“President Of Bharat”: G20 Dinner Invite Sparks Big Buzz

New Delhi: The term “President of Bharat” has been used for the first time in an official invite to foreign leaders attending the weekend G20 summit, replacing the traditional “President of India”. This marks a significant shift in nomenclature on the international stage as the country hosts the mega event featuring US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak among others.

President Droupadi Murmu’s invite to G20 foreign leaders and Chief Ministers for a dinner on September 9, says: “President of Bharat” instead of “President of India”.

Officials say this is the first change of India’s nomenclature for any official event.

The term “Bharat” is also in the Constitution, officials point out. “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States,” it says in Article 1 of the Constitution.

“Bharat” has also been used in a G20 booklet handed to foreign delegates, titled “Bharat, The Mother Of Democracy”, to highlight, in India’s G20 presidency, its rich democratic ethos for thousands of years.

“In Bharat that is India, taking the consent of the people in governance has been part of life since earliest recorded history,” are the opening words of the booklet. It goes on to say: “Bharat is the official name of the country. It is mentioned in the Constitution as also in the discussions of 1946-48”.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was among the first to cheer the big change. “REPUBLIC OF BHARAT –  happy and proud that our civilisation is marching ahead boldly towards AMRIT KAAL,” he posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the move was long overdue. “This should have happened earlier. This gives great satisfaction to the mind. ‘Bharat’ is our introduction. We are proud of it. The President has given priority to ‘Bharat’. This is the biggest statement to come out of the colonial mindset,” he said.

He also tweeted:

While BJP leaders welcomed the move, the presidential invite drew a sharp response from the opposition, which linked it to the name of their front to take on the BJP in 2024 – INDIA or Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance.

RJD leader Manoj Jha said: “…It has just been a few weeks since we named our alliance as INDIA and BJP has started sending invitations with ‘Republic of Bharat’ instead of ‘Republic of India’. Article 1 of the Constitution reads ‘India that is Bharat’. Neither you will be able to take India from us nor Bharat.”

“Will BJP replace ‘Bharat’ with something else, if INDIA alliance changes its name to Bharat?” questioned Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Congress leaders also targeted the BJP.

BJP president JP Nadda retorted that the Congress was “anti-national” and “anti-constitution”.

Just two days ago, the suggestion that the country should be called Bharat instead of India had come from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the ruling party.

“We must stop using the word India and start using Bharat. At times we use India to make those who speak English understand. This comes as the flow. However, we must stop using this…The name of the country Bharat will remain Bharat wherever you go in the world. In spoken and written one must say Bharat,” said RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

Politics over India versus Bharat has spiralled since the opposition alliance adopted the acronym INDIA in July.

“The fight is between NDA and INDIA, Between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and INDIA, between their (the BJP’s) ideology and INDIA. You know what happens when someone stands against India, who wins,” Rahul Gandhi said at the press conference where the name was announced.

The name triggered a huge backlash from the ruling BJP, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing the opposition of trying to whitewash their “sins” by misusing the name. “They changed their name from UPA to INDIA to hide how they schemed against the poor… The name INDIA is not to show their patriotism but with an intention to rob the country,” he said.

Not just politicians reacted to the “Bharat” move.

Amitabh Bachchan kept his tweet short. “Bharat Mata ki Jai,” wrote the megastar.

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