Bharat: Controversy Surrounds India’s Use of ‘Bharat’ in G-20 Summit Invites
Nationalist Push or Identity Reclamation?
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has generated controversy by referring to India as “Bharat” in invites for a dinner party at the upcoming G-20 Summit in New Delhi. Some see This move as a nationalist push, coming at a time when India has become the world’s most populous nation and the fastest-growing major economy. The controversy surrounding the use of “Bharat” stems from the fact that it’s the Hindi name for India.
The invites for the G-20 Summit also referred to the President of India as “President of Bharat.” This development follows a recent speech by Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of the Hindu nationalist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, who suggested that the country should use the term “Bharat” instead of “India.”
Bharat: A Quest for Identity and Historical Reckoning
While some BJP leaders support this approach, there is no official confirmation of a formal name change at this time. The government’s move may be an attempt to distance modern India from its colonial past, as evidenced by recent street renaming initiatives.
Notably, India’s constitution recognizes both names, as Article 1 begins with the words, “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.” “India” is an Anglicized version of the Sanskrit word “sindhu,” while “Bharat” has roots in ancient Hindu religious texts.
Debate Over India’s Name
This debate over which name to use has sparked discussions on social media, with some criticizing it as a departure from India’s foundational principle of unity in diversity, while others view it as a step toward reclaiming an authentic and anti-imperialist identity. Various perspectives on this issue continue to be expressed on platforms like Twitter.