Is India Renamed as Bharat?
the question of whether India is being renamed as Bharat has stirred significant debate and speculation. While India has historically been recognized by both names, ‘India’ and ‘Bharat,’ the recent use of ‘Bharat’ in official invitations has raised eyebrows. Supporters argue that it’s an attempt to reclaim India’s ancient Sanskrit heritage and shed the colonial legacy associated with the name ‘India.’ However, opposition parties and some experts stress the importance of retaining the internationally recognized name ‘India.’ The outcome of this controversy remains uncertain, but it underscores broader discussions about India’s identity, history, and political agenda.
In a surprising turn of events, India, one of the world’s largest and most culturally diverse nations, has sparked controversy by replacing the name “India” with the Sanskrit word “Bharat” in dinner invitations sent to guests attending the upcoming Group of 20 (G20) summit. This unexpected move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has ignited a debate about whether the country’s official name is changing.
The Invitation That Raised Eyebrows
“It is a proud moment for every Indian to have ‘The President of Bharat’ written on the invitation card for the dinner to be held at Rashtrapati Bhavan during the G20 Summit,” tweets Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami pic.twitter.com/kXVVYbPQ7B
— ANI (@ANI) September 5, 2023
Droupadi Murmu, referred to as the “President of Bharat,” instead of the “President of India” in the G20 dinner invitations, has left many wondering about the significance of this shift. India is all set to host the annual G20 summit in New Delhi, with a lineup of prominent world leaders, including US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron, in attendance.
India: A Country of Many Names
India, with its more than 1.4 billion people, has long been recognized by two names: India and Bharat. However, “India” has been the more commonly used term, both domestically and internationally. The word “Hindustan” is another synonymous term often used in literature and popular culture.
“Bharat” is an ancient Sanskrit word believed by many historians to date back to early Hindu texts. It is also used as a Hindi synonym for India.
The Controversy and Government’s Stand
INDIA, that is Bharat, is a Union of States.
The idea of ‘one nation, one election’ is an attack on the 🇮🇳 Union and all its States.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 3, 2023
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has expressed its support for the change in nomenclature. They argue that the term “India” was introduced by British colonials and is, therefore, a “symbol of slavery.” The British ruled India for nearly two centuries until the country finally gained independence in 1947.
The BJP has consistently sought to erase names associated with India’s Mughal and colonial past. This government has been accused of pursuing a nationalist agenda, aimed at creating an ethnic Hindu state from a constitutionally secular India. A notable example is the renaming of New Delhi’s Aurangzeb Road, named after a Mughal king, to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Road in 2015, following protests from BJP leaders.
Last year, the government also renamed a colonial-era avenue in the heart of New Delhi, used for ceremonial military parades. Modi’s government argues that these name changes are an effort to reclaim India’s Hindu heritage.
Opposition and Criticism
However, India’s opposition parties have criticized the government’s move. Jairam Ramesh, a leader of the main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, expressed his concerns on social media, pointing out the change in the G20 dinner invitation. He emphasized the historical significance of the name “India” and its recognition worldwide.
Congress legislator Shashi Tharoor echoed these sentiments, urging Indians to continue using both “India” and “Bharat.” He stressed the brand value associated with the name “India” built up over centuries.
The Political Angle
BJP President Jagat Prakash Nadda responded to the criticism by accusing the Congress party of disrespecting the country, the Constitution, and its institutions. The dispute over “India” vs. “Bharat” has escalated, especially since opposition parties announced the formation of the “Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance” (INDIA) in July, aiming to unseat Modi and his party in the upcoming national elections in 2024.
As the controversy simmers, many Indian media outlets have reported that the government might introduce a resolution during a special parliament session this month, scheduled for September 18-22. However, the agenda for this session has not been officially disclosed.
In conclusion, the renaming of India as Bharat in a G20 dinner invitation has stirred a passionate debate in the country. While some see it as a move to restore India’s historical identity, others view it as a political maneuver. The outcome of this controversy remains uncertain, but it has undeniably ignited discussions about the nation’s past, present, and future.
Is the name “Bharat” new for India?
No, “Bharat” is an ancient Sanskrit word that has been used as a synonym for India for centuries.
Why is the government making this change now?
The government argues that the name “India” is a symbol of British colonialism and seeks to reclaim India’s Hindu heritage.
What do opposition parties think about this change?
Opposition parties have criticized the move, emphasizing the historical significance and global recognition of the name “India.”
Is there a possibility that India’s official name will change?
It’s uncertain at this point. The government may introduce a resolution during a special parliament session to address this issue.
How does the public perceive this controversy?
Public opinion is divided, with some supporting the change and others valuing the name “India” for its historical and international significance.