It is Bharat, Not India ?

The plea to rename India as Bharat was sent to the centre for consideration by the Supreme Court, as the bench led by Chief Justice of India S A Bodbe was unconvinced. The bench read out the Article 1 of the constitution, which says “India, that is Bharat” in a virtual court hearing. The CJI said that India is already called ‘Bharat’ in the constitution, and that India and Bharat are both names given in the constitution.

The plea will be sent to the central government to form a decision regarding the renaming of India to ‘Bharat’ exclusively. “The present petition is directed to be treated as a representation and may be considered by the appropriate ministries” said the bench headed by the CJI.

The petitioner Namah wants the country to be renamed from India to Bharat, as the name ‘India’ has Greek origins.

The petition seeks the eradication of the name India from the Article 1 and asks for an amendment to the Article 1. “This will ensure citizens of this country to get over the colonial past and instill a sense of pride in our nationality. It will also justify the hard-fought freedom by our freedom fighters. The removal of the English name will instill a sense of pride in our own nationality, especially our future generation.”, says the petition.

Several leaders have been against the petition seeking an amendment to Article 1, and have deemed it as foolish and unnecessary. Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily too has spoken against the petition and has called it out for having “nuisance value”.

Another concern remains the possible outrage amongst other groups of the country, which might feel marginalized and overlooked if the country is renamed to Bharat or Hindustan exclusively. Retired Supreme Court Judge N Santosh Hegde also expressed his concern over this matter and said that the renaming can cause misapprehensions.

A similar petition was filed in 2016, but was later dismissed, CJI T.S. Thakur said, “If you want to call this country Bharat, go right ahead and call it Bharat. If somebody chooses to call this country India, let him call it India. We will not interfere.”.

Renaming a country on the basis of sentimental value doesn’t seem fit to many leaders. It might lead to misunderstandings between different groups of the country, which might not be ideal.

With the country facing so many crises such as the pandemic, unemployment, economic meltdown, it is highly unlikely that the Government will act on the petition and consider making amendments to the Article 1 of the constitution. In case any renaming is done, in order to eradicate any Greek and English influence from the name of the country, it might cause some groups to feel misinterpreted and marginalized, which might cause more outrage.

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