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In recent news, the Kerala Assembly has made a significant move by passing a resolution to rename the state within the Constitution and all official records. This decision has brought attention to the historical context, the process of renaming, and the implications of this change.

This topic of “Keralam” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.

Kerala Assembly’s Resolution for Renaming

The Resolution Details

  • The proposed new name in Malayalam: Keralam
  • The history of state formation based on language, with the date of November 1, 1956, also celebrated as Kerala Formation Day.
  • The demand for a united Kerala for Malayalam-speaking communities, rooted in the freedom struggle.
  • The current state name, Kerala, is mentioned in the first Schedule of the Constitution.
  • The Assembly’s request to the Union Government for immediate action under Article 3 of the Constitution to change the state’s name to Keralam.

The Process of Renaming

Renaming Cities vs. States

  • Renaming a state involves steps such as obtaining approval from the Centre’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and necessitates a constitutional amendment.
  • Unlike renaming cities, which typically involves local authorities, state renaming requires higher-level consent and legal adjustments.

The Proposal Process

  • The proposal originates from the state government, reflecting the people’s sentiment.
  • The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) steps in to oversee the process.
  • MHA gives consent after receiving No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from various agencies including the Ministry of Railways, Intelligence Bureau, Department of Posts, Survey of India, and Registrar General of India.

Implementation of Proposal

  • If the proposal is accepted, it is introduced as a Bill in Parliament.
  • Upon becoming a law, the state’s name is officially changed to the proposed name, in this case, Keralam.

Facts About Kerala and Its Name

Origin of the Name ‘Kerala’

  • The name ‘Kerala’ finds its earliest record in Asoka’s Rock Edict II dating back to 257 BC.
  • The inscription refers to a local ruler as “Keralaputra,” which translates to “son of Kerala” or “son of Chera,” indicating the Chera dynasty’s influence.

About the Term ‘Keralam’

  • The term ‘Keralam’ may have originated from ‘Cheram,’ with ‘keram’ being Canarese (Kannada) for ‘cheram.’
  • Keralam is described as the region between Gokarnam and Kanyakumari.
  • The term possibly roots from ‘cher,’ meaning ‘to join,’ resulting in the compound word ‘Cheralam,’ signifying a connected region or land.

The Evolution of Kerala as a Separate State

Early Movements for a Unified Kerala

  • In the 1920s, the Aikya Kerala movement emerged, demanding a separate state for Malayalam-speaking people.
  • The movement aimed at integrating the princely states of Malabar, Kochi, and Travancore.

Post-Independence Integration

  • After independence, there was a merger and integration of princely states.
  • A significant step was taken on July 1, 1949, with the formation of the Travancore-Cochin State through the integration of Travancore and Kochi.

State Reorganisation Commission’s Recommendations

  • The State Reorganisation Commission, led by Syed Fazl Ali, recommended the creation of the state of Kerala.
  • This included the inclusion of the district of Malabar and the Kasargod taluk, while excluding certain taluks and parts of Shenkottai.

Formation of Kerala State

  • The state of Kerala was officially formed on November 1, 1956, with the name ‘Keralam’ in Malayalam and ‘Kerala’ in English, as we know it today.

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