Bhaarat or India – DOES A NATION NEED TWO NAMES?

Bhaarat or India – DOES A NATION NEED TWO NAMES?
Bhaarat or India – DOES A NATION NEED TWO NAMES?

Naatyaachaarya V. P. Dhananjayan

Chennai

How many countries in the world have two names, one constitutionally documented and another probably an English translation for people who cannot correctly pronounce the word. English or any other European languages speaking people have problem pronouncing eastern names, so they change the names according to their convenience, and of course we blindly accept what they call us.  Look at us – we operate with two names the original name BHAARAT and given name INDIA. The invaders of Bhaarat who came up to the river Sindhu somehow managed to pronounce Sindhu as  Hindu and then Indus and finally India is stuck on us for several centuries now. The historians should give a satisfactory explanation for the evolution of this name ‘India’ or trace its origin. To the best of my ability and research I could not find anywhere in the Vedas, Puraanaas,  Itihaasa or even Amarakosa the word or name “India”.

The ancient scriptures say “jambu dweepe Bhaarata varshe….” And from times immemorial a meaningful Samskrita padam Bhaarat has been in vogue and no one could deny this naked truth. Yet our constitution included the name India and liberally allowed every one to use it even after independence from foreign invaders.

When we speak in our vernacular or Rashtrabhaasha we proudly use the name Bhaarat or Bhaaratamaatha. But while addressing the nation in English people refer the nation as India like a translation for the original name for non Bhaarateeyas to understand.

While our neighbors like Sri Lanka eschewed the name Ceylon long ago and now that name is not used anywhere even by mistake. But we wonder why we have to cling on to that name left behind by the invaders. Should we really need two names, cannot we stick to the name Bhaarat and let the others understand that we are switching back to the original name Bhaarat?

I don’t know whether I am right or wrong, the political analysts say that after independence,  Mahatma Gandhi wanted to dissolve the Indian National Congress and form another party with an indigenous nomenclature.  Fearing an identity crisis, the then political leaders did not pay much attention to the advice of Mahaatma Gandhi, and continued to fight the elections in the same familiar name Indian National Congress (INC).  By then the splinter group from INC called themselves Janata Party and Bhaarateeya Janata Party (BJP) etc.  Now if we change the name of our country to Bhaarat, this may be advantageous to BJP, therefore the INC will not totally agree to the change.

So does the nation really need a debate on this issue Bhaarat vs India  and come to a final settlement for just one name?  Food for thoughts or point to ponder!!!

The contributor of this article is an exponent of Bharatanaatyam and Padmabhushan awardee.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are personal.

2 COMMENTS

  1. ” India”- The term/the name is that given by British colonials to our nation called Bharat.

    Curious matter is why Nehru- Gandhi Congress kept that name?

    Burma is now Myamar
    Ceylon is now Sri Lanka
    Rhodesai is Zimabawe

    Why is Bharat still caled India?

    We as a nation, must take our name back.

  2. It’s a very interesting thing to discuss. Does India’s identity lie within a name? Will people still be considered Indian if the country’s name is changed?

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