After Indian President Draupadi Murmu’s invitations sent to foreign leaders on the occasion of the G20 summit read ‘President of India’, speculations are rife that the government is about to change the country’s name.
According to the British news agency Reuters, in invitations issue by Indian constitutional institutions, when the text is in English. The name of the country is always written as ‘India, and if it is in Hindi, then ‘Bharat’.
Draupadi Murmu is label as ‘President of India’ in the invitations sent to attend the G20 summit dinner.
When Reuters asked an official from the president’s office about this, he said he did not want to comment on the matter.
Given Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government’s Hindu nationalist ideology and push for increased use of the Hindi language, critics believe the government is pushing to officially change the country’s name.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has changed the colonial names of towns and cities, which it claims will help rid India of its slavery-minded past.
What is the official name of the country?
In English, India is call the ‘South Asian giant’, while in Indian languages it is also call Bharat, Bharata, and Hindustan.
The preamble of the English version of the Constitution begins with the words ‘We, the people of India’. While part of the document states that ‘India, that is, Bharat, shall be a union of States.’
In the Hindi version of the Constitution, India is written as ‘Bharat’ everywhere except in the section. Where the names of the countries are define: ‘Bharat means India, which shall be a union of States.’
Changing India’s name to India would require a constitutional amendment. Which would have to be approve by a two-thirds majority in both houses of Parliament.
Will the government officially change the name?
Some believe that the timing of the conflict is important. This incident came to the fore when the government announced a five-day special session of Parliament. At the end of this month without giving an agenda.
The move sparked unconfirmed reports that the name change could be discussed and approved during the session.
Although there has been no confirmation that progress is being made on such a move. Members of the ruling BJP have suggested that the name ‘Bharat’ should take precedence over India.
A government spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
What is the history of both names?
Both names have been around for over two thousand years.
Some proponents of the name Bharat say that the name ‘India’ was give by the British colonialists. And historians say that the name predates colonial rule by centuries.
The name India is derive from the Indus River, which is call Sindhu in Sanskrit.
The name Bharat is older than what is found in ancient Indian scriptures. But according to some experts, it was use as a term of socio-cultural identity rather than geography.