External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has weighed in on the ongoing ‘India-Bharat’ debate, emphasizing that ‘Bharat’ has a connotation reflected in India’s Constitution. The controversy was sparked by invitations sent by Rashtrapati Bhawan for a G20 dinner on September 9, which were issued on behalf of the ‘President of Bharat’ instead of ‘President of India,’ leading to rumors about potential changes in the country’s official name usage.
As India remains discreet about its legislative agenda for the special session of Parliament later this month, some reports suggested that BJP MPs might propose a special resolution to prioritize the name “Bharat.” This news generated both opposition and enthusiastic support.
Minister Jaishankar responded to these developments, saying, “India that is Bharat, it is there in the Constitution. Please, I would invite everybody to read it.” He highlighted that the term ‘Bharat’ carries a particular meaning, understanding, and connotation, which is also reflected in India’s Constitution.
India is often referred to as Bharat and Hindustan, its pre-colonial names, in various Indian languages, and these terms are used interchangeably by the public and in official contexts.
In recent years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has taken steps to eliminate lingering symbols of British rule by changing colonial-era names to promote a sense of national pride and move past the colonial mentality.
Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi expressed his party’s commitment to working for both India and Bharat, contrasting it with the BJP’s focus on “India versus Bharat.” He suggested that the BJP’s shift in rhetoric might stem from a perceived threat following the emergence of the INDIA alliance, and accused the BJP of attempting to divert attention from pressing issues like inflation, unemployment, and various regional and national concerns.
The ‘India-Bharat’ debate continues to capture attention, reflecting evolving discussions about the nation’s identity and nomenclature.