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India and Bharat can't be used interchangeably: Constitutional Expert

Achary also said that any change in name from Republic of India will require several amendments. Read More

Tuesday September 5, 2023 8:50 PM, ummid.com News Network

India and Bharat can't be used interchangeably: Constitutional Expert

[The above image is posted by Congress Party on social media site X using its official handle @INCIndia.]

New Delhi: India and Bharat cannot be used interchangeably, constitutional expert P D T Achary said on Tuesday underlining that 'India, that is Bharat' written in Article 1 of the Constitution is only descriptive.

Achary also said that any change in name from Republic of India will require several amendments.

"They will have to amend the Constitution. Article 1 (will have to be changed) and then there will be resultant changes in all the other articles", Achary, who also worked as Lok Sabha Secretary General told news agency Press Trust of India.

"Wherever India is used will have to go. You can have only one name for the country. There cannot be two names interchangeable, that will create a lot of confusion not only in India but outside also," he added.

Achary's remarks came after a G20 dinner invitation, replacing "India" with "Bharat" issued in the name of 'President of Bharat'.

War of words

The move triggered a massive outcry mainly among the opposition parties which alleged that the government is planning to drop India and stay with just Bharat though the ruling BJP is justifying the "name change" in the invitation card.

“So the news is indeed true. Rashtrapati Bhawan has sent out an invite for a G20 dinner on Sept 9th in the name of ‘President of Bharat’ instead of the usual ‘President of India’,” Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Ramesh further posted:

“Now, Article 1 in the Constitution can read: ‘Bharat, that was India, shall be a Union of States.’ But now even this ‘Union of States’ is under assault.”

Soon after Ramesh’s tweet, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma proclaimed India as the “Republic of Bharat”. He said:

“Republic of Bharat - Happy and proud that our civilisation is marching ahead boldly towards Amrit Kaal.”

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and MP Raghav Chadha was among the first to respond to the invitation letter issued by the Protocol Section of Ministry of External Affairs. The letter about a dinner hosted by the President of India on Saturday 09, 2023 on the occasion of G20 Summit 2023 addressed the Union of India Head as “President of Bharat”.

“How can the BJP strike down 'INDIA'?” he wondered.

“The country doesn't belong to a political party. It belongs to 135 crore Indians. Our national identity is not the BJP's personal property that it can modify on whims and fancies”, he said.

Congress leader and a Member of Lok Sabha Shashi Tharoor also criticised the move warning the Narendra Modi government to refrain from spoiling, what he called, the “incalculable brand value built up over centuries”.

“While there is no constitutional objection to calling India “Bharat”, which is one of the country’s two official names, I hope the government will not be so foolish as to completely dispense with “India”, which has incalculable brand value built up over centuries”, he wrote on social media site X.

“We should continue to use both words rather than relinquish our claim to a name redolent of history, a name that is recognised around the world”, he added.


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