“Decoding India Vs. Bharat: A Nation’s Identity Quest”

“The Name Game: India Vs. Bharat”

The names “India” and “Hind,” with foreign origins, historically referred to the region south and east of the Indus River. “Hindustan” denoted the northern areas during Afghan and Mughal rule. Colonial powers, like the British, used “India” for the entire subcontinent as a geographic term.

The Indian Renaissance fostered a sense of a unified nation, favoring the term “Bharat” instead, rooted in indigenous identity. During the independence struggle, the Muslim League, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, disputed “India” as it primarily represented Hindu-majority regions, leading to the creation of Pakistan.

Crafting a Unified Identity: India’s Linguistic Symphony, “Hind,” proposed by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, aimed to bridge religious divides and remains culturally relevant today with phrases like “Jai Hind.”

The British Empire referred to the entire Indian subcontinent as “India,” consolidating diverse regions and cultures under one administrative entity. This colonial definition persisted after India gained independence in 1947, and the country officially adopted the name “Republic of India.”

India Vs. Bharat

Balancing “Bharat” and “India”:

  1. Constitution’s Origins: The Indian Constitution was initially adopted in English, establishing its historical and legal significance.
  2. Hindi Translation: A Hindi translation, endorsed by the Constituent Assembly members, was published in 1950, acknowledging the need for bilingual accessibility.
  3. Official Bilingual Status: Both English and Hindi versions of the Constitution hold official status, affirming India’s bilingual character.
  4. Constitutional Adaptations: The 58th Amendment in 1987 empowered the President to publish the official Hindi text of the Constitution for legal use.
  5. Article 1(1): Article 1(1) defines the nation; in English, it states “India, that is Bharat,” while in Hindi, “Bharat” takes precedence.
  6. Illustrative Naming: Examples like the “Gazette of India” in English and “Bharat ka Rajpatra” in Hindi exemplify this dual-language approach in official publications, reflecting India’s linguistic diversity.

    Several countries across the world have undergone name changes throughout history, often driven by political, cultural, or geographical transformations. Some notable examples include:

    1. Myanmar (Burma): In 1989, the military government changed the country’s name from Burma to Myanmar to reflect the nation’s diverse ethnic groups.
    2. Zimbabwe (Rhodesia): The country transitioned from the name Rhodesia to Zimbabwe in 1980 upon gaining independence from British colonial rule.
    3. Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia): After the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, two independent nations emerged: the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
    4. North Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia): In 2019, North Macedonia resolved a long-standing dispute with Greece and changed its name to North Macedonia.
    5. Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire): The government prefers the name Côte d’Ivoire, which is the French name for the country, over its English name, Ivory Coast.
    6. Sri Lanka (Ceylon): Sri Lanka adopted its current name in 1972, shedding the colonial-era name Ceylon.
    7. Eswatini (Swaziland): The Kingdom of Swaziland officially changed its name to Eswatini in 2018 to reflect its cultural heritage.Currency Design: India’s currency, the Indian Rupee (INR), bears the name “India” in English. Banknotes and coins prominently display “India” alongside various languages and symbols representing the nation’s cultural diversity.  This example further highlights the practical and standardized usage of “India” in official contexts, including the nation’s monetary system.India Vs. BharatGlobal Identity as “India”: India consistently employs the name “India” in international and multilateral forums. This underscores the nation’s global identity and the widespread recognition it garners under the name “India.” This pragmatic approach reflects the standardization of using “India” in global diplomacy and communication.

      What is the Current Scenario?

      Global Identity as “India”: India consistently employs the name “India” in international and multilateral forums. This underscores the nation’s global identity and the widespread recognition it garners under the name “India.” This pragmatic approach reflects the standardization of using “India” in global diplomacy and communication.

      Recent Illustration – Greece: An apt contemporary illustration can be found in the “India-Greece Joint Statement” issued during the Prime Minister’s visit to Greece. This official document, titled “India-Greece Joint Statement,” prominently emphasizes the use of “India” in official bilateral relations, exemplifying its significance in modern diplomatic engagements.

      Balancing Dual Languages: India’s commitment to linguistic diversity is evident in its dual-language approach within official documents and diplomatic contexts. In letters of credence presented by the President of India to Ambassadors-designate, the Hindi terms “Rashtrapati” and “Bharat Gantantra” are inscribed, while their English counterparts, “President” and “Republic of India,” coexist. This approach signifies India’s dedication to multilingualism and the preservation of its rich linguistic heritage.

      Contemporary Linguistic Harmony: In contemporary India, one witnesses the harmonious coexistence of different cultural and linguistic traditions through the simultaneous use of “Jai Hind” and “Jai Bharat.” This linguistic duality is exemplified in major speeches, including the Independence Day address, where both expressions are employed. It symbolizes the nation’s recognition of the multifaceted historical and cultural tapestry that forms its identity.


      In contemplating such a change, it’s vital to acknowledge the diversity of public sentiment and regional preferences regarding the country’s name. Departing from the established tradition of using “India” in English and “Bharat” in Hindi, which reflects India’s linguistic diversity, could carry significant cultural and identity implications.

      The question that arises is whether prioritizing one term over the other should be a top priority at this juncture when the nation faces a multitude of pressing challenges, including unemployment, environmental degradation, poverty, healthcare disparities, inequality, and gender discrimination.