India Changes Name To Bharat?

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Indian President Droupadi Murmu’s reference to herself as the “President of Bharat” in a dinner invitation, instead of “President of India”, sparked controversy on Tuesday, with critics saying the name of the country is being distorted.

Murmu is hosting a reception for G20 leaders during the group’s summit on Saturday and invitations were sent from her office.

India is also called Bharat, Bharata, Hindustan – its pre-colonial names – in Indian languages and these are used interchangeably by the public and officially.

High offices in the country have typically stuck to titles such as President of India, Prime Minister of India and Chief Justice of India while communicating in English.

Over the years though, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has been changing colonial names to, what it says, help India move past a mentality of slavery.

Supporters of the name change in the invitation said British colonial rulers had coined the name India to overshadow Bharat and forge a British legacy.

“Our country’s name is Bharat and there should be no doubt about it,” said Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a federal deputy minister.

Hindu groups linked to BJP said the G20 summit provided the best opportunity to shed India’s colonial baggage.

Opposition leaders were, however, critical of the change, with some saying it aimed to eclipse their two-month-old political alliance which is also called “INDIA”.

“We all say ‘Bharat’, what is new in this? But the name ‘India’ is known to the world…What happened suddenly that the government had to change the name of the country?” said Mamata Banerjee, a top opposition leader.

About Dons Eze

DONS EZE, PhD, Political Philosopher and Journalist of over four decades standing, worked in several newspaper houses across the country, and rose to the positions of Editor and General Manager. A UNESCO Fellow in Journalism, Dr. Dons Eze, a prolific writer and author of many books, attended several courses on Journalism and Communication in both Nigeria and overseas, including a Postgraduate Course on Journalism at Warsaw, Poland; Strategic Communication and Practical Communication Approach at RIPA International, London, the United Kingdom, among others.

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