Active Stocks
Wed May 22 2024 12:59:44
  1. Tata Steel share price
  2. 173.40 -0.52%
  1. ITC share price
  2. 439.20 0.98%
  1. State Bank Of India share price
  2. 817.60 -1.56%
  1. Kotak Mahindra Bank share price
  2. 1,697.25 0.01%
  1. NTPC share price
  2. 373.35 0.39%
Business News/ News / India/  India to Bharat? Dinner invite sparks name change rumour

India to Bharat? Dinner invite sparks name change rumour

The invite for the 9 September dinner at 8pm, to be hosted by Murmu in Bharat Mandapam, will come in the middle of the G20 leaders summit in New Delhi.

President Droupadi Murmu (PTI)Premium
President Droupadi Murmu (PTI)

New Delhi: An invitation for a G20 dinner sent out by President Droupadi Murmu in her capacity as “President of Bharat" instead of “President of India" triggered a controversy on Tuesday and set off furious speculation that such a move could be part of the legislative agenda in the upcoming special session of Parliament.

The Opposition said the decision violated the Constitution and sought to link it to the decision to name the 28-party opposition grouping INDIA, but some senior government ministers said it was meant to snap ties with a colonial past.

The invite for the 9 September dinner at 8pm, to be hosted by Murmu in Bharat Mandapam, will come in the middle of the G20 leaders summit in New Delhi.

“This should have happened earlier. This gives great satisfaction to the mind. Bharat is our introduction. We are proud of it. The President has given priority to Bharat. This is the biggest statement to come out of the colonial mindset," said education minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who was among the first leaders to share the invite sent out by the external affairs ministry on behalf of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

But the Opposition was unimpressed, pointing out that Article 1 of the Constitution said, “India, that is Bharat, shall be a union of states" adding that the decision was a knee jerk move to undercut the Opposition INDIA bloc.

Though there was no official confirmation, some speculated that changing the name of the country to Bharat could well be the reason for a special five-day session of Parliament to be called beginning 18 September, the 74th anniversary of the day when the Constituent Assembly adopted Article 1.

Experts also pointed out that Article 52 of the Constitution says, “There shall be a President of India," with no mention of Bharat.

“That change has to be brought about by an amendment in the Constitution, otherwise India’s name is India only. India that is Bharat written in Article 1 is only descriptive, it is not that these two are interchangeable. It will be suicidal to use them interchangeably. There is only one name for one country," said constitutional expert PDT Achary.

“So the news is indeed true. Rashtrapati Bhawan has sent out an invite for a G20 dinner on 9 Sept 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," Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said.

The jury was still out on whether (if the government wants to go ahead with the move), it can be achieved through a simple resolution, given that Article 1 uses both names, or it requires a constitutional amendment.

The row came four days after Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat made a strong pitch for using Bharat instead of India. Addressing an event in Guwahati on 1 September, Bhagwat had said the country’s name as Bharat was continuing since ancient times and must be taken forward. “The name of our country has been Bharat for ages. Whatever may be the language, the name remains the same," the RSS chief said.

BJP Lok Sabha member Parvesh Verma said he was, in any case, going to bring a private member’s bill in the next session – the special session has no time demarcated for private member’s bill – seeking to amend the Constitution’s preamble to remove the word India.

In the bill, which HT has seen, Verma cited Puranas and said the country was named Bharatavarsha after Bharat Chakravarti, the son of Lord Rishabhdev. “Bharat matches more with the history and culture of our great nation,’’ said Verma, denying his initiative has anything to do with the Opposition INDIA bloc. “I prepared it much before that announcement and will be introducing it in the next session."

The Opposition hit out at the move without hours of the G20 invitation going public.

West Bengal chief minister supremo Mamata Banerjee criticised the move. “We all know India is Bharat, but the world knows us as India. What changed suddenly that we should use only Bharat?" she asked.

Her Tamil Nadu counterpart MK Stalin also lashed out at the government. “Seems like the BJP is rattled by a single term called INDIA because they recognise the strength of unity within the Opposition. During the elections, India will chase the BJP out of power!" Stalin said.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal asked whether the BJP would change the name of Bharat if the opposition alliance – Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance or INDIA – rechristened itself Bharat. A Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) lawmaker even said that work had already begun to change the alliance’s name to BHARAT – Bring Harmony , Reconciliation, And Trust

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) patriarch Sharad Pawar said no one had the right to change the country’s name.

The BJP dismissed the Opposition’s objections and said the use of the Hindi name underscored its civilisation march.

“Congress looks at everything as tinkering…I don’t see any problem. If we won’t use the name of Bharat as Bharat, then what else," Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said.

In a post on X, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma – who had commented to the INDIA grouping’s name hours after it was announced in July – attacked the Congress. “The Congress seems to have a strong aversion towards Bharat. It appears that the name INDIA was intentionally chosen with the aim of defeating BHARAT.

“The opposition also claimed that it was reflective of the BJP’s “jitteriness" over the INDIA bloc," he said.

In June 2020, the Supreme Court sent a petition seeking renaming of India as Bharat for the Centre’s consideration.“Bharat and India are both names given in the Constitution. India is already called Bharat in the Constitution", the then Chief Justice of India (CJI), SA Bobde, orally said in that hearing. The petitioner, Namah, a Delhi resident, said in his plea that the word Bharat instilled national pride while India is of Greek origin. The petitioner sought an amendment to the Constitution and referred to the Constituent assembly debates that made a strong pitch for the adoption of Bharat and not India.

On social media, the move also sparked other questions: What Will India’s new top level domain (currently it is .in) be if it changes its name? Will the IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) and the IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) have to change their name? What of institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India, organisations such as the Indian Space Research Organisation, or commercial entities such as the State Bank of India? What would happen to the passport, which mentions the Republic of India on the cover? Or would both names now be used interchangeably?

There were also questions on the impact of the change, if it happens, south of the Vindhyas, given the Hindi association of the name, although India is already called Bharatam in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam."It is an attempt to impose a language on the entire country," said Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Unlock a world of Benefits! From insightful newsletters to real-time stock tracking, breaking news and a personalized newsfeed - it's all here, just a click away! Login Now!

Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
More Less
Published: 05 Sep 2023, 11:25 PM IST
Next Story footLogo
Recommended For You