Way back in the early noughties of this century (obviously!) I asked a friend by name Bose, ” West Bengal is West of what?”.
He was not happy about the question, leave alone wanting to give an explanation. However, i used to keep telling him that he hailed from the East of India, but called himself a WEST BENGALI. During one of those fibbing sessions, a Punjabi friend joined in and said, ” see, we from East Punjab and Patiala renamed our state as PUNJAB. But you guys in West Bengal still keep moping about the PARTITION OF BENGAL, and call your state as if Dakha is still the epicentre of Bengali culture.”
This got the goat of my Bengali friend, who said something which I am yet to recover from:
SEE, MY DEAR FRIEND, IN OUR COUNTRY THERE ARE VERY FEW CULTURES WHICH ALSO FALL OUTSIDE OUR COUNTRY.
THE MOST DOMINANT OF THOSE CULTURES ARE THE TAMIL CULTURES, BENGALI CULTURE AND THE PUNJABI CULTURE.
IF ONE GOES BY THE POPULATION OF THE BENGALIS, BANGLADESH HAS 14 CRORE BENGALI SPEAKING PEOPLE, WHEREAS WEST BENGAL HAS JUST HALF THAT NUMBER. IF YOU LOOK AT THE PUNJABI CULTURE, 45% OF PAKISTANIS ARE PUNJABIS, THEREFORE THERE ARE AROUND 8 CRORE PUNJABIS IN PAKISTAN WHEREAS PUNJAB HAS HARDLY 3 CRORE PUNJABI SPEAKING PEOPLE. SO ESSENTIALLY, NEITHER CALCUTTA NOR AMRITSAR FORM THE CORE OF THE BENGALI OR THE PUNJABI CULTURE POPULATION-WISE.
THE EPICENTRE OF BENGALI CULTURE IS STILL DAKHA AND THE EPICENTRE OF PUNJABI CULTURE IS LAHORE. SO WHAT IS THE POINT? YOU PUNJABIS HAVE TRIED TO HIJACK THE INDIAN HINDI CINEMA IN A PUNJABI WAY. BUT THAT ALONE WOULDN’T BE SUFFICIENT TO MAKE UP FOR THE NUMBERS. THE QUICKER YOU RECONCILE WITH THE REALITIES, THE QUICKER YOU WOULD ACCEPT YOUR SMALNESS AND STOP PLAYING THESE CULTURAL BULL-S**T! ONLY THE TAMIL CULTURE HAS ITS EPICENTRE IN TAMIL NADU AND THERE IS NO POSSIBILITY OF CULTURAL INVASION.
SECONDLY BOTH OUR (BENGALI AND PUNJABI) CULTURES ARE DIVIDED ACROSS THE RELIGIOUS LINES WHEREAS TAMIL CULTURE IS ASSURED OF ITS RELIGIOUS INTEGRITY. EVEN MOST OF THE EXPATRIATE POPULATION ARE HINDUS AND I DO NOT SEE THE MALAYSIAN, SINGAPOREAN, SRI LANKAN TAMILIANS (!) converting themselves into muslims or christians or buddhist.”
I was stunned at the analysis based on the ethnic demographics of the Bengali, Punjabi and Tamil cultures. His point was that when the economic strength of these neighbouring countries rose, automatically, their cultural expressions are likely to rise and make their cultural expressions dominant.
So in effect Bose believed that there was nothing wrong in calling WEST BENGAL as WESTERN PART OF BENGAL CULTURE. If that were to be the deep rooted belief, then there is nothing wrong in naming WEST BENGAL as PASCHIMBANGA!
Good luck to didi!