In a surprising development, the government led by Narendra Modi is considering changing India’s name to “Bharat” during the upcoming special session of Parliament, scheduled for September 18-22. This move has stirred up a long-standing argument about the country’s identity and what it should be called.
Supporters of the proposal argue that “Bharat” is a more traditional and culturally rooted name that better reflects the nation’s history. Others, however, see it as a divisive move and a distortion of India’s diverse heritage.
The debate gained momentum when Rashtrapati Bhawan, sent out invites which read the “President of Bharat” instead of the usual “President of India.” This sparked questions and added fuel to the ongoing discussions.
Jairam Ramesh, a leader from the Congress party, expressed his concerns on Twitter, saying, “Now, Article 1 in the Constitution might read: ‘Bharat, previously known as India, shall be a Union of States.’ But even this concept of a ‘Union of States’ is being questioned.” He also added, “Mr. Modi can continue to alter our history and divide the nation, which is Bharat, a Union of States. But we won’t back down.”
In response to the objections raised by the Congress party, JP Nadda, a senior leader of the BJP, defended the use of “Bharat” and asked why the Congress was opposing matters related to the country’s “honor and pride.” Nadda asserted that the BJP’s call for the name change aligns with the nation’s cultural identity and history.
“Why do political gatherings under the banner of ‘Bharat Jodo’ oppose saying ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’? It’s clear that the Congress doesn’t respect the country, the constitution, or its institutions. They seem to have a specific agenda,” Nadda added.
The renaming of India to “Bharat” has been a long-standing demand of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and this recent development seems to be bringing it closer to reality. In December 2022, BJP MP Mitesh Patel raised the question in the Lok Sabha regarding renaming India as “Bharat” or “Bharatvarsh,” a topic that was discussed by the Constituent Assembly back in September 1949.