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Business News/ Politics / News/  India vs Bharat row: Is name change for India to ‘Bharat’ possible?

India vs Bharat row: Is name change for India to ‘Bharat’ possible?

Controversy over alleged renaming of India to Bharat ahead of G20 summit. Opposition compares it to colonialism.

Controversy Erupts as India Considers Renaming Itself Bharat (PTI)Premium
Controversy Erupts as India Considers Renaming Itself Bharat (PTI)

Just as India is getting ready to host the G20 leaders, the Central government has gotten embroiled in a controversy over the alleged “renaming" of India to Bharat. The controversy erupted when an invite for a G20 dinner was sent out in the name of the 'President of Bharat' instead of the usual 'President of India', triggering a buzz that India was being renamed.

The drill followed – The INDIA bloc protested against an “assault" on the Union of States, the NDA faction hailed the use of ‘Bharat’, saying the word ‘India’ was given by the Britishers.

While the Central government has not confirmed it, if the renaming is in process, going by the ‘President of Bharat’ invite and ‘Prime Minister of Bharat’ bulletin, it didn’t seem like an overnight decision to do away with what the Centre sees as colonial-era names.

The attack on the name ‘India’ started when the Opposition faction got together and called itself the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A). That was the first instance when Prime Minister Narendra Modi compared it to East India Company, Indian Mujahideen and Popular Front of India (PFI), saying they all have ‘India’ in their names.

“East India Company, PFI, Indian Mujahideen also using ‘India’ in their names. Chehre par chehre laga lete hai log," PM Modi said attacking the Opposition bloc.

The same was echoed by former Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. “PM Modi has given a statement that the Indian National Congress, East India Company was founded by a foreign national. Today people are using names like Indian Mujahideen and Indian People's Front," he said.

At his Independence Day address, PM Modi addressed the need to break free from a mindset of subjugation, indicating the importance of shedding the colonial mentality.

“In no part of our existence, not even in the deepest corners of our mind or habits should there be any ounce of slavery. It should be nipped there itself… This slavery of hundreds of years has kept us bound, has forced us to keep our emotions tied up…(it) developed distorted thinking in us. We have to liberate ourselves from the slavery mindset which is visible in innumerable things within and around us," PM Modi said.

The latest attack was from Union Minister Rajnath Singh who said the name itself was “khatarnaak (dangerous)" and using this name will undoubtedly result in failure, while remembering the BJP’s ‘India Shining’ slogan.

“And what is the situation of this [INDIA] coalition? Naam bada, darshan chhota. They have kept the name INDIA, but I would like to tell them, ye naam bahut khatarnaak hai [This name is very dangerous]. We also gave a slogan of ‘Shining India’ and lost. And now that you have made INDIA your name, your defeat is certain," he said.

Ever since the G20 dinner invite was sent out mentioning ‘President of Bharat’, several BJP leaders and NDA coalition parties have hailed the name ‘Bharat’. While it remains uncertain if the Centre will formally propose renaming the country as Bharat, the likelihood is not slight.

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Chanchal is a chief content producer at LiveMint. Chanchal is obsessed with Google incognito. She likes writing, politics, Oxford comma, Eddie Vedder, and a good keyboard. Follow her @chanchaltracks. If you have a story idea, send her a mail at
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Published: 06 Sep 2023, 04:58 PM IST
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