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Should India be renamed as Bharat?

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.”
― William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

India is a country of rich heritage, culture, religions, languages and known for its traditions. We say वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् which means ‘the world is one family’. India got its name from a Sanskrit term “Sindhu” that referred to Indus River. In English, we say India, and in Hindi, we say, Bharat. Even in the Supreme Court of India, many petitions have been filed regarding the renaming of India but the Court has always dismissed the case. As there is no Constitutional or legal right backing the claim. India has many other areas which are of much importance and requires due consideration than renaming territories. The article “Should India be renamed as Bharat?” is written by Rohan Mohanto

Should India be renamed as Bharat?

The petitioner believed that the freedom struggle was fought in the name of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and hence it will be appropriate to rename it to Bharat or Hindustan.  Even many political luminaries have given their views in this regard a senior congress leader said the idea of renaming India as Bharat as foolish and one with nuisance value. Even Karnataka BJP expressed a similar view according to them such a proposal is neither the wish nor the will of the party.

Even people from the legal fraternity were not seemed much impressed by this petition former Solicitor General of India and retired Supreme Court judge said that the move may give rise to unwanted misunderstanding within other groups in the country.

In this article, we will discuss whether India should be renamed as Bharat or not.

India not only a country but a world in its self

Whenever we talk about India we have so much to say. India is such a diversified nation we have so many people of different cultures different religions different languages. It is said that in every 15 – 20km language changes in India. India is a land where Mahatma Gandhi, Neta Ji Subhash Chandra Bose took birth. Are they not sufficient for us to say we are proud to be an Indian? It is necessary to change the name to instill the feeling of belongingness or to develop patriotic feeling? The answer is simply no.

Indian Constitution, Article 1(1) clearly states that India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States. Even the Constitution makers already included Bharat in our Constitution although it’s not an official name we can call India as Bharat. I firmly believe changing name will hardly instill a sense of pride in our nationality as contemplated by the petitioner in a recent petition filed in SC regarding rechanging the name. We are already proud and have a strong feeling of nationality for India that is Bharat. Our feeling of pride for India does not depend on a name but solely on its rich culture, values, and traditions.

The Constituent Assembly debated Article 1 that India should be replaced by Hind as the primary name for the country. Many were of the view that Mughals used to call India as  Hindustan and Britishers called India “India”[1].  After a long debate at last when Rajendra Prasad (chairman) put the amendments to vote all fell, that it will be India that is Bharat. India is Bharat only there is no difference between them. Whether we call it Bharat or India the meaning will be the same. So there is no question of renaming India to regain lost glory. India is not a piece of land but a land of glory and heritage. Its importance does not lie in its name but its Culture and good values.

Legal Game Over Renaming India

In 2016, Supreme Court has dismissed a petition for renaming India and then CJI T.S Thakur very logically explained the reason. He said that every Indian had the right to choose between calling his Country ‘Bharat’ or ‘India’ and the Supreme Court has no business to either dictate or decide for citizens what he should call his country.[2]

In 2020, a similar petition was filed in SC. The Court said “ The petition to be treated as a representation and may be considered as a representation and may be considered by the appropriate ministries.[3]  The Court further said Bharat and India are both names given in the Constitution. India is already called ‘Bharat’ in the Constitution.

The question here is what will be the benefit of renaming? In my view, it will only create a rift among people and nothing else. Many may question why not rename it to Hindustan as it has got roots in “Vishnupuran”[4] as this Country is called Hindustan for many thousand years.

One Country Many Names

India has got many names. As mentioned below:-

Meluha

Appears in ancient texts of Mesopotamia to refer to the Indus valley civilization. It is believed that Meluhha were the people of the Indus valley.

Bharat/ Bharatvarsha

Appears in Puranas as the land between the sea in the south and the abode of a show in the north. The name Bharat/ Bharatvarsha can be first found in Rig Veda, Mahabharata, and Jain Dharma.

Aryavarta

Appears in the Manusmrirti as the land occupied by the Indo-Aryans. It is mainly found in Dharmashastras and Sutras.

Jambudvipa

Appears in Vedic texts and is still used in a few Southeast Asian countries to describe subcontinents. This is mainly found in the Brahmi script.

Hind/ Hindustan

It is a Persian word that means “the land beyond the Indus”. This is derived from the old Persian term Hindu. Hindu is Persian for Sindhu, the name is for the Indus River in Sanskrit.

India

First used by the Greeks, who changed ‘Hind’ as ‘Indus’. It is the present official name.[5]

Conclusion

We conclude that renaming is not at all necessary as it is just a political tactic to win people’s hearts. Many say that it’s not renaming its reclaiming. But reclaiming should be in the minds of people and not in names as Swami Vivekanand said we are what our thoughts have made us. So take care of what you think. So this thinking should not be dependent on any particular name but our own power of understanding what is right or what is wrong. Even the SC has rejected these types of pleas for renaming as there was no merit. Renaming will only have an adverse effect and many groups of people will come out and suggest a new name. So it will be better not to rename India and let it remained India because our feeling and sense of nationality are with the motherland and not with the name.

Footnotes

[1] Prabhash  K  Dutta,  Article “Should India be renamed as Bharat only? SC to hear plea tomorrow” ( India Today, June 1, 2020).  https://www.indiatoday.in/news-analysis/story/should-india-be-renamed-only-as-bharat-petition-in-supreme-court-1684283-2020-06-01

[2] Krishnadas Rajagopal,  Article “Plea for renaming India as ‘Bharat’ can go to Centre as representation: SC”, ( The Hindu, 3 June 2020).  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-name-plea-can-go-to-centre-as-representation-sc/article31737391.ece

[3] Dhananjay Mahapatra, Article “SC called upon to rename India as Bharat/Hindustan; seeks Centre’s response” (TOI,  June 4,  2020).  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/sc-called-upon-to-rename-india-as-bharat/hindustan-sends-it-to-centre/articleshow/76186702.cms

[4] The Vishnu Purana is one of the eighteen Mahapuranas.

[5] Adrija Roychowdhury, Article “From Meluha to Hindustan, the many names of India and Bharat” (The Indian Express, June 7, 2020). https://indianexpress.com/article/research/from-meluha-to-hindustan-the-many-names-of-india-and-bharat-6445264/

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