From Kerala To Keralam

Following the renaming trend after Odisha, the Legislative Assembly of Kerala has requested the Central Government to amend the state’s name to Keralam. The respectable Chief Minister of Kerala, Mr. Pinarayi Vijayan had presented the motion on 09th August 2023, which was collectively passed by the members of the Assembly. Congress led Opposition also vouched for the move without suggesting any amends.

This was not the first time that the demand for renaming the state was raised but also in the year 2010 during the term of the then Chief Minister, Mr. VS Achuthanandhan, the issue was called in. However, this ‘Keralam’ resolution is the first which made its way to the Centre’s table.

The resolution stated that ‘Keralam’ is how our state is written in Malayalam and since the days of the freedom struggle, there has been a strong yearning for a unified ‘Keralam’ for those who originally speak Malayalam. Initially, the states were formed based on Linguistic uniformity. Later, based on the State Reorganization Commission report Kerala was unified and named on 01st November 1956. Moreover, it requires revisions to be applied to both the official records and the Constitution, as specified in Article 3. This entails substituting the term “Keralam” in place of the existing phrasing within all the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. {Article 3 covers the establishment of new States and also the changes to its regions, boundaries, or names of existing States.} Likewise, the First schedule in the Constitution of India, 1950, has the list of names of each state in English. There, the name is mentioned as Kerala which now calls for a change to Keralam.

For renaming a state, a constitutional amendment is required to bring about this change that becomes possible only after clearances from various central government Departments. State administration can only put in a plea to Parliament for renaming of the respective State. It is the Ministry of Home affairs who then takes over the procedural requirements. Firstly, No Objection Certificates (NOCs) must be procured from numerous organizations, including the Intelligence Bureau, Ministry of Railways, Postal Department, the Registrar General of India etc. After all this paperwork, if the proposal is flagged green, then the resolution is further introduced in parliament as a bill which must fight its way for its fate.

Although the resolution has been tabled successfully, there have been past instances of proposals being turned down by the Centre. Recently in 2020, the resolution by the state of West Bengal for the name to be amended to Banga in Bengali and Bengal in English was thrashed by the Centre. They had also once previously in 2011 forwarded the resolution for the State’s name to be amended to “Paschim Banga” but it met the same fate.

However, in this scenario the political groups and bi-partisan members of Kerala are strongly supporting this Resolution. Even the political parties with no representation in the Kerala Assembly have reinforced their support in favour of the proposal. This time, Kerala hopes to go from Kerala to Keralam.

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