The India vs Bharat Debate: Historical Roots and Modern Controversy

See even today some of us think that the name India was given by britishers, which is wrong but more important than that is which name, from India and Bharat, should be used. What is the real status of these names? When these both names were being given, what discussions were happening in the Parliament? And why were only these two names kept? Why did Jinnah felt bad when we used the name India? What advantage was there at the time to use the name India due to which Jinnah and Nehru Ji both were after it. And this current issue of India vs. Bharat, what is it? You will understand all of that very clearly.  What was the real reason behind the name of the country that we live in. And where did these names come from? 

Origins of India and Bharat: Unveiling Ancient Tribes and Battles

See there are multiple stories over the names of Sindu river, India and Bharat. But one story that can be seen as the most authentic, because there’s written proof for it even today, In the Mandal 7 and 10 of Rigveda.I will tell you that now later. 

So we’ll have to go in the vedic age. You can see in this photo above Sindu river which leaves Tibet, flowing through Pakistan and lands in the Arabian Sea. Then Jhelam river flows from it Then Chenab river from there, and these two meet. And from there leaves Ravi river and this river is Beas river. And Satluj leaves from here. All of these 5 combined in the Sindu river. And from the side comes the Saraswati river. So these total are 7 rivers। 

Now from near Haryana and Punjab, there was an area and this area was calles Sapta Sindhu. This Sapta Sindhu region has various theories, you’ll find conflicts over where the actual area is. That is why I am showing you roughly. Since there are 7 rivers here and Sindhu is considered main, this area was called Sapta Sindu, and in this area of Sapta Sindhu lived a tribe, tribal people. It was their homeland and that tribe’s name was Bharata, and the king of this Bharata tribe was Raja Sudas.

So the tribe’s name was Bharata, and the geographical area where the tribe lived was called Sapta Sindu. Remember this, from here both India and Bharat both names are born. I’ll tell you later. 

After this, around 14th century, and upon this Bharata tribe, a Puru tribe along with 9 other tribes from the west, that is total 10 tribes together attacked Bharata tribe.This is a very famous battle, this is known as the Battle of Ten Kings. 

In the seventh Mandal of Rigveda, I am telling you as it is written step by step. So this fight was near Ravi river but what happened was, The Bharatas of Sapta Sindhu defeated these 10 tribes together. And sometime after defeating them, also defeated Ajas, Sigrus, and Lakshus of the east.

 So this way Bharata tribes got a lot of area. And they made the first empire of India, which geographically this empire got famous as Sapta Sindhu. And their tribe, that is, the people were famous as Bharatas. 

So at that time, a ritual was followed in which, The king who would win, they would perform a ‘yagya’, ashvamedha yagya, in which performing a yagya, a white horse would be freed, there would be many soldiers with that horse in the areas that horse would go to, that area would be his. And if any king would oppose that, then he would have to fight these soldiers. This yagya’s step by step process is in Yajur Veda. So I will tell you that in short. So the king of Bharata tribe performed this yagra. And doing this, the Sapta Sindhu kingdom started to grow rapidly. At that time what would happen is, whoever king would win, they would impose their tradition, their ideas, their gods/godesses on them.

But the king of Bharata tribe, Raja Sudas, he did not do it, instead whoever tribe he defeated, he took everyone in, instead of imposing his tradition, his ideas, his gods/godesses, all the tribes including the defeated ones, collected all the knowledge of the educated people and created vedas

Now since nobody wanted to leave their tradition and could do prayer to their gods/godesses. So this empire was joined by many tribes and this empire started growing rapidly. And all the people of this tribe were being called Bharatiya. And the land was called Sapta Sindhu.

 Now this tribe, empire, its people were considering themselved Bharatiya, but the geographical location was called Sapta Sindhu. So the people from outside knew the people here by the name of Sapta Sindhu.

Linguistic Evolution: From Sapta Sindhu to Hindustan and India

 Now what happens after this i, the persians would pronounce ‘s’ as ‘h’. That’s why in the whole middle east, Sapta Sindhu, became Hapta Hindu. And this whole story’s confirmation, if you see the Iranian religious textbooks, Avesta, there is Hapta Hindu in that.

And coming on, this Hapta Hindu became more famous as Hindu. And from this Hindu, many people said Hindustan.

 Now after some time, this work Hindu, the Greeks used it, now the problem with Greek was that they wouldn’t pronounce ‘H’. And there wasn’t even proper ‘U’ in their alphabets. That’s why the name Hinud was then pronounced ‘Indus’. And after this ‘Indos’, the latin form became India. 

