Editorial with Sujit Nair: Is India being renamed Bharat?

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In this editorial episode, Mr. Sujit Nair discusses a recent controversy surrounding President Murmu’s invitation to G20 leaders. The controversy arises from the use of the term ‘President of Bharat’ instead of ‘President of India’ in the official invitations. This change has led to a significant political debate, with the opposition accusing the ruling BJP of attempting to rebrand the country for political gains. For the first time, official invitations have been sent to heads of state for a dinner event on September 9 in Delhi under the title of “”President of Bharat,”” departing from the traditional “”President of India.”” This shift in nomenclature on the international stage has garnered attention as India prepares to host world leaders such as US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. There is speculation about the possibility of the government officially changing the country’s name during a five-day special session of parliament scheduled for September 18. In response, the opposition has held meetings to discuss their strategy, denying reports that they would skip the session. In defense of the change, BJP leaders have pointed out that the term “”Bharat”” is also mentioned in Article 1 of the Constitution, which states that “”India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.”” Opposition parties have linked the government’s move to the name of their alliance formed to challenge the BJP in the 2024 elections, which is named INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance). Leaders of the INDIA bloc met to discuss their strategy at the home of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge. The debate between “”India”” and “”Bharat”” has intensified since the opposition alliance adopted the acronym INDIA in July. Meanwhile, BJP leaders have welcomed the use of the term “”Bharat,”” seeing it as a positive step that reflects national pride and a departure from colonial influences. Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan stated that the President’s choice to use “”Bharat”” is a significant statement against colonial mindsets.

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