines of this song constitute Bangladesh’s National Anthem. It was adopted in 1971 during its liberation war.
Ever since the name-change proposal was mooted, netizens had begun debating on how it might trigger a strong reaction from some political factions in Bangladesh. Some feared that they can put up a request of wanting to change the National Anthem since “Amar Sonar Bangla” might then refer to the Indian state of Bengal. That, in turn, might instigate an anti-Tagore politics – something that Bangladesh had witnessed when an earlier proposal regarding the name-change had been mooted during the Left regime.
According to Bangladeshi painter and acclaimed contemporary architect Mustapha Khalid Palash, this change will create confusion over who will have more claim to ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’. “Obviously the word ‘Sonar Bangla’ is metaphorically used in the song that we later conceived as our National Anthem unlike ‘Jana Gana Mana’ which was written purposefully. This decision will obviously undermine our National Anthem. When we use the word ‘Bangla’, we feel it is a part of the name of our country without the suffix ‘desh’. There was no need to have three different names of the state in three languages. I have never heard of this anywhere in the world. Now, this will add to confusion. What will people refer to when we say ‘Joy Bangla’?” Palash asked.