So Sapta Sindhu, persians were not able to say ‘s’. So it became Hapta Hindu. Then when the Greeks has a problem with ‘h’ and ‘u’. So it became Indos. And its latin form became India.

So if you see it clearly, India and Bharat came from the same place. So this idea of India was not given by some outsider. But was due to mispronounciation. And even the britishers did not give it. Britishers used the work India instead of Bharat. But they didn’t coin the name themselves. 

Second story of getting the name Bharat and India

If you search another story in this, you would find, in which king Bharat came from the same tribe, and he was considered a very successful ruler from the Kshatriya dynasty.

He combined the whole area of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Srilanka, Myanmar, Iran. So he acquired such a big land, it was also called Bharatvarsa. 

That is, king Bharat’s land was represented as a single entity. So this story is considered its extended version. 

After this when Alexander invaded India in 3rd century BCE. So the name Indus became famous of Bharatiya. And after that, when britishers came, then it was called British India. Now after ruling of britishers for 200 years, the time comes for partition, and at this time, the name British India, was world famous. 

Post-Partition Controversy: Jinnah, Nehru, and the Branding of India

But when partition was happening, at that time Jinnah made such a mistake and even today Pakistan talks about this mistake. At the time of partition, Jinnah names his country Pakistan, and assumed that Nehru would name his country Bharat.

Because in Sanskrit, Buddhist, Jainist scriptures, Bharat name was everywhere India name was nowhere mentioned. And Jinnah thought that Nehru would never name his country India. One side would be Pakistan and other side would be Hindustan. Due to this assumption, there was no conflict at the beginning. 

But Nehru Ji had already talked with Mountbatten, about the name India. Now what happens is, it was September 1947, Approximately 1 month after freedom. Lord Mountbatten invited Mohammad Ali Jinnah to become honorary president of an art exhibition. And sent a very good invitation card. And this invitation card had written, this exhibition is of dominions of India and Pakistan. 

Now seeing this Jinnah got very mad. Instead of Hindustan or Bharat, Nehru took the name Bharat. And after this Jinnah immediately writes a letter to Lord Mountbatten, “it is a pity that due to some mysterious reasons, Hindustan adopted the work India. Which is misleading and will create confusion.”  Even Mountbatten officially said that Jinnah got very mad, when he found out about this. 

Now you might say that what was it in name India? Which both Jinnah and Nehru Ji both wanted to take. See so many years had passed, a historical supremacy was established of India. India had become a brand. 

Indian subcontinent had become a historical legacy. And Nehru Ji adopting the name India and Jinnah naming Pakistan, went all over the world as Pakistan has been separated from India. Whereas Jinnah wanted the name India to not be used, so that two countries have been separated at the same tangent, it should not seem like Pakistan has been created by being segregated from India which has a huge legacy. And this name had the advantage that wherever the name and title British India was used, from the Indian army to UN, all of it was replaced with India. British India now became India, this message was sent. And Jinnah did not wanted this at all.

 Jinnah even said that this name India is made from Sapta Sindhu, its main river Sindhu goes all the way through Pakistan, so logically this name should be under Pakistan but nothing like that happened. And this is the reason that Pakistan is still saying that if India changes the name to Bharat in the UN, then we’ll take the name India.

And all of these things that I’ve told you, all of this will be found in the book, India A History by John Keay and I’ve taken most of the things from page 56 and 58.

Constitutional Deliberations

Now see the name was taken by Nehru Ji. But the way this name will be used, a decision was to be made on that. And after that, the date comes 17th of September, 1949. And on this day, the name of the country was to be written in the first article of the constitution. 

So that day, 17th of September 1949, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar presented the final version of the article in the constituent assembly.In which both names, Bharat and India, were present. He moved a motion for article 1 clause 1. In which India that is Bharat shall be a union of state. Moving a motion means presenting the proposal. Like, article 1 should have this line that India that is Bharat. And then there’s debate on that and if everyone agrees, then that line is added in article 1.

So see, every document, discussion, every word that was spoken, and record were preserved of that time. So that if anyone gets stuck in the future in a predicament, then they could understand with all these discussion, what would be the reasons behind these names. And I’ve given the whole document If you get time, do read it. click here

After a long discussion, it was decided what the name should be. And how it should be written, where the comma would be, whether India will come first or Bharat. All this discussion is on that. So the debate happens in that, and the motion India that is Bharat, was passed unanimously, that is without any opposition.No one voted against it. And this thing was added in the article 1 of the constitution. 

But this whole discussion at the time was very logical and interesting. I will tell you a bit in short. So as the discussion starts, H V Kamath of Janta Party, he said that when a child is born, it gets a new name, just like that we’ve become a new country, so our country’s name should be like Bharat, Bharatvarsh, Bharatbhumi, or Bhartiya, something like that.

