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In diverse India, name change demands consensus

  • Published
    16th Sep, 2023

Context:

The invitation for the G-20 summit in New Delhi, calling the Indian President 'President of Bharat,' sparked controversy due to political tensions and distrust across the nation.

Constitutional Perspective on Changing India's Name

  • Constitutional Clarity: The controversy surrounds the use of 'President of Bharat' in official G-20 summit invitations under India's presidency, raising constitutional questions.
  • Constitutional Amendment required: Constitutionally, the official title is 'President of India,' specified in Article 52, and can only be changed through a constitutional amendment (Article 368).
  • A Name game: The Constitution does mention "India, that is Bharat" in Article 1, but this clarifies that 'Bharat' serves as a translation for 'India' rather than an interchangeable term.

Implications of Using 'Bharat' Interchangeably

  • Potential Confusion: Using 'Bharat' interchangeably with 'India' in official communication could create confusion, especially in international agreements and treaties.
  • Can hamper global image: The official name, 'Republic of India,' is consistently used in international affairs and should not be altered arbitrarily.
  • Bharat as a secondary suggestion: The Constituent Assembly originally debated using 'India' as the sole name and added 'Bharat' later as a compromise, with no intention of interchangeability.

Broader Implications and Impacts

  • Controversy and Alienation: Changing a country's name should not be a political party's agenda; consensus is essential in diverse countries like India.
  • To break Colonial legacy: A rushed effort to distance from colonialism by altering names risks alienating certain sections of the population.
  • Hinder Unity and Cooperation: India's newfound anti-colonial enthusiasm should align with its motto of 'VasudhaivaKutumbakam,' promoting global unity rather than division.
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