Indian posters on X, formerly known as Twitter, are debating a potential name change for their country after a photo of an invitation to a G20 dinner in New Delhi circulated on the platform.
The picture shows an invitation from “The President of Bharat” for a formal dress dinner on Sept. 9, when the G20 summit, bringing together the 20 largest economies in the world, will be held in India.
Bharat is a Sanskrit word for India and is used as an alternative name for the country. India’s constitution opens by acknowledging the name, saying “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.”
“The entire country is demanding that we should use the word ‘Bharat’ instead of ‘India’…The word ‘India’ is an abuse given to us by the British whereas the word ‘Bharat’ is a symbol of our culture … I want there should be a change in our Constitution and the word ‘Bharat’ should be added to it,” said BJP MP Harnath Singh Yadav, according to India Today.
“Did we make a mistake in converting the name from Bharat to India?” asked X user @BattaKashmiri, posting a video from the popular Indian Yoga teacher and speaker Sadhguru, who says “whenever conquering forces occupy you the first thing they do is change your name.”
“They want to take away your identity,” @BattaKashmiri continued. “It’s time to make Bharata great again.”
“The nation has always been ‘Bharat’ and it should be ‘Bharat’ – time to shed off all symbols of slavery,” commented @SpeckOfDust79.
“Calling India as Bharat is not a new name or even renaming it,” said @AnObserversView. “It has always been Bharat as mentioned also in the constitution. Also to add that it is not just a name or a piece of land. It’s a civilisation, it’s a culture and it’s diversity in itself. It’s also an ocean of emotion.”
Other users disputed the idea that the name change made sense.
“It’s Bharat in Hindi/regional languages and India is English,” said @swapnilzs. “So it’s either ‘Republic of India’ or ‘भारत गणराज्य’, and NOT ‘Republic of Bharat.’ Govt has done it just to introduce ‘Bharat’ name to the world using G20’s platform.”
“Bharat is not a Hindi or Regional language word dear,” replied @imyogak. “It’s a Sanskrit word which dates back more than 2000 years.”
Other users defended the current name, which they say wasn’t imposed on their country by British colonization at all.
“British DID not name India, India ….. in fact they named their company East India company to do business with India,” said @rajivWORLD. “INDIA is subcontinent named after Indus valley/river. Our civilization is that old. British are just newbie. Don’t give them that much credit.”
And some people just didn’t think it mattered.
“Are we and our children truly following Indian traditions in food, clothing, culture, education and religion and societal values,” asked @suresh348377573. “NO. So what are we going to achieve by calling Bharat. Another name change. That’s all.”
“I regret to inform you that changing the name will not change our lives,” @ikaveri said. “Ok bye.”
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*First Published: Sep 5, 2023, 3:23 pm CDT