India may officially change its name to Bharat, according to unconfirmed reports and speculation in the country.
A row has emerged, following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government using the name “Bharat” instead of India in an official invitation to a G20 summit dinner.
As the country prepares to host the G20 summit this weekend, the host nation sent an invitation to world leaders inviting them to an official state dinner.
The invitations were sent on behalf of the “president of Bharat”.
Bharat is the Hindi name for India and the use of the word on the official invitation has prompted widespread debate and political opposition in the country.
Members of Narendra Modi’s BJP party have welcomed the use of the traditional name, while opposition MPs have been critical of the usage.
There have been widespread and growing calls for the country to be officially renamed and the Government is said to be weighing the idea.
World leaders, including Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, were sent the invitation to a state dinner on behalf of the country’s President Droupadi Murmu. In it, she was described as “President of Bharat”.
Two days ago Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), called for an official recognition of the name change.
He said: “At times we use India so those who speak English will understand. But we must stop using this. The name of the country Bharat will remain Bharat wherever you go in the world.”
Strong opposition has been mounted by MPS from other parties, who insist on keeping the recognised name.
Historians have pointed to the use of the name, which can be traced back to ancient Hindu scriptures, as appearing in the national constitution.
In Article 1 of the Indian constitution it says: “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.”
At all other mentions of the country in the constitution, however, the name India is used.