What's in a name,
celebrated playwright William Shakespeare had his most
famous heroine Juliet say in his Romeo and Juliet play, That which we call a
rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.
But most people wouldn't agree with Shakespeare in their daily lives. That the
name affects the personality of an individual is a common belief and India
perhaps believes in belief the most. As for an individual so is for the nation.
Article 1 of the Constitution which reads that “India
that is Bharat..” gave
to us the two highly debated upon names. The article faced heated debates in the
Constituent assembly and was subjected to criticism by many senior leaders.
70 years later, as the world is going through discouragement due to pandemic
COVID-19, PM Modi called in for a new Aatamnirbhar Bharat. This call not only
awakens the deep values of our country and its rich past as a self reliant
nation which was a strong asset to the world but also knocks up the debate on
the very name which is allegedly a remain of the Britishers and does not suit
In this context, recently a PIL was filed in Hon'ble Supreme Court asking to
change the classification of our Nation from India
to Bharat. This isn't the
first and segregated occurrence when such a PIL has been filed rather, a lot
more occasions in sublime past indistinguishable PILs have been submitted under
the steady gaze of the Humble peak Court.
First and foremost we must understand the concept of 'renaming'. Many countries
and cities have changed their names in recent history as a reflection of the
cultural and traditional values their names hold. This is also true for India
cities which have constantly changed their names to do away with the British
legacy and came up with names more suited to the present(Eg. Bombay).
already is named Bharat too, so there isn't a question of
renaming it. Actually the official name is Bharat in most of the Indian
and except when it comes to English use we can use both the official names
Prime Minister Modi's speech addressing the 74th session of UN General Assembly
referred to our nation as BHARAT. The passports of Indians have two titles THE
REPUBLIC OF India
in English and BHARAT GANRAJYA in Hindi. These two instances
clearly send out the notion that we in fact are called Bharat. Thus, we can
safely reply to the question of renaming the nation to Bharat in negative.
What is the actual debate?
Now, the actual question being that; Do we want to amend Article 1 and switch to
BHARAT as the only name? There are two ways to approach this situation. First
that we want to do away with the name India
thus have Bharat as the only name
and the second that we want BHARAT to be our only identity and thus do not want
Is There A Problem With India?
The general notion is that the name India
became popular after the 17th century
through English language and hence is believed to be given to us by the
Britishers. It appears that even after 70 years of freedom we are still using
the name given to us by autonomy.
However to the contrary belief, Herodotus texts suggest that India
is so named
(as Hind or India
na or Indica) in Arabic, Persian Roman and Greek from
450 B.C onwards. Eratostenes's map of the World (from 129 B.C.) also labels the
n landmass as 'Ariana India
'. The great travelers like Vasco da gama and
Megasthenes described the QUARDILATERAL SHAPE of our nation as India
we had East India
Company named so during the time of Akbar, it can be safely
concluded that India
isn't just a colonial name.
Arguing the fact that India
is derived from the word Indus – a river which used
to flow through India
n subcontinent and whose major portion now flows through
Pakistan and other countries makes it geographically incorrect to have the name
still in place holds little well. Amazing is that the Bharatvarsha also included
the present day of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan,
Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, North-West Tibet, Nepal.
Thus, the argument is inconsistent because the names India
n Mainland as well as
Bharat were both used for a subcontinent earlier (which gradually fragmented)and
our country (present day India
and Bharat) descends from the glory of Bharatvarsha as
well as the Great Indus valley civilization.
By using the name India
as one of the two names of our country, we also
retain the legal right to use that name 'India
' exclusively, although many other
political entities like Pakistan, Burma, Malaysia, Thailand and many others may
claim that name too, if we dump that name altogether. (Which no bharatiya would
in good senses want!)
As a matter of fact, India
n constitution derives most of its articles from other
constitutions and is largely a borrowed document yet every Bharatvasi has
immense respect for this document. So if we apply the same logics as we are
applying to the name, we might as well debate on doing away with the borrowed
Constitution and probably later talk about the name which has sought its glory
through a long past.
We own a legacy of thousands of years of history linked to the name India
have strategic and moral authority over the Ocean named after our country, the
n Ocean, almost making it our own back-yard in the long run.
After 200 years of India
being the official name of the land, it is slowly
ceasing to be an exonym and is being absorbed into India
n languages. Also the
” is used by non-Anglophones quite easily thus proving its place.
As for Bharat, it is a name with a glorious past and finds mention in the Rig
Veda's 18th hymn of seventh book. The book describes the battle of ten kings
which was fought on river Ravi in Punjab and was won by the great king Sudasa of
Bharata tribe of Trtsu Dynasty. Thus, the name 'Bharata' stuck on the mouth of
people and ultimately named as 'Bharat Varsha' meaning the land of Bharata. The
name also finds its mention in Vishnu puran, the Mahabharata and to go by the
recent it was a widely used term during the Struggle for Independence.
The name Bharat finds its origin in Sanskrit bhr means “to bear/ to carry” i.e.
“to be maintained” (of fire). It also means “One who is engaged in search of
Knowledge”. Thus Bharat finds its roots in the old texts and base
language. However, the name India
finds its origin in Greek and comes from the
Thus we can say that the names Bharat and India
have different lines of descent
and it cannot be argued which is older or more suited. While Bharat descends
from puranas and sacred texts, India
finds its origin in the oldest of the
is a land of unity in diversity and home to almost all the religions and
beliefs of the world. If we discard India
and keep Bharat, it is quite possible
that the Muslims and other communities will find themselves alienated because
Bharat is nowhere close to their texts and is predominantly linked to Hinduism.
Thus, the two names reflect the India
n principles and values in their own way.
isn't just a Hindi speaking nation. Most of the southern
states speak only English or their own regional language. Thus accepting Bharat
as the only name might harm the unity of the nation and would take away the
sense of belongingness from the masses.
As for the question of primary name and the language of Article 1; it is a
misconception that by stating India
that is Bharat we have let Colonials prevail
over our motherland. India
is in fact a glorified name of our motherland and
does not owe any debt to the English colonizers.
In having both India
and Bharat we have retained our glorious past and adapted
with the new age civilization and globalization. I would reckon that there is
glory in the usage of the name India
, along with Bharat. The makers of
the Constitution were wise enough to do the right thing. All attempts to
discredit our glorious name 'India
' are misguided and short-sighted.
We have respect for India
as well as for Bharat as they are one and unified
diversity. The India
n Soldier proudly martyrs with the last words “Bharat Mata
- Constitution of India,1950
- Authentic Antique Map of India and Southeast Asia: India Intra et Extra
Gangem… | India map, Southeast asia, History
- Excerpt of Vishnu Purana ---- “This country is known as Bharatvarsha
since the times the father entrusted the kingdom to the son Bharata and he
himself went to the forest for ascetic practices”