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Understanding the debate of India being renamed, Bharat

Know the whole hoopla about the change of name of India as Bharat


The Supreme Court of India recently dismissed the PIL that asked to rename the name India to Bharat or Hindustan. However, the top court allowed sending the plea to the Central Government as a representation. The three-Judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India, S A Bobde, Justices Hrishikesh Roy and A S Bopanna said that India is already called Bharat in the Constitution.

The PIL was filed by a Delhi resident, Namah who sought removal of ‘India’ as the official name of the country saying that the name represents the slavery from British. He wanted amendment in Article 1, which deals with the name and territory of the Union. Article 1 (1) of the constitution calls the country as ‘India, that is Bharat’. The petitioner referred to the Constituent Assembly discussions that made a strong pitch for the adoption of the name ‘Bharat’ rather than ‘India’. The petition said, “The removal of the English name will instill a sense of pride in our own nationality, especially our future generation.”

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A small look into the history

There was an intense debate in the constituent assembly when the draft prepared by BR Ambedkar was presented. Draft started as ‘India, that is Bharat’. Sharp exchange was done among the members of Constituent Assembly for the name. Some said the name should be only Bharat or Hind while other said name should be Hindustan, Bharatbhumi, Bharatvarsh. Finally, then-chairman Rajendra Prasad put the amendments to vote and Article 1 remained intact with “India, that is Bharat”.

The debate of the naming of India is not new. It first occurred when India got freedom from British colonial power. The British called the country “India”. Before them the Mughals use to call our country ‘Hindustan’. 

We have renamed some of the biggest cities of the country. These are: Madras- Chennai, Banglore-Bengaluru, Bombay-Mumbai, Calcutta- Kolkata, Mysore-Mysuru and more. 

In 2014, Yogi Adityanath, present CM of Uttar Pradesh had moved a Private Member’s Bill in the Lok Sabha that sought replacement of the word “India” in the Constitution with “Hindustan” that would make “Bharat” as the primary name of the country.

Names changed in Modi regime

Since the Modi regime, several cities have been renamed. Allahabad is renamed to Prayagraj, Gurgaon to Gurugram, Faizabad to Ayodhya. Mughal Sarai Junction was renamed Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Junction.

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