Chittagong, a city with tradition and history of over fifteen hundred years, will be left with identity crisis if its name is changed into Chattagram in the English vocabulary as decided by the government.
Historians, researchers and academicians of the commercial capital observed that changing of the port city's name of Chittagong will be a wrong decision of the government and it will give a wrong message to the external world.
The government has decided to change spelling of five districts including that of Chittagong and the matter is set to be finalised in today's meeting (Monday) of the National Implementation Committee for Administrative Reforms (NICAR) in Dhaka with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
The government is going to change the name in line with its Bengali pronunciation officially. In the case of Chittagong it is not simply change of spelling but also an attempt to change the very historically established name after the port city having long history of a business and trade centre frequently visited by global adventurers and travelers, experts said.
Professor Mohammed Ali, former vice chancellor of Chittagong University and a literary scholar said Chittagong is a very old historic place having been rooted in its business potentials is known to the world for more than 1000 years.
The name of London in France is not actually pronounced as London but in its local colloquial while Rome, another historic name and the capital of Italy is called as Roma.
The term which is popular there is called in that name. This is in practice throughout the world, he said.
In the English speaking world Chattagram is called Chittagong. You cannot change it overnight. It will hamper the global business it is enjoying because the people of other countries will not be able to recognise it as they know this city as Chittagong, said Professor Ali.
Besides, people of those countries will not be able to pronounce the word Chattagram so easily. So the pronunciation should be the same as they are now - Chattagram in Bengali and Chittagong in English.
Professor Sekandar Khan, Vice Chancellor of the East Delta University and leader of the Forum for Planned Chittagong, termed this as simply a "wrong-doing, useless and undesirable act".
"Why is the name-change of Chittagong initiated? Who wanted this? And who are those behind this move? This is peculiar and eccentric," he asked in reaction to the move.
He said that such a move should not be materialised in the case of Chittagong without consent of its people. Such a peculiar move goes against the will of the local people.
He further said that India took a decision to rename it as Bharat. They said Bharat would be written in place of India in every walk of life. The move lasted for a few days only because the foreigners don't know Bharat, they know India. The move also hampered their business. Finally, they discarde it and called India.
In the case of Chittagong also, the business will be hampered, he observed adding that foreigners know it as Chittagong. It has a long history known as the history of Chittagong. The businessmen throughout the globe know it as Chittagong.