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DNA TV Show: India or Bharat? What does the Constitution say and how renaming controversy started?

This dinner invitation was extended to visitors traveling to the nation for the G-20 Summit. However, certain phrases on this dinner invitation sparked a dispute between India and Bharat.

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The dinner invitation sent out by Rashtrapati Bhavan sparked controversy around nation's name. This dinner invitation was extended to visitors traveling to the nation for the G-20 Summit. However, certain phrases on this dinner invitation sparked a dispute between India and Bharat.

Before now, the first line of any official letter sent from Rashtrapati Bhavan read, "The President of India." However, 'The President Of Bharat' was put on the invitation letter that was issued to the G-20 dinner guests. This was a first for Rashtrapati Bhavan to take such a step. 

What is stated in the Indian Constitution?

Our Constitution makes it quite clear whether the name of the nation should be India or Bharat. Article 1 of the Constitution states, “India, that is Bharat, shall be Union of States.” In the English version of the Preamble of our Constitution it is written – “We The People Of India”. Whereas in the Hindi version of the Constitution, it is written, “Hum bharat ke log”. Similarly, in the title of the Constitution, it is written in English - 'Constitution of India'.

Whereas the Hindi title of the Constitution reads- “Bharat ka savidhan”. 'British India' was the name of the nation prior to its independence. India Independence Act 1947 was the official name of the proposal for Indian independence. It indicates that the nation was referred to as India when the British were in power. However, the effort to change its name began after independence. 

The Constituent Assembly debated the name of the nation on September 17, 1949. Seth Govind Das, among others, argued on maintaining the country's name as "Bharat" when the name of the country was being discussed in the Constituent Assembly's drafting committee. 

Because the word "Bharat" also appears in Hindu sacred writings, Seth Govind Das claimed that the name "Bharat" would be suited for the history and culture of our nation. However, the issue was that the majority of people outside of India simply knew their country's name as INDIA. By using Ireland as an example, PV Kamat proposed this solution to the issue. which was known as Bharat when written in Hindi and as India when spoken in English.

Names given by foreigners 

India was referred to as "Meluha" during the 4,000–5,000-year-old Indus Valley Civilization by the Mesopotamian and Sumerian civilizations of Western Asia. The titles Hindustan and India, sometimes known as Indica, were also given by foreigners.

The nation was also referred to as Al-Hind, Hind, Hindustan, Sindh, and Hind during the Sultanate and Mughal eras. The Greek diplomat Magasthenes visited Patliputra or Patna 2300 years ago, during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya. 'Indica' was how he referred to India. In the 18th century, as British control over India grew, the term India—rather than Bharat—became more prevalent.

Proposal to rename the nation

In their election manifesto from the year 2004, the Samajwadi Party pledged to rename India as Bharat. Additionally, Mulayam Singh Yadav submitted a proposal about this to the UP Assembly after winning the elections.

A petition has also been submitted to the Supreme Court over this in the years 2015 and 2020. However, the Supreme Court had ruled in 2020 that we could not take any action regarding this matter; the Parliament would have to make the final decision.

 

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