The recent controversy surrounding an invitation at a G20 dinner, where President Droupadi Murmu was referred to as the “President of Bharat” instead of “President of India,” has sparked a heated debate in India’s political landscape. Opposition parties have claimed that the Narendra Modi government is planning to change the name of the country from India to Bharat. In parallel, reports from local media in Pakistan suggest that Pakistan might consider asserting its claim on the name ‘India’ if India officially derecognizes it at the United Nations level.
The South Asia Index, a Twitter handle, posted a tweet speculating about Pakistan’s possible claim on the name “India” if India takes steps to derecognize it at the UN level. Nationalists in Pakistan argue that the name ‘Pakistan’ also refers to the Indus region, and they believe that they have historical rights to the name.
Furthermore, the handle suggested that the Indian government might be contemplating a name change from India to Bharat as a part of an effort to “decolonize” the country. The name ‘Bharat’ has deep roots in Sanskrit and has been used historically to refer to the Indian subcontinent. It’s worth noting that the Indian government has not officially announced any plans to change the country’s name, and such a decision would require significant legal and constitutional processes.
The tweets also highlighted the historical context of Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s objections to the name “India” after India gained independence in 1947. Jinnah had advocated for names like “Hindustan” or “Bharat” instead of “India,” expressing concerns that the term “India” could lead to confusion.
Former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan added to the debate by asserting that the original name of the country was “unquestionably” Bharat, and it was the British who started using the term “India.” This historical perspective underscores the complexity of the issue.
It’s important to note that changes to a country’s name are substantial decisions with legal, constitutional, and historical implications. Any such proposal in India would require careful consideration and likely involvement of the country’s political and legal institutions.
As this situation continues to unfold, it is essential to rely on up-to-date and reliable news sources for the latest information and official statements from the Indian government. The controversy surrounding the name of the country remains a topic of discussion and speculation in the region.