How many countries have two names, one constitutionally documented and another probably an English translation for people who cannot pronounce it?

People speaking English or any other European language often have a problem pronouncing eastern names. So in the past they would change names according to their convenience, and we blindly accept those.

Look at us: we operate with two names, the original name Bharat, and the given name, India. The invaders of Bharat who came up to the river Sindhu somehow managed to pronounce Sindhu as Hindu, and then Indus. And finally India is stuck on us for centuries now.

Historians should give a satisfactory explanation for the evolution of this name ‘India’, or trace its origin. I could not find anywhere in the Vedas, Puranas, Itihaasa or even Amarakosa the word or name ‘India.’

The scriptures say “jambu dweepe Bhaarata varshe….” And from time immemorial a meaningful Samskrita ‘padham’ Bhaarat, has been in vogue: no one can deny this. Yet, our Constitution included the name India and liberally allowed everyone to use it even after attaining Independence from foreign invaders.

When we speak in our regional languages or Rashtra bhasha, we proudly use the name Bharat or Bharata Matha. But while addressing the nation in English, people refer to it as India, like a translation for the original name for non-Bhaaratiyas to understand.

Sri Lanka eschewed the name Ceylon long ago. But we cling to the name left behind by the invaders. Should we really need two names? Can we not stick to the name Bharat and let others understand that we are switching back to the original name Bharat?

I don’t know whether I am right or wrong, some writers say that after Independence Mahatma Gandhi wanted to dissolve the Indian National Congress and form a party with an indigenous name. Probably for fear of an identity crisis, the then leaders did not pay much attention to Gandhiji’s advice and continued to fight the elections in the same name of Indian National Congress.

By then, splinter groups from the Congress called themselves the Janata Party, Bharatiya Janata Party and so on. Now if we change to Bharat, this may be advantageous to the BJP. The nation needs a debate on this issue.

bkalanjali@gmail.com

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