Part I of the Constitution of the Republic of India defines the Union and its Territories. The first line reads, “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.” India is also known by its ancient name, Bharat, and both terms represent the same country with the same borders, including all 28 States, 8 Union Territories, and 1382 Islands.
The issue is that some leaders cannot comprehend this straightforward statement that India can be called Bharat and Bharat can be called India. It would be somewhat acceptable if the controversy over India’s name had made headlines during the Independence era or that decade. However, bringing up this topic in the 21st century after 76 years of Independence is utterly ridiculous. This is what the leaders of the Opposition Party are doing now.
Jairam Ramesh, Congress General Secretary, posted on X (formerly known as Twitter) on September 5th, “So the news is indeed true. Rashtrapati Bhawan has sent out an invite for a G20 dinner on Sept 9th in the name of ‘President of Bharat’ instead of the usual ‘President of India.’ Now, Article 1 in the Constitution can read: ‘Bharat, that was India, shall be a Union of States.’ But now, even this ‘Union of States’ is under assault.”
Draupadi Murmu sent dinner invitation letters to guests attending the Group of 20 (G20) summit on Saturday, September 9th. In the invitation letter, she has been referred to as the “President of Bharat.” The primary Opposition Party, the Indian National Congress, has been protesting the use of “Bharat” instead of “India,” the usual title for the “President of India.”
There is speculation that the ruling nationalist BJP government is considering changing the official name of the country from India to Bharat, i.e., from the “Republic of India” to the “Republic of Bharat.”
In this article, we will discuss the perspectives of both sides and in the end, I will share my opinion about the controversy.
The name Bharat comes from the epic Mahabharata. The name of the land is derived from the name of King Bharata and his descendants who inhabited it. Ancient India, which included Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and parts of other neighbouring countries, had been referred to as Bharatavarsa in various religious texts.
When Europeans arrived in this lush land through which the river Indus flowed, they began calling it India, and that’s how the name “India” emerged.
Over the past 300 years, India has become a well-known brand. It is renowned for its hard-working people, thriving industries, agriculture, technological advancements, the economy, and many other attributes. On the other hand, Bharat represents our ancient culture and history.
The name of a place carries symbolic meaning, defining the place and providing a quick summary of its traditions and culture in a few words. Both names, India and Bharat, excel in performing these tasks. In my opinion, both names should represent this majestic land.
The government of India also seems to share this perspective. They have rejected rumours of changing India’s name and criticized the Opposition Parties for reviving this old controversy. India is equivalent to Bharat, and that is an undeniable fact. India is a brand earned through hard work, while Bharat embodies our emotions and represents our millennia-old culture and civilization.
Written by Mayank Vikash
Published on Wednesday, 6th September 2023 at 23:35 IST
Last updated Wednesday, September 6, 2023, at 23:45