In a recent controversy that has ignited fresh debate, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has alleged that invitations to an upcoming G20 summit dinner held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan bore the inscription ‘President of Bharat’ instead of the customary ‘President of India’. This development has raised concerns and led to discussions about the country’s nomenclature.
Mr. Ramesh’s assertion on social media emphasized the significance of this alteration, suggesting that it goes beyond semantics and challenges the very essence of India as a ‘Union of States’, as defined in Article 1 of the Indian Constitution.
Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma took a more assertive stance, proclaiming India as the “Republic of Bharat.” This declaration arrives amid growing calls to amend the Constitution’s reference to the country, replacing ‘India’ with ‘Bharat’. Advocates for this change argue that it is a step towards embracing India’s indigenous heritage and shedding remnants of colonial rule.
In the recent monsoon session of Parliament, BJP MPs Naresh Bansal and Harnath Singh Yadav voiced their support for such an amendment. They argue that ‘India’ symbolizes colonial slavery, while ‘Bharat’ represents the nation’s culture and identity. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has also endorsed this shift, emphasizing that ‘Bharat’ has been India’s name for centuries.
With a special session of Parliament scheduled for September 18, there is speculation that a constitutional amendment bill may be introduced to effect this change. The agenda for the session has not been released, but the possibility of such a bill cannot be dismissed.
This development unfolds against the backdrop of the upcoming G20 Leaders’ Summit, slated for September 9-10 at the Bharat Mandapam in Pragati Maidan. India currently holds the G20 presidency, with several world leaders set to participate in the event. Notably, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s attendance remains unconfirmed, and China’s President Xi Jinping will not attend, with Premier Li Qiang leading the Chinese delegation.
The controversy surrounding the use of ‘President of Bharat’ on official invitations underscores the ongoing discourse regarding the nation’s identity and nomenclature, shaping the discourse as India prepares to host this significant international gathering.