The Indian government’s recent decision to send out invites for the upcoming G20 meeting in New Delhi under the name “Republic of Bharat” instead of the usual ‘Republic of India’ has ignited a heated debate and speculation about a potential name change for the nation.
The invites, bearing the signature “President of Bharat” instead of “President of India,” have raised questions about whether the country’s official name might soon become ‘Bharat,’ a term often used in Hindi to refer to ‘India.’
Responses to this development have varied widely among citizens, politicians, and political parties. Some have expressed support for the change, while others vehemently oppose it.
The G20 summit is scheduled to take place in New Delhi on September 9 and 10, and it will feature prominent world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s sharing of the invite on social media, devoid of the word ‘India,’ rapidly ignited a social media debate, with many speculating that India might soon undergo a name change.
Jairam Ramesh, a Congress leader and Member of Parliament, expressed his concerns on Twitter, saying, “So the news is indeed true. Rashtrapati Bhawan has sent out an invite for a G20 dinner on September 9 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.’ But now even this ‘Union of States’ is under assault.”
This development follows the Indian government’s call for a special session of Parliament from September 18 to 22. Reports in Indian media suggest that the government might introduce a resolution to rename India as Bharat during this session. However, the official agenda for the session has not yet been disclosed, leading to speculation about a potential constitutional amendment bill for the name change.
According to NDTV, the term ‘Bharat’ has been used in a G20 booklet given to foreign delegates, titled “Bharat, The Mother Of Democracy,” which highlights India’s G20 presidency and its rich democratic history.
The Constitution of India already employs the term ‘Bharat,’ with Article 1 reading, “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.”
Notably, in 2015, the Narendra Modi-led government informed the Supreme Court that there was no need to officially rename India as Bharat, as reported by The Indian Express. The Centre stated, “There is no change in circumstances to consider any change in Article 1 of the Constitution of India.”
If India were to undergo an official name change, it would join the ranks of countries, including Turkey, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, and the Republic of North Macedonia, that have undergone similar transformations in their official names.