Just like that other people were also saying, it should be Hind or Hindustan. So on this, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar stopped everyone there, and he said all of these talks that you are doing, may be interesting somewhere else but right now the discussion is on India and Bharat. So name will be India or Bharat, talk about that.

Govind Das from Congress said that, India that is Bharat is alright, but instead of that, it should be India that is known as Bharat. He even said that we fought for freedom with the slogan ‘Bharat mata ki jai’. So if it would be like this, then it would be better.

 Kamalapati Tripathi said on this, it should be Bharat that is India. It is wrong to put India first. It was a long discussion. At the time of voting, everyone agreed on India that is Bharat. And not even one person voted against it. 

And after that, if they had to learn anything in Hindi, then ‘Bharat’ word was used and when something had to be written in English then ‘India’ word was used.If you look at the passport, if there’s a president’s letter or if you look at the Indian Currency wherever Hindi was written – ‘Bharat’ word has been used. And wherever English has been used, ‘India’ has been written there. 

But the Hindi version of our constitution – its written that -‘Bharat’ that is India’ and in English version – ‘India’ that is ‘Bharat’ – so we’ve kept following this as unsolved communication.

So, what I mean to say is that – from that day until now, both these names – ‘Bharat’ and ‘India’ – any of them can be used. 

Failed Attempt to Rename India to Bharat: The 2016 PIL

Now, the names of ‘Bharat’ and ‘India’ – not even a single discussion was raised until 2016, there wasn’t any problem but in March 2016, a PIL was filed in the supreme court that – India’s name should be changed to Bharat this PIL was heard by Justice – T.S. Thakur and Justice – UU Lalit and after hearing the PIL scolded the one who filed the petition. 

Justice – Thakur said that – be it nay authority, any state, any court – nobody has the power to decide that what should one say. People can decide by their own – if they want to say Bharat or India but an interesting thing in this is – that this petition was approved by BJP government at that time. And told the supreme court that – there aren’t any circumstances that we should amend the constitution to change the name of our country. After this, the petition was filed again in 2020 but this time, Supreme denied from hearing it. 

So, that must Now, after 3 years to this incident – that is 2023 let’s come to the current situation – after June 2023, you might already know that – 28 political parties hold 3 meetings in Patna, Bangalore, Mumbai and make an alliance – Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance – that is I.N.D.I.A and its purpose was to – fight together in 2024 elections.

Why did this controversy arise?

 So, all these things go on – but on 31st August, 2023 parliament minister tweets that – this time, session of parliament is being called and the date would be 18th of September, 2023 – 22nd of September, 2023. Now, until its a big matter – parliament’s special session isn’t implied elsewhere. In few months, regular parliamentary session were going to be held – so after this surprising tweet, trends surfaced on twitter, there was rush in the media, discussions were held, debates were held – someone said that – there’ll be one nation, one election, someone else talked about UCC and people started guessing different things & most of the people were guessing that one nation, one election – caused the special session to be held.

This tweet surfaces on 31st August and from 9th -10th September – G20 was to be held. So, when G20 is held – then all the Indian Politicians of India are sent an invitation by President of India now, since the inviation was sent by the President – her name was written in the invitation card as well. So, the invitation letter that the president of our country had sent was out in public – and as soon as it was made public, the invitation went viral.

Instead of President of India, it was written – President of Bharat and a commotion was created that – they aren’t talking about one nation, one election this special session as held to change the name of the country and when Modi JI was present in G20, then you might’ve noticed that on his table, Bharat was written instead of India – So, this caused even more commotion.

Now, opposition commented on this that – because we had made an alliance naed INDIA recently due to that – they’re changing the name of India & they also said that – if you’re doing this, then please don’t – because if you’ll change the name to ‘Bharat’, then we’ll change the name of our alliance as ‘Bharat’.

A tweet and the invitation letter caused a huge debate in the country that should the name of our country should be ‘India’ or ‘Bharat’!! This caused debate in different ways from both sides – that in Article 1 its written – India that is Bharat. So, this means both the names can be used – some said that – India will be used.Different debates had been started. 

So, in the constitution – India that is Bharat has been written and if you look at the Hindi version then Bharat that is India both these name scan be interchanged and used comfortably. Anyone can use whatever they want but the problem arises – when some one says that only India should be the name. Or they say that – only Bharat should be the name. 

