Delhi woman arrested for acid attack on daughter-in-law

NEW DELHI Delhi Police has recently arrested a...

House of Tuneman’s Bombay Bustle makes a mark

Tech house lovers will be happy to...

Congress choosing Mandal politics over real issues

Party seems to have sidestepped common man’s...

Government firm on popularising official use of ‘Bharat’ in place of ‘India’

Top 5Government firm on popularising official use of ‘Bharat’ in place of ‘India’


Even before the dust kicked up over the “One Nation, One Election” proposal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi could settle down, the Opposition parties find themselves facing a fresh challenge of countering the government’s resolve to popularise the use of the word “Bharat” instead of “India” in official communications. The G20 official dinner’s invitation bears the words “The President of Bharat”, the official identity cards of Indian delegates read “Bharat officials” and even the function notes released ahead of PM Modi’s foreign visits have started using the words “The Prime Minister of Bharat”.

The name change opted for by the Modi government in official communications, it seems, gained momentum about a month ago. The shift from “India” to “Bharat” has created a deep divide among the political community in the country—with BJP and its allies welcoming the move, on one side, and the Congress-led Opposition parties opposing the switch, on the other.

Interestingly, the function note of PM Modi’s visit to the 20th ASEAN-India Summit on 7 September also mentioned “Visit of the Prime Minister of Bharat Shri Narendra Modi to Republic of Indonesia”.

Already on the back foot over the “eradicate Sanatan Dharma” remark by DMK leader Udayanidhi Stalin, the Opposition I.N.D.I.A bloc was caught unawares by the “Bharat” name move of the Modi government. The Opposition grouping that has struggled to put forward a strong response to the government’s bold step to set up the Ramnath Kovind panel for discussion on the “One Nation One Election” issue, is now preparing to speak in unison against the Modi government’s decision to opt for using “Bharat” in official communications, something which they call a gimmick and a panic reaction over the growing strength of the Opposition bloc.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh wrote on X, “All this drama because the Opposition got together and called itself I.N.D.I.A.” His party colleague Shashi Tharoor said there was no objection to using the word “Bharat”, but no government would be foolish enough to completely black out the word “India” that has “incalculable brand value built up over centuries”.

There is speculation that a resolution is likely to be introduced in the special Parliament session from 18-22 September for replacing “India” with “Bharat” in the Constitution and official communications.

Constitutional experts also seemed divided over the issue. While Tharoor said there is no constitutional objection to calling India “Bharat”, constitutional expert P.D.T. Achary said “India” and “Bharat” cannot be used interchangeably. Achary said a change in name from “Republic of India” will require constitutional amendment.

However, another expert said the government does not need any parliamentary permission or legislation to use the word “Bharat” in place of “India” in official communications. However, a constitutional amendment may be needed if the government intends to make changes in Article 1 that reads, “India, that is Bharat…”.

Historians also point out that at the time of the framing the Constitution, many members of the Constituent Assembly, including member of the Constituency Assembly H.V. Kamath, had objected to giving pre-eminence to India over Bharat in the first line of Article 1. However, the objections were overruled.

Legal luminaries said if the government wants to replace the word “India” with “Bharat” in the Constitution a Bill under Article 368 would have to be introduced and passed with at least 66% votes in both Houses of Parliament. At least 356 votes would be needed for the approval of the Bill in Lok Sabha (where NDA has 329 members) and 157 votes in Rajya Sabha (where NDA has 104).

Experts said even some Congress leaders have in the past demanded the replacement of word “India” with “Bharat” in the statute. For example, in 2012, Congress leader Shantaram Naik brought a private member’s Bill proposing that in the “Preamble of the Constitution for the word ‘India’ the word ‘Bharat’ shall be substituted”. Naik’s Bill also said that in Article 1 of the Constitution in clause I, for the words “India, that is Bharat” the word “Bharat” shall be substituted.

The private member Bill also sought a change saying, in the Constitution, for the word “India”, wherever it occurs, the word “Bharat” shall be substituted. Naik’s Bill said in its statement of objects and reasons section that “India” denotes a territorial concept, whereas “Bharat” signifies much more than the mere territories of India. When we praise our country we say, “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and not “India ki Jai”. There are various grounds for changing the name of the country to simply “Bharat”, the statement said.

In 2004, when Mulayam Singh was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the state Assembly passed a resolution that in the Constitution “India, that is Bharat” should be changed to “Bharat, that is India”.

But today Mulayam Singh’s son Akhilesh Yadav, a member of the I.N.D.I.A bloc, himself is opposing it, complained a BJP leader. A political analyst said the Modi government’s preference for “Bharat” is causing problems to those parties that have very high stakes in the Muslim vote-bank. “Since Muslims do not worship idols, the use of the term ‘Bharat’ or ‘Bharat Mata’ is also not acceptable to a section of the community. In such a scenario, parties that do not want to antagonise Muslims are opposing the change from ‘India’ to ‘Bharat’.”

Opposition parties, including AAP, said that the government is afraid of I.N.D.I.A so it has changed the name of the country. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said if the Opposition bloc turns its name to Bharat, then “Will the government again change the country’s name?” he asked.

“What is it that is forcing the government to change history in haste?” asked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The Congress said such a move would be against the Constitution. “It will hurt the Indian identity of the country at the global stage,” said Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

However, BJP MP Harnath Singh Yadav said “India” is a word associated with the British colonial rule and the entire country is demanding a switch to Bharat. Actor Amitabh Bachchan and cricketers Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag also posted messages on social media supporting the idea of popularising the word “Bharat”.

The Opposition questioned if the government also intended to replace the word “India” from the names of institutions like the Supreme Court of India, Indian Institution of Technology or Indian Space Research Organisation, causing public inconvenience and large-scale chaos.

Check out our other content

Check out other tags:

Most Popular Articles