The Indian government has stirred controversy by using Sanskrit word in place of “India” on dinner invitations for the upcoming G20 summit. The invitations refer to the President of India as “President of Bharat” instead of the traditional “President of India” sparking speculation about official name change for the country.
Check out the invitation.
जन गण मन अधिनायक जय हे, भारत भाग्य विधाता
— Dharmendra Pradhan (@dpradhanbjp) September 5, 2023
The Name Change Debate: From India to Bharat
India is set to host annual G20 summit in New Delhi with world leaders like US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron. While India officially goes by two names India and Bharat the former is more commonly used both domestically and internationally. “Hindustan” is another term for the nation, often found in literature and popular culture.
“Bharat” is ancient Sanskrit word with historical roots in early Hindu texts, and it serves an alternative Hindi term for India.
BJP’s Perspective: Bharat Over India
Supporters of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) advocate for the name change. They argue that “India” was imposed by British colonial rule and symbolizes period of subjugation. The British governed India for nearly two centuries until the country gained independence in 1947.
The BJP has long pursued nationalist agenda aiming to distance itself from names associated with India’s Mughal and colonial history. This has raised concerns about the government’s push towards forming an ethnically Hindu state, which contrasts with India’s constitutionally secular identity.