Bharat or India - What’s Right to Call the Country?

What to call India or Bharat is not a new topic of controversy. It becomes a buzz from time to time from the one in 1948. As a citizen of the country, people are free to call it Bharat, India, or Hindustan as per their wish. And the Article 1 of the Constitution of India allows its people to say it India or Bharat. The current row grew from the invitations sent to prominent people of the country from the President of India.

What is the Current Row?

As per the planned schedule, New Delhi, the national capital city of India, is going to host the G20 Summit at a newly constructed convention hall at Pragati Maidan from 8 to 10 September 2023. The Indian President, Draupadi Murmu, sent invitations to world leaders and economies. In addition, the invitations were sent to prominent Indians for the G20 Summit Dinner. In the invitations, there was a term The President of Bharat instead of the conventional one The President of India. The use of this term facilitated the speculation of the name change, Bharat in place of India to rise among political leaders and commonmen.

People or leaders from the ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, fuel rumors of the country’s name change by sharing their invitations on social media platforms. Pushkar Singh Dhami, the top elected official of the state Uttarakhand, said in his Twitter post, “Another blow to slavery mentality.” The rumors of name get an elevation through several recent name changes such as Amrit Uddyan from Mughal Garden and Kartavya Path from the Rajpath from the Kingsway.

Jai Shankar, the External Affair Minister under the Government of India, said, “India that is Bharat, it is there in the Constitution. Please, I would invite everybody to read it. Further he said, “Look when you say Bharat in a sense, a meaning and understanding and a connotation that comes with it and that is reflected in our Constitution as well”.

Shashi Tharoor, the opposition lawmaker, said in this tweet, “While there is no constitutional objection to calling India “Bharat,” which is one of the country’s two official names, I hope the government will not be so foolish as to completely dispense with “India,” which has incalculable brand value built up over centuries”. He added, “Indians continue to use both words rather than relinquish our claim to a name redolent of history, a name that is recognized around the world.”

Everyone, whether they are in the support of the ruling party or in the opposition, put their thoughts. Some are hailing the use of the term the President of Bharat instead of the President of India while some are speculating the possible change in the country’s official name. For commonmen to low class people, it does not matter a lot whether the country is called Bharat or India.

What is the Official Name?

The Article 1 of the Constitution of India states as “India, that is Bharat, that shall be a union of states”. Since the adoption of the Indian Constitution in 1951, Both India and Bharat are an official name of the country. In his book Discovery of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, also a historian, wrote, “Often, as I wandered from meeting to meeting, I spoke to my audiences of this India of ours, of Hindustan and of Bharata, the old Sanskrit name derived from the mythical founders of the race”. He mentioned all the three popular names of the country - Bharat, Hindustan, and India - in his book. And the countrymen say what they love to do - India or Bharat. Further, all the official documents in English mention this country as India.

Origin of the words/names - Bharat and India

As per the first and foremost record used to identify this country, the terms Bharat, Bharata, and Bharatvarsha are common. And these terms have a place in the constitution of India along with the term India.

The term Bharat is a Sanskrit word that relates to a Hindu mythology and comes from two epics, including the Mahabharata. As per this epic, Indians are successors of King Bharat who was a mythical figure to start the Indian race. The term India has a close association with the Indus River, which is now Sindhu. This term got prominent use under British Rule after the late 18th century.  

Who Supports the Use of Bharat

It is supposed that the Modi government is trying to change the country’s official name India from Bharat. Narendra Modi himself considers the term India as a Symbol of Slavery. Prominent political leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dropped India several times and used Bharat in their official bio. Leaders in the opposition see the special Parliament Session call as an effort to change the country’s name from India to Bharat. And some of them are making attacks on the BJP ruled central government.     

What Should Indians Do?

Common Indians have nothing to do. According to the Article 1 of the Constituent of India, Indians are free to call their country as India and Bharat as per their wish. They should not be in the middle of this political war.

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