Is the Great ‘India’ Officially Adopting the Name ‘Bharat’ in 2023?

New Name Of India:

President Droupadi Murmu’s Use of ‘President of Bharat’ Title Sparks Speculation During G20 Summit Dinner Invitations”

The controversy surrounding this name revolves around the traditional practice of using “India” in English-language invitations and “Bharat” in Hindi-language invitations issued by the country’s constitutional bodies.

Nevertheless, the invitations for the G20 dinner, written in English, referred to Murmu as the President of “Bharat.”

When approached by Reuters for a statement, a representative from the president’s office opted not to offer any comments or insights regarding the issue.

Controversy Over ‘Bharat’ Inclusions in Invitations Amidst BJP’s Renaming Initiatives

Critics, considering the Hindu-nationalist ideology of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration and its advocacy for greater Hindi usage, interpreted the inclusion of “Bharat” in the invitations as a potential indication that the government was actively promoting an official name change.

Over time, the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government led by Modi has initiated the renaming of towns and cities previously associated with colonial names, asserting that this effort is aimed at facilitating India’s transition away from what they describe as a colonial-era mindset.

In the English language, the South Asian powerhouse is referred to as India, whereas in various Indian languages, it is also known as Bharat, Bharata, and Hindustan.

Constitutional Considerations for Country’s Name:

The preamble in the English version of the constitution commences with the phrase “We, the people of India…” and in Part One of the document, it explicitly mentions, “India, also known as Bharat, shall constitute a Union of States.”

In Hindi, the constitution replaces India with Bharat everywhere, except the part defining the country’s names, which says in Hindi, “Bharat, that is India, shall be a Union of States.”

To officially change the country’s name to solely “Bharat,” an amendment to the constitution would be necessary, which would mandate approval by a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament.

What is the formal designation of the nation?

In English, the South Asian nation is referred to, while in various Indian languages, it is also known as Bharat, Bharata, and Hindustan.

The introduction to the English version of the constitution begins with the phrase “We, the people of India…” and subsequently, in Part One of the document, it clarifies that “India, also recognized as Bharat, shall constitute a Union of States.”

In the Hindi version of the constitution, ‘Bharat’ is used throughout to refer to the country, except in the section that defines the country’s names, where it states in Hindi, “Bharat, yani India, ek Rajya Samuh hoga.”

To rename the country solely as “Bharat,” would necessitate a constitutional amendment, demanding approval by a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament.

Is the government planning an official name change?

For certain individuals, the timing of the controversy raises questions.

This development occurs shortly after the government revealed an unexpected five-day special session of parliament scheduled for later this month, without revealing its agenda. This move has led to unofficial reports speculating that a potential name change might be on the discussion table and could be approved during the session.

While no official confirmation of such an action has been provided, some members of the government and the ruling BJP have proposed that the name “Bharat” should hold precedence over “India.”

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological precursor of the BJP, has consistently advocated for referring to the nation as “Bharat.”

A government spokesperson has not promptly replied to a request for comment.

What is the historical background of both names?

Both names have a history spanning over two thousand years.

While proponents of the name “Bharat” argue that “India” was bestowed upon the country by British colonial rulers, historians contend that this name predates the era of colonial rule by several centuries.

The term “India” originates from the Sanskrit word “Sindhu,” which refers to the Indus River. Travelers from distant places like Greece had already been using the term to identify the region situated to the southeast of the Indus River, well before Alexander the Great’s Indian campaign in the 3rd century BCE.

The name “Bharat” has even deeper historical roots, appearing in ancient sub-continent scriptures. However, according to certain experts, it was employed more as a descriptor of socio-cultural identity rather than a geographical designation.

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