West Bengal makes it mandatory to play state song at all official functions



KOLKATA: The Mamata Banerjee administration has declared the Bengali New Year day as the state day and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s ode to Bengal “Banglar mati, Banglar jol, Banglar bayu, Banglar fol” as the state song.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. (File)
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. (File)

“The state day shall be celebrated by all the people of West Bengal with respect and dignity every year,” said an order issued by the government.

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“The state song shall compulsorily be played with due respect in all state government functions at the start of the ceremony and the National Anthem shall be played compulsorily at the conclusion of the ceremony,” the order stated.

“All persons shall stand in attention when the state song and national anthem are played and mass singing of the state song and national anthem should be encouraged,” it added.

In August the state assembly had passed a resolution in this regard declaring the Bengali New Year Day which usually falls on April 14 or 15, as the state’s foundation day – Bangla Diwas and Banglar Mati Banglar Jol (The soil of Bengal, the water of Bengal), a patriotic song by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore as the state anthem.

Earlier, governor CV Ananda Bose commemorated the state’s foundation day on June 20 following an advisory of the Centre. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had raised objections.

“We don’t care whether the governor signs this (resolution to observe the state’s foundation day on Poila Boisakh – Bengali New Year Day) or not. We will celebrate this on Poila Boisakh. I want to see who is more powerful – the people or the governor who has been nominated. The state anthem would be Banglar Mati Banglar Jol,” Banerjee had said in the Assembly.

The Bengal Assembly on June 20, 1947, passed a resolution to divide the Bengal province. The TMC has pointed out that June 20 would rekindle painful memories.

Earlier on June 20 when the Raj Bhavan in Kolkata observed the foundation day, Banerjee had sent a two-page letter to Bose to cancel the programme.

“I am stunned and shocked to know that you have decided to organise a programme…at Raj Bhavan, Kolkata, commemorating what you have peculiarly chosen to describe as the ‘State Foundation of West Bengal’,” Banerjee wrote in her letter on June 19.

The Raj Bhavan, however, had clarified that on May 11 that the Centre had sent an advisory to observe the foundation day of all states and that the Raj Bhavan in Kolkata had commemorated the foundation of other states too on separate dates.

A committee set up by the West Bengal assembly recommended that the Bengali New Year Day be celebrated as ‘Bangla Diwas’.

The chief minister had convened an all-party meeting on August 29 to seek an opinion on the issue. The BJP, Congress and the CPI-M, however, skipped the meeting.

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