In an unprecedented turn of events, the Narendra Modi-led government is poised to proffer a proposal of substantial consequence to the nation’s nomenclature. During the imminent special session of Parliament, slated for September 18-22, a transformative proposition is anticipated: the rechristening of “India” as “Bharat,” a moniker rooted in the country’s historical identity.
The impetus behind this audacious endeavor emerged from an unexpected source – the G20 Summit of 2023. The invites disseminated from the office of President Draupadi Murmu bore the inscription “The President of Bharat,” a departure from the traditional “President of India.” This shift in nomenclature proved to be a catalyst for intense debate, pitting the Congress against the BJP.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, swift to react to the altered nomenclature, utilized the platform of X (formerly known as Twitter) to castigate the Modi administration. Ramesh expressed concern that such a change could potentially undermine the very fabric of the nation as enshrined in Article 1 of the Constitution, which currently reads: “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.”
Undeterred by the opposition’s resistance, Ramesh declared, “Mr. Modi can continue to distort history and divide India, that is Bharat, that is a Union of States. But we will not be deterred. After all, what is the objective of INDIA parties? It is BHARAT—Bring Harmony, Amity, Reconciliation And Trust. Judega BHARAT, Jeetega INDIA!”
The BJP, on the other hand, appeared steadfast in its resolve to champion this renaming initiative. BJP MP Pramod Tiwari contended that the BJP harbored an aversion to the term “India.” This assertion was met with a swift rejoinder from BJP national president Jagat Prakash Nadda, who questioned the Congress party’s objections, viewing them as contrary to the nation’s “honour and glory.”
Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar, aligning with the BJP’s stance, affirmed his unwavering allegiance to “Bharat” and challenged Congress to seek its own remedy for their grievances.
The campaign to rename “India” as “Bharat” is not without precedent, as BJP Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Bansal had previously advocated for the excision of “India” from the Constitution. Bansal’s argument was founded on the belief that the term symbolized a legacy of colonial subjugation. This viewpoint found resonance with BJP MP Harnath Singh Yadav, who called for a constitutional amendment to enshrine “Bharat” in lieu of “India.”
As the nation awaits the unfolding drama of the parliamentary special session, the contours of India’s identity hang in the balance, poised for transformation. This move, marked by linguistic and historical significance, has set the stage for a polarizing debate that is likely to resonate throughout the corridors of power and beyond.