The term “President of Bharat” has been used for the first time in an official invite to heads of state attending the weekend G20 summit, replacing the traditional “President of India”. This marks a significant shift in nomenclature on the international stage as the country hosts the mega event.
President Draupadi Murmu’s invite to G20 foreign leaders and Chief Ministers for a dinner on September 9, says: “President of Bharat” instead of “President of India”.
Officials say this is the first change of India’s nomenclature for any official event.
The term “Bharat” is also in the Constitution, officials point out. “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States,” it says in Article 1.
“Bharat” has also been used in a G20 booklet handed to foreign delegates, titled “Bharat, The Mother Of Democracy”, to highlight, in India’s G20 presidency, its rich democratic ethos for thousands of years.
“In Bharat that is India, taking the consent of the people in governance has been part of life since earliest recorded history,” are the opening words of the booklet.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was among the first to cheer the big change. “REPUBLIC OF BHARAT – happy and proud that our civilisation is marching ahead boldly towards AMRIT KAAL,” he posted on X, formerly Twitter.
While BJP leaders welcomed the move, the presidential invite drew a sharp response from the opposition.
“So the news is indeed true. Rashtrapati Bhawan has sent out an invite for a G20 dinner on Sept 9th in the name of ‘President of Bharat’ instead of the usual ‘President of India’,” Congress leader Jairam Ramesh wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
“Now, Article 1 in the Constitution can read: ‘Bharat, that was India, shall be a Union of States’. But now even this “Union of States” is under assault,” he alleged.
So the news is indeed true.
Rashtrapati Bhawan has sent out an invite for a G20 dinner on Sept 9th in the name of ‘President of Bharat’ instead of the usual ‘President of India’.
Now, Article 1 in the Constitution can read: “Bharat, that was India, shall be a Union of States.”…
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) September 5, 2023
Just two days ago, the suggestion that the country should be called Bharat instead of India had come from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP.
“We must stop using the word India and start using Bharat. At times we use India to make those who speak English understand. This comes as the flow. However, we must stop using this…The name of the country Bharat will remain Bharat wherever you go in the world. In spoken and written one must say Bharat,” said RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.
The India versus Bharat debate intensified after the opposition alliance adopted the acronym INDIA – Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance – in July.
“The fight is between NDA and INDIA, Between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and INDIA, between their (the BJP’s) ideology and INDIA. You know what happens when someone stands against India, who wins,” Rahul Gandhi explained during a press conference.
The name triggered a huge backlash from the ruling BJP, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing the opposition of trying to whitewash their “sins” by misusing the name. “They changed their name from UPA to INDIA to hide how they schemed against the poor… The name INDIA is not to show their patriotism but with an intention to rob the country,” he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)