There have been recent unconfirmed reports suggesting that the government of India, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, may consider an official renaming of the country to "Bharat."

These reports gained attention due to the issuance of a significant official invitation for the G20 summit, which referred to the "President of Bharat."Opposition leaders have taken to social media to share these invitations for a dinner event scheduled for September 9th, which notably omitted the English name "India." Speculation arises that the ruling Hindu nationalist government, under Mr. Modi's leadership may be contemplating this renaming during a special parliamentary session later this month.

This development coincides with instances of removing traces of previous governments and leaders, including India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, from official landmarks and buildings of national significance. However, it's crucial to emphasize that these reports remain unconfirmed, and renaming a country involves a complex and formal legislative process. Official announcements from the government are awaited to provide clarity on this matter.

The inclusion of "Bharat" rather than "India" in the formal invitation for an upcoming global summit, which will host prominent leaders like Joe Biden and Rishi Sunak, has raised speculation regarding a potential renaming of India by the Modi administration. This symbolic alteration in the invitation may be seen as a subtle indication of the government's contemplation of officially changing the country's name. However, it is essential to underscore that such a significant alteration requires a formal legislative process and official confirmation from the government is awaited for any conclusive information regarding this matter.

Why is it in headlines now?

Recent developments in India's political landscape have garnered significant attention. The primary catalyst for this shift was the rebranding of the opposition as "INDIA," with a stated mission to safeguard democracy and the unity of the nation. This move has been framed as a response to perceived challenges posed by the ruling party led by Prime Minister Modi, characterized by a rise in incidents targeting religious minorities, notably Muslims, in the country.

Conversely, leaders aligned with the right-wing of Indian politics, particularly within Mr. Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), assert that "India" is a colonial-era appellation, representing a symbol of historical subjugation. They advocate for a return to "Bharat," asserting a connection with India's ancient Hindu heritage. It is worth noting that India's diverse population adheres to various religions, making this debate multi-faceted.

Of note, some members of Mr. Modi's party have vocally advocated for the exclusive use of "Bharat" as the country's name, yet there remains a need to address the practical challenges involved in renaming official documents, prominent national institutions, and other entities currently using the "India" nomenclature. This ongoing debate underscores the complex interplay between history, identity, and governance in contemporary India.
In recent times, there has been a debate in India regarding its name. Some right-wing leaders in the BJP party claim that "India" is a symbol of British colonialism and prefer the name "Bharat" to reflect India's Hindu heritage. This has led to some politicians changing their social media bios to "Bharat." However, the practical aspects of renaming official documents, national buildings, hospitals, colleges, and universities using the name "India" remain unclear.

What is India officially called?

The official name of the country is "India," as stated in the Indian Constitution, which also mentions it as "India, that is Bharat." This has been the official name since the constitution was adopted in 1951, following India's independence in 1947.

India and Bharat - From where the words originated?

The names "India" and "Bharat" both have historical roots. "Bharat" comes from ancient Sanskrit texts and the Mahabharata epic, where it's associated with the mythical king Bharat, seen as the ancestor of Indians. It also means "India" in Hindi.

Since then, the name "India" became prominent during British colonial rule and was used in maps. After gaining independence, India kept both names, "India" and "Bharat," in official documents. So, both names have deep historical significance in the country.

Source / Image Credit: CooPWB , India Today, India Times