A proposal to officially change India’s name to Bharat may be tabled by the Narendra Modi-led government during the upcoming special session of the Parliament from September 18-22.
Speculation about the name change was fuelled amid reports that Rashtrapati Bhawan has sent an invite for a G20 dinner on September 9 in the name of “President of Bharat” instead of the usual “President of India”.
The Constitution of India currently refers to the country as “India, that is Bharat…”, but there is a growing call among the ruling party’s right-wing support base to amend this to simply “Bharat”.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament Parvesh Verma has also prepared a private member’s bill seeking to amend the Constitution’s preamble to remove the word India even as lawmakers have been informed that there will be no private members’ day or zero question hours during the special session.
Verma’s bill says the name Bharat has been widely recognised internationally as an alternate name for India as reported by Hindustan Times.
“By officially adopting ‘Bharat’ as the formal name of our nation, we will establish a unified identity in global forums, promoting India’s cultural and historical heritage on the international stage. Renaming India as ‘Bharat’ will reinforce our cultural identity, foster national unity, and project a more authentic representation of our country’s rich heritage on the global stage.” It adds this move will align with the aspirations of the citizens seeking to embrace and “celebrate our cultural roots.”
There was no official confirmation of the introduction of the renaming bill even as the Opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc constituents linked the reference to the Bharat in the G20 invite to the BJP’s nervousness over the formidable challenge they pose to the ruling party.
On the previous Thursday, the government announced a special session, triggering speculation that it has been convened for a Uniform Civil Code legislation, the celebration of India’s G20 presidency, and the new Parliament building, etc.
BJP’s ideological fount, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has been pushing for the change in name from India, using Bharat in its communication.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rashtrapati Bhawan’s invite for the G20 dinner on September 9 in the name of “President of Bharat” instead of the usual “President of India”. In a post on X (formerly Twitter), he cited the Constitution’s Article 1 that “Bharat, that is India, shall be a Union of States” and added now even this “Union of States” is under assault.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal asked the BJP whether it would change the name of Bharat if the opposition alliance INDIA renamed itself Bharat.
“There is no official information about it but I have heard rumours. Why is this happening? Some parties have come together to form the INDIA bloc. If the INDIA alliance changes its name to Bharat, will they rename Bharat?” Kejriwal said. “This is treason.”
People took to X to question the alleged decision by the BJP. Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M.K.Stalin, said, “After Non-BJP forces united to dethrone the fascist BJP regime and aptly named their alliance #INDIA, now the BJP wants to change ‘India’ for ‘Bharat.’”
Member of Parliament for Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, since 2009 and writer Shashi Tharoor and said, “I hope the government will not be so foolish as to completely dispense with “India”
Investigative Journalist Saurav Das took a rather humorous take and questioned why ‘Prime Minister of India’ isn’t being called ‘Emperor of Bharat’.
Journalist Nidhi Razdan questioned whether every stakeholder was contacted in this regard or not stating that India belongs to all instead of one political party.