Resolution passed to change Kerala's name in State Assembly; Here's why Vijayan & others are seeking name change

On Monday, the Kerala Assembly unanimously passed a second resolution asking the Centre to officially change the state's name to 'Keralam'

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Termed 'God's own country', the ruling political parties have intensified their efforts to change the name of Kerala. Yes! you heard it right. On Monday, the Kerala Assembly unanimously passed a second resolution asking the Centre to officially change the state's name to 'Keralam', nearly a year after it unanimously passed a similar resolution before the Centre returned it for corrections. In August last year, the Union Home Ministry reviewed the last resolution and suggested some technical changes after the Kerala government sought 'immediate steps' to change the state's name. Now, the Kerala Assembly has passed the resolution yet again and has sent it to the Union Government for approval. 

Now, the question arises why do political parties want to change the name of Kerala? Below is what we know so far- 

Why Kerala's name is being changed?

The Kerala name is being changed due to its historical significance. As per reports, the Aikya Kerala movement in the 1920s called for a separate state based on linguistic grounds for those who speak Malayalam. In 1956, a state for Malayalam speakers was eventually formed. The original name of the state in its language was 'Keralam'. It was changed to Kerala in the eighth schedule of the Constitution.

Apart from the historical importance, some people link Keralam to the 'Chera' dynasty. They believe that the word changed from 'Chera-alam' - land of the Cheras- to Kera-alam'. As per the book Culture and Media: Ecocritical Explorations by P.S Sachindev, it speculates that the meaning of the word could be the land of coconuts - ‘kera-alam' - where kera is a local term for coconuts.

Kerala CM Vijayan was quoted by a newswire saying, "But the name of our state is written as Kerala in the First Schedule of the Constitution. This Assembly requests the Centre to take immediate steps to amend it as ‘Keralam’ under Article 3 of the Constitution and have it renamed as ‘Keralam’ in all the languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution."

It is pertinent to mention here that change of name of a state is not new. Since independence in 1947, over a hundred Indian cities and several states have changed their names. For instance, Uttaranchal became Uttarakhand in 2007. The changed name is believed to honour the Uttarakhand Andolan movement, which led to the state's separation from Uttar Pradesh in 2000.