Controversy Surrounds Use of “Bharat” in G20 Invites: Is India’s Name Changing?

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The use of “Bharat” instead of “India” in invitations for a G20 summit dinner hosted by Indian President Droupadi Murmu has sparked speculation about a potential name change for the country.

Traditionally, invitations from Indian constitutional bodies have used the name “India” in English and “Bharat” in Hindi. However, the G20 dinner invites were in English and referred to Murmu as the “President of Bharat.”

Critics view this deviation as a potential indication that the government is pushing for an official name change, aligning with the Hindu-nationalist ideology of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and its emphasis on promoting Hindi.

India’s official name has long been a subject of dual nomenclature. In English, it is referred to as India, while in Indian languages, it is known as Bharat, Bharata, and Hindustan. The constitution, in its English version, begins with “We, the people of India…” and subsequently states, “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.”

In Hindi, the constitution primarily uses Bharat but includes “India” in the part defining the country’s names: “Bharat, that is India, shall be a Union of States.”

To officially change India’s name to Bharat, a constitutional amendment would be required, necessitating approval by a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament.

The timing of this controversy is noteworthy, as it follows the government’s announcement of a surprise five-day special parliamentary session later this month, without disclosing its agenda. Unconfirmed reports have suggested that a name change could be on the agenda during this session.

While there is no official confirmation of such a move, members of the government and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have expressed their preference for “Bharat” to take precedence over “India.” The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the BJP, has consistently advocated for the use of “Bharat” as the country’s name.

As the controversy unfolds, many are closely watching whether India’s name may indeed undergo an official transformation from “India” to “Bharat.”

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