India, Bharat and a host of implications
The usage of the terms “Bharat” and “India” carries historical, ideological, constitutional, and international significance. Recently, political dimensions have emerged surrounding these words due to the formation of the acronym “INDIA” by certain opposition parties. This acronym stands for the ‘Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance.’ The government’s use of ‘President of Bharat’ in official invitations, instead of ‘President of India,’ is seen as an attempt to counter the potential political power of “INDIA.”
GS – 02 (Indian Constitution)
- Article 1
- Origin of the Name Bharat and India
- Vishnu Purana
- Discuss the historical, constitutional, and international implications of using the terms ‘Bharat’ and ‘India’ in official documents and international contexts. 150 words.
Dimensions of the Article:
- Historical Context
- 58th Amendment
- The Risk of Alienation
- During the transfer of power from British rule to Indian hands in 1947, the Indian Independence Act of 1947 created two dominions: India and Pakistan.
- The Muslim League advocated for India to be named either “Hindustan” or “Bharat,” arguing that these names represented the two successor states emerging from the dissolution of the British Indian empire.
- India, however, asserted that it was the legitimate successor state to British India, and Pakistan had seceded from it. This argument was eventually settled in India’s favor, and Pakistan had to establish its international identity, including applying for UN membership.
- India has consistently used the name ‘India’ in international and multilateral contexts, reflecting its international personality. For example, joint statements with other countries are titled ‘India-[Country] Joint Statement.’ In diplomatic documents, the word ‘India’ is used in the English language.
- The 58th Amendment to the Constitution in 1987 empowered the President to publish the authoritative text of the Constitution in Hindi.
- This authoritative Hindi text could be used in legal proceedings. As a result of this amendment, the Hindi version of the Constitution became ‘authoritative’ and is titled ‘Bharat ka Samvidhan.’
- The English version of the Constitution is titled the ‘Constitution of India,’ emphasizing the word ‘India.’
- This constitutional arrangement has led to the practice of using ‘India’ in English and ‘Bharat’ in Hindi in internal and international documents. For example, the English-language Gazette is called the ‘Gazette of India,’ while in Hindi, it is ‘Bharat ka Rajpatra.’
The Risk of Alienation:
- The current government and Sangh Parivar appear to favor using ‘Bharat’ over ‘India.’ This preference is evident in the use of ‘President of Bharat’ in G-20 invitations.
- However, they cannot make this change internationally without officially altering the country’s name to ‘Bharat’ and abandoning ‘India.’ Such a change may alienate parts of the population that prefer ‘India’ to ‘Bharat.’
A strike of caution must be considered in addressing an issue this big of changing names as it may pose greater challenges in areas concerned with International dealings.