God’s Own Country wants to be renamed as Keralam, and adopts a unanimous resolution

The Assembly resolution is no guarantee that the name change will be effected. West Bengal tried to rename itself Bangla and failed.

ByK A Shaji

Published Aug 10, 2023 | 9:15 AMUpdatedAug 10, 2023 | 9:15 AM

Kerala to Keralam

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name, would smell as sweet.”
​— Shakespeare​, Romeo and Juliet.

​For Keralites, it seems the name matters a lot. That’s why the state Assembly ​unanimously passed a resolution on ​Wednesday​, August 9, asking the Union government to change the name of the state to Keralam in the Constitution and other documents, where ​it is currently ​described as Kerala.

“​In Malayalam, our state is known as Keralam. ​When the states were reorganised based on language on November 1, 1956​, we preferred Keralam as the new state’s name.​ The need to ​integrate Malayalam-speaking ​regions of Travancore, Kochi and British Malabar was ​historic and evolved during the freedom struggle. But, our state is listed as Kerala in the First Schedule of the Constitution​ as a continuation of the British usage,” said the resolution moved by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

“This assembly unanimously requests the Union Government to immediately amend it to Keralam under Article 3 of the Constitution. This House also requests that our state be renamed as Keralam in all the languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution,” the resolution further said.

The chief minister said the resolution was moved under Rule 118.

The resolution was accepted by the Congress-led UDF Opposition, which did not suggest any amendments or modifications.​

Subsequently, it was declared unanimously adopted by the assembly by Speaker AN Shamseer based on a show of hands.

Related: How Travancore and Cochin quelled demand for shifting capital

What happens now?

With the state Assembly unanimously passing the Keralam resolution, it will be sent to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The MHA will seek the views of various stakeholders, including the intelligence services, and the Ministry of External Affairs.

If the response is positive from all stakeholders, a Bill to effect the name change will be introduced in Parliament — where it requires only a simple majority to pass. Once the President’s assent is received, the name change comes into effect.

It may be noted that the Assembly resolution is no guarantee that the name change will be effected.

The West Bengal Assembly, too, passed a resolution calling for a change in the state’s name to Bangla. The idea was stymied by the Ministry of external Affairs on the grounds that the new name could be confused with Bangladesh.

On the other hand, the name changes of Uttarakhand (earlier Uttaranchal) and Odisha (Orissa) went through without a hitch.

Also Read: Renovated Travancore House in Delhi, who is its real owner?

Showcasing Keralam

As a prelude to the resolution, Vijayan said his government intends to organise a mega exhibition on Keralam formation day of November 1, highlighting the state’s unique resources and cultural heritage in the capital Thiruvananthapuram.

The agro-industrial progress of the state also would be on show, along with achievements in advanced technology.

“Organising this event, ‘Keraleeyam 2023’, which presents Kerala to the world, is a huge undertaking. A comprehensive organising committee will be formed for its successful implementation,” he said.

This committee will include the chief minister, other ministers, the Speaker, the Opposition leader, former chief ministers, Thiruvananthapuram MLAs, MPs, other people’s representatives and prominent figures in art and culture.

Keraleeyam 2023 will be organised by coordinating the activities of 20 committees.

A meeting of the organising committee is scheduled on 14 August at Sankaranarayanan Thampi Hall of the Assembly, he said.