Ahead of the G-20 summit, the President’s invitation letter, which reads ‘President of Bharat’ instead of ‘President of India’ has sparked a row. The nation is divided into two blocs; one accepts the move, demanding a change of name permanently, as it presents the colonial mindset. Whereas the other bloc calls it a baseless and unnecessary move. A similar document is in circulation that shows how the Samajwadi Party, a member of the I.N.D.I Alliance, brought a resolution to change the name of India to Bharat, 19 years ago.
Notably, the newly formed I.N.D.I. Alliance is seen as a staunch oppugnant of the idea of Bharat. The coalition’s road ahead looks difficult with the copies of the manifesto and the resolution in circulation.
In 2004, while Mulayam Singh Yadav was contesting the state assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, their manifesto specifically mentioned renaming the country if voted to power. The manifesto supported the name ‘Bharat’ over ‘India’ under the ideologue of Ram Manohar Lohia, who called it a colonial name that does not suit the socialist idea of the nation. Lohia was against English, he called it a language that created distance between an educated and an uneducated person.
Notably, after Singh won the state elections, he officially introduced a bill at the state legislative assembly demanding a change of name of the country on August 3, 2004. The bill was further sent to the central government for approval. The bill suggested an amendment in the constitution and replacing India with Bharat.
As per the resolution passed by the Uttar Pradesh state assembly, Article 1 that is mentioned in the part-1 of the constitution reads “India that is Bharat” should be revised and changed to “Bharat that is India”.
“Our country was always known as Bharat. However, during the 200 years of British rule it was named India,” the SP manifesto has stated.
A similar video of the RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) supremo Lalu Yadav is in circulation where he can be seen cleaning his teeth with a twig. When a reporter asked him do he always cleans his teeth with the twig he said, “No sometimes, I dont. Like when I am in Delhi, there are no twigs available there it is India, these are available here as this is ‘Bharat’”
Political analysts have said that the ruling BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party) will surely use these statements and documents to count the opposition alliance I.N.D.I. Reports also claim that at the upcoming special session of the Parliament, the government will have discussions on changing the name of India to Bharat.
The SP spokesperson, Rajendra Chaudhary said, “The issue is that BJP is talking about Bharat purely for political reasons. It is just propaganda to target the opposition alliance”
When asked about Mulayam SIngh’s 2004 manifesto Chaudhary said, “The idea was to focus on the poor and farmers of the country. But today’s BJP has withdrawn subsidies on fertilizers. If BJP is inspired by Mulayam Singh’s idea of Bharat, they should first announce free power for farmers, MSP on each crop, and pay money to the sugarcane farmers”.
He added, “Mulayam Singh made such a point in his manifesto as he was contesting against Mayawati in the state. The idea of changing the name from India was seen as a step to target the constitution and BR Ambedkar in general”.