From India to ‘Bharat’? Govt likely to bring proposal to change country's name in Parliament special session

05:21PM Tue 5 Sep, 2023

The five-day special session of Parliament is set to begin on 18 September and there is much anticipation around the possibility of a big decision from the government. After UCC and ‘one-nation, one election’ another guess is going around, which points towards an official change in our nation's name from 'India' to ‘Bharat’ through a constitutional amendment under Article 368.

Article 1 of the Indian constitution mentions our country as 'India, that is Bharat' is a 'Union of States'. The name was decided by the Constituent Assembly after much debate as some members wanted the name India and some wanted to keep it Bharat.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has declared several times that they tilt towards the ‘Bharat’ name. During his Independence Day speech in 2022, PM Modi asked the citizens to take some pledges including eliminating the traces of slavery. The change in the name from India to Bharat can serve as a symbolic gesture towards embracing our nation's cultural identity.

The murmurs around the expectation were substantiated by two incidents- one is the recent post by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on X (formerly Twitter) who said “REPUBLIC OF BHARAT - happy and proud that our civilization is marching ahead boldly towards AMRIT KAAL."

Secondly, the official dinner invite to the G20 delegation from Rashtrapati Bhawan mentions the President as 'President of Bharat' rather than 'President of India.' Congress leader Jairam Ramesh reacted to the changes in the dinner invite and said that the news of name change seems to be true.

“So the news is indeed true. Rashtrapati Bhawan has sent out an invite for a G20 dinner on Sept 9th in the name of 'President of Bharat' instead of the usual 'President of India'. Now, Article 1 in the Constitution can read: “Bharat, that was India, shall be a Union of States." But now even this “Union of States" is under assault," Jairam Ramesh said.

The demand for changing the name of the country from India to Bharat has been raised several times and people like Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat has also supported the idea. The move is likely to be dubbed as another attempt to move away from the colonial legacy.

Notably, the change may come at a time when the 28-member Opposition bloc which is planning to fight the Lok Sabha 2024 election together is named itself as Indian National Democratic Inclusive Alliance (INDIA). The development may create fresh set of hostilities between the government and Opposition.