India’s Name Change: A Brilliant Move or a Huge Mistake?

India, the second-most populous country and the largest democracy in the world, may soon have a new official name: Bharat. Media reports suggest that the Narendra Modi government is planning to introduce a new resolution during the Special Session of Parliament, which will take place from September 18-22, to rename India as Bharat.

The idea is not new. In fact, the name Bharat has a long history and is derived from the ancient Sanskrit word for the Indus River. The name Bharat also features in the preamble of the Indian constitution, which states that India is “a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic” that “shall be known as Bharat in Hindi”

However, the move to make Bharat the only official name of the country has gained popularity in recent years, especially among Hindu nationalists who see it as a way to affirm the country’s ancient identity and culture, and to distance it from its colonial past. The name India was given by the British, who based it on the Greek term Indoi, meaning “the people of the Indus”.

Supporters of India’s name change

Some supporters of the name change also argue that it will avoid confusion with other countries that have similar names, such as Indonesia and Indochina. They cite the example of the official invitation to the G20 Heads of State and ministers for a dinner hosted by President Droupadi Murmu on September 9.

Criticism on this Proposal

However, the proposal has also faced resistance and criticism from various groups, including political parties, civil society groups, and religious minorities. They contend that changing the name of the country will undermine its secular and pluralistic character, and will alienate millions of Indians who do not identify with Hinduism or Hindutva (Hindu nationalism). They also point out the practical difficulties and costs involved in changing the name of the country in all official documents, maps, currency, stamps, passports, and international treaties.

India’s Name Change: A Brilliant Move or a Huge Mistake?

Critic’s opinion about name change philosophy

Moreover, some critics question whether changing the name of the country will have any real benefits for its people, who are facing multiple challenges such as poverty, unemployment, inequality, corruption, violence, and pandemic. They argue that the government should focus on addressing these issues rather than indulging in symbolic gestures that may create more divisions and controversies.

Fiery debate started

The debate over the name change reflects the deeper tensions and transformations that are taking place in society and politics under Modi’s rule. Since coming to power in 2014, Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have pursued a Hindu nationalist agenda that has sought to redefine India’s identity and history along Hindu lines, and to marginalize or suppress other religious and cultural expressions. This has resulted in a surge of communal violence, hate crimes, discrimination, censorship, and intimidation against Muslims, Christians, Dalits (formerly untouchables), liberals, dissenters, and activists.

Some observers fear that India is moving towards becoming a Hindu state or a Hindu Rashtra (nation), where Hinduism is privileged over other faiths and ideologies, and where minorities are reduced to second-class citizens or worse. They warn that this would violate India’s constitutional commitment to secularism and democracy, and would endanger its social harmony and national unity.

Others maintain that India is not yet a Hindu state, but rather a less secular and more illiberal democracy. They argue that India still has some checks and balances that prevent a complete takeover by Hindu nationalism, such as an independent judiciary, a vibrant civil society, a diverse media landscape, and a resilient opposition. They also point out that India’s diversity and complexity make it impossible for any single ideology or identity to dominate or erase others. They hope that India’s democratic spirit and pluralistic heritage will prevail over its sectarian impulses and authoritarian tendencies.

The outcome of the name change proposal may reveal which direction India is heading towards: Bharat or India; Hindu state or secular democracy; unity or diversity; inclusion or exclusion.

Read More:

The One Mistake that Cost Sainz the F1 Italian GP Victory

Why Liverpool should never sell Salah, even for £150m, to Saudi Arabian club

The Truth Behind Norris and Ocon’s Shocking Clash in Monza

Leave a Comment