“Children of India , I am here to speak to you today about some pratical things, and my object in reminding you about the glories of the past is simply this. Many times have I been told that looking into the past only degenerates and leads to nothing, and that we should took to the future. Look back, therefore, as far as you can, drink deep of the eternal fountains that are behind, and after that , look forward, march forward and make Bharat brighter, greater, much higher than she ever was. Our ancestors were great. We must learn the elements of our beings, the blood that courses in our veins: we must have faith in that blood and what it did in the past ; and out of that faith and consciousness of past greatness, we must build an India yet greater than what she has been .”
Bharat is considered to be the world’s oldest and vibrant nation. This is the country of saints and scholars. This country was known as the Master of the Universe. When man opened his eyes to this world, Bharat was the first country he saw. This is the birth-place of ancient mankind. World’s very first culture and civilisation was born, thrived and bloomed in this country. All other ancient civilisations of the world like Rome, Egypt and Greece got lost into oblivion. Whereas , this nation still continues to inspire the world because of its superiority. There is hardly any nation in this world which has not learnt something or the other from this country. Its contribution to the world in the field of spiritualism, religion, culture, history , education and linguistics is unparalleled.
Nature has blessed Bharat with wondrous beauty . On its north , she is surrounded by the Himalayas which stretch from its North-West to North–East . It is characterised by many big and small range of mountains. It has Pamir and Hindu Kush mountains on its north-west to Naaga and Lushai mountains and a series of dense forests on its north-east.There are quite a few passes like the Khaibar, Bolan, Tochi and Kurram on the north-west of the Himalayas. On the south of the Himalayas there is the Great Himalayan Valley followed by the southern plateau. Bharat is surrounded on its remaining three sides by Oceans. On the west is the Arabian Sea, to the south is the Indian Ocean and to the east is the Bay of Bengal . This is land of the Ganges, the Yamuna, Saraswati, Godavari, Indus, Narmada, Cauvery etc. Aravallis, Vindhya, Satpura and Mahendragiri etc. are the Mountain ranges of this country. This is the only country in the world which is named after an Ocean ( Indian Ocean ). Therefore, it won’t be wrong to say that nature has not only provided this country with a unique environment , but also has protected it from all sides.
The Christening Of Bharat
Bharat, by virtue of being the oldest nation of the world, has been referred to by various names at various times. There is an elaborate reference to these in religious books as well as in the history of literature. Some believe it was named after the eldest son of the first Jain Tirathankar ( pilgrim) Rishabdev, who was called Bharat and after whom Bharat was called Bharatvarsh. Some others believe that it was called Bharatvarsh after Dushyant’s son, Bharat. Incidentally, India has been called Bharat; Bharat-khand; Aryabhoomi; Aryavarta; Brahmvarta; Prithvi; Rishi-Pattan; Indu; Hindustan and India from time to time. The ancient Iranians christened Bharat as Sindhu Desh on the basis of there knowledge up till the Sindhu River, which subsequently came to be known as Hindu desh. Geeks called it Indus which later became India. In the time to follow, the vast expanse of land stretching from Himalayas to the Indu Ocean came to be known as Hindustan by taking hi from the Himalayas and Indu from River Indu. Almost throughout the entire period of Muslim rule, this country was famously known as Hindustan But , its ancient and most authentic name has always been Bharat. This word, Bharat is made of two words, Bha—meaning knowledge and Rata– meaning ‘devoted’. Hence, Bharat has been a nation which has always been devoted to seeking knowledge. After Independence, the Constitution of Bharat mentions it as India that is Bharat.
Dr Satish Chandra Mittal (The writer is Professor ( Retd.) History Department , Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra)
(To be concluded )