So, the government thought that – India should be removed completely and change it to Bharat. So, for that we need to make amends in the constitution. And if the government wants then this can changed very easily – means, India will be removed completely and named as Bharat. But what should be done for that? So, for that the government needs to amend Article 1 – it has to pass a bill, but this bill wouldn’t be passed like a normal bill, so what happens is – if the parliament is making an amend in the constitution, then according to Article 368 there’re 2 ways – first is – the simple majority amendment and secondly – Special Majority amendment.

Suppose, you need to make anew state, or you want to increase the Rajya Sabha seats of a state then this can be done by simple majority amendment. You just need the support of 50% of the parliament. But in the case of Special Majority Amendment – 2/3d that is 66% people in the parliament should be in support.

So, if the name have to be ‘Bharat’ – then the 2nd one, Special Majority Amendment would be passed. Means – 66% of the parliament should be in your support. And experts say that – whenever the name of our country changes, then in that case – for half of the state you need their approval as well.

By looking at these things, Pakistan also involved – there’s a Pakistani Historian – Aisha Siddiqa – she said that, if India does this, then Pakistan’s past wish of keeping its name as INDIA would be fulfilled. And the politician of Indian Airlines – says that – if you’re changing the name due to us, then don’t do that – we’ll organize a meeting and change it to Bharat instead of India – now its not that – India would be the 1st country who changed the name of our country.

In 1989, Burma changed itself to Myanmar – in January 2023 -both the north & south regions of Burma was merged to Netherland In the 19th century, now Sri Lanka – it was earlier changed to Ceylon – but later was changed back to Sri Lanka. In 1935, the government of Persia called its country as Iran. The French republic called itself as French – names have been changed multiple times but there’s another interesting fact along with that the names of huge countries, aren’t theirs – the names has been given to them for example, America, Britain, Germany – these aren’t their original names – the ones who had conquered them had given this name.

The name of India can be changed but if the name is changed – then what are the problems in that case. The name of the country works like a bran d& researched calculate it through country brand equity. According to the research paper of Philip Cotler and David – the name of a country increases or decreases the value of any product.

 For example, if we buy a – Made in Switzerland – product, then its brand value isn’t like the brand value of – Made in Pakistan. So, the name of a country becomes like a brand & the products of that country help those products in other countries & influences the customer’s purchasing decisions.

when people take the name of any country, the image of that country is activated in their mind. And influences people’s decision to purchase, invest, travel and migrate to any country That’s why whenever a country changes its name – then it impacts the economy, import, export and everything. From the uniform of the army to the currency – everything needs to be changed and the experts of this field say that – changing the name is suitable for those countries, who have faced any allegation. but the huge countries with good image change their name, face problems. 

And this is the reason that – Germany, Britain, America – ones who ruled them had given them these names. But even after that – these huge countries didn’t change the name, in fact if I take the example of India, then the partition of Bengal has been so many years the East Bengal is named as Bangladesh in today’s date but India’s West Bengal hadn’t changed its name until now because there’re lot of complications – whenever the name changes, then changes occur at international, national, state, district & local level. And changing the name in India is even harder as compared to other countries because this is one of the diverse nations of India. 

Due to different languages, it needs to be changed in each language. When we need to change the name, then we need to spend money on lot of things one need to update maps, we need to update navigation system, the official documents used in different documents need to be changed, apart from this private businesses, corporate houses and non-governmental institutes needs to be spend on – while making a brand with a country’s new name, same problems occur that similar to making a company’s brand. 

And this was the biggest reason due to which Jinnah and Nehru Ji both were fighting for the brand – India and its also true that – the enthusiasm we feel while chanting – Bharat Mata ki Jai in using the word Bharat – is different. Its feeling is different. This promotes our culture as well, our history is preserved with it but all these things also have a costing attached to them. Let’s discuss that as well. 

Just changing the name will cost so much

Changing the name of our country isn’t like – you write it on the letter head & it’ll be changed. These things are done by small countries but country like India, whose influence is growing rapidly in today’s date this won’t be easy for it & it would cost a fortune as well.

In 2018, Allahabad was changed to Prayagraj – then according to the estimates of the government the state government had to spend Rs 300 crore in it.

 In 2018, there was an African country – Swaziland – it had changed its name to – eSwatini South Africa’s Intellectual property Lawyer – Darren Oliver – compared it with a corporation made a model to calculate how much money did it take to change for a country to change its name according to the model, the average marketing cost of huge country us around 6% of its total revenue. And the re-branding cost can be 10% of the overall marketing budget. This mode was taken up by Outlook magazine to analyze the name change of India and according to them, for changing the name of India – it would cost atleast Rs 14,000 crore. India’s total revenue receipt from 2022-2023 was Rs 23.84 lakh crore.So if we apply this model, then according to that – the expense would at least be Rs 14,304 crore. Thank you!

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