India Proposed Name Change to ‘Bharat’: What’s Behind the Controversy


The Indian government has recently attracted attention after it was reported that they are considering changing the country’s name to ‘Bharat.’ This name change speculation arose following the circulation of an invitation photo for a high-level G20 summit dinner.

India is currently serving as the chair of the G20 this year and is set to host the summit from September 7-9 in New Delhi. A widely circulated image of what appears to be the G20 summit dinner invitation shows the text “On the occasion of G20 Summit” and below it, “President of Bharat.”

This invitation has sparked debates and speculations about India’s potential name change to Bharat. Several Indian media outlets have also reported that the government might introduce a resolution regarding this name change in a special parliamentary session in September.

Why does India want to change its name to Bharat?

Several officials from the ruling party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have urged the government to rename India as Bharat.

This idea emerged after the opposition party announced a new alliance, the National Development Inclusive Alliance, or India, in July for the 2024 general elections, as reported by Al Jazeera.

Officials also view the name India as a legacy of British colonial rule and a “symbol of slavery.” The British ruled India for 200 years until it gained independence in 1947.

In response to this desire for a name change, contemporary Indian historian Ravinder Kaur stated that some BJP politicians were triggered by the opposition’s naming. “Some of the ruling party members are attempting resistance by seeking a different name. However, what’s interesting is that India already has a dual name, as stated in the constitution,” Kaur said, as quoted by Times on Wednesday, September 6.

The country with a Hindu-majority population is officially known by two names, India and Bharat, as per Article 1 of the Indian constitution.

“India, which is Bharat, shall be a Union of States,” reads the article.

However, among these two names, India is the more commonly used term both domestically and internationally. Meanwhile, Bharat is an ancient Sanskrit word believed to have originated from early Hindu texts and is also used as the Hindi language term for India.

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