Thiruvananthapuram: After Bombay, Calcutta and Bangalore, it's now the turn of God's own country Kerala to get a new name. The state government is considering demands to rename the state Keralam. So, is this aimed at rediscovering the state's linguistic ethos or a populist move with an eye on upcoming elections?
Kerala, more than the name of a state, is a globally-renowned brand in tourism. Now God's own country is all set to get a new name. The government is of the view that the state's name should be written and spoken the way it is in the vernacular.
"We want to change Kerala to Keralam, which is the way it is in Malayalam. This is actually a rediscovery of our linguistic ethos," said state's Education & Culture Minister M A Baby.
The Opposition feels it is a move to divert attention from serious issues.
"The urgent need of the hour is to tackle growing communal violence and price rise. Instead of tackling these issues, the government is trying to divert attention and gain political mileage out of it," said Congress spokesperson M M Hassan.
Many believe the move is aimed at striking an emotional chord among the voters ahead of local body elections. But is the common man impressed?
"It really does not make any sense to me because it is just one alphabet that you are adding. And if that makes a big difference to the state, then I am surprised," said one of the residents of Kerala.
"First the government should bring down the price of fuel and essential commodities, then think if renaming the state is necessary or not," said another resident of the state.
The government is silent about the expenditure for this re-naming exercise. The change will have to be effected in the names of various government departments, websites and boards across the state, putting further strain on the exchequer. But the government says it's a burden that can be borne for the sake of reviving tradition.