current affairs - 2023-10-26

NCERT panel suggests replacing ‘India’ with ‘Bharat’ in textbooks



The National Council of Educational Research and Training established a high-level committee to review the social sciences curriculum, and the committee’s recommendation was to replace the word “India” in school textbooks with the word “Bharat.” The NCERT stated on Wednesday that the idea had not yet been authorized and that it was “too premature” to comment on the matter in response to protests from opposition parties.


What is the historical background behind the name?

  • Origins of the Names: Historically, outsiders have used “India” and its Arabic variations, such as “Hind,” which have foreign roots. When Afghanistan and the Mughals ruled, the term “Hindustan” was used; during the British administration, “India” was the geographical title.
  • Indian Renaissance and Nationalism: The concept of an Indian nation was greatly influenced by the Indian Renaissance. Some of the movement’s supporters favoured the moniker “Bharat” to emphasize the indigenous origins of Indian nationalism.
  • Name Controversy: As a result of political and religious differences, “India” and “Pakistan” had different names during the 1947 Indian split. Many supported the syncretic word “Hind.”


How is the balance between Bharat and India maintained through different dimensions?

  • Adoption of the Constitution: The historical and legal significance of the Indian Constitution was emphasized during its initial adoption in English. In 1950, a translation into Hindi was also released.
  • Official Status of Both Versions: Under Indian law, the Constitutions in Hindi and English are both considered official. This guarantees that the Constitution can be accessed in India’s two official languages.
  • Constitutional Amendments: The 58th Amendment, passed in 1987, allowed the President the authority to publish the official text of the Constitution in Hindi and addressed the usage of Hindi and English in official documents.
  • Article 1(1): The Constitution’s Article 1(1) states that the name of the nation is “India, that is Bharat.” This highlights how the Constitution uses both terms.
  • Examples of Names: Dual-language official documents are reflected in Indian periodicals like the Hindi-language “Bharat ka Rajpatra” and the English-language “Gazette of India”.


Which are the other countries that changed from their past?

  • Siam to Thailand (1939): Siam was the previous name for Thailand. In response to Western colonial influence in Southeast Asia, the country’s unity and identity were emphasized by the name change. “Thailand” signifies “Land of the Free” and embodies the nation’s pride in its freedom.
  • Zaire to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (1997): Mobutu Sese Seko, the tyrant who ruled the Democratic Republic of the Congo for more than thirty years, referred to the country as Zaire. The country attempted to underline the restoration to a democratic form of government and separate itself from Mobutu’s autocratic rule by changing its name.
  •  Burma to Myanmar (1989): The country’s official name was changed from Burma to Myanmar by the military regime. Since “Myanmar” is a more inclusive name, the move was perceived as an attempt to reflect the ethnic variety of the nation. Nonetheless, there is ongoing political discussion surrounding the change, and opinions differ.
  • East Pakistan to Bangladesh(1971): After a bloody conflict, East Pakistan separated from West Pakistan to become the new nation of Bangladesh. This symbolized the political, linguistic, and cultural divide between the two areas and signaled the conclusion of the Bangladesh Liberation War.


What are the benefits of changing the name to Bharat?

  • Cultural and Historical Relevance: In India, “Bharat” holds great cultural and historical importance. The word has been in use for millennia in several Indian languages, and supporters of the name change contend that it more accurately captures the history and legacy of the country. One could interpret this shift as an attempt to reestablish ties to pre-colonial history and culture.
  • Promotion of Indigenous Identity: Proponents of the term “Bharat” contend that it can serve to bolster pride in Indian languages, customs, and culture by emphasizing an indigenous identity. It might represent a move away from colonial legacies and toward more genuinely Indian origins.
  • Unity and Nationalism: Advocates claim that the term “Bharat” can strengthen the sense of nationalism and unity among India’s diverse population. It might strengthen the notion of “One Nation” and foster a sense of national identity.
  • Linguistic Unity: The term “Bharat” is comprehensible and accessible to a large majority of people because it is uniform across numerous Indian languages. There may be symbolic significance to this linguistic homogeneity.
  • International Recognition: “Bharat” has the potential to become the main term used to refer to India worldwide if it is formally recognized and used regularly. This would highlight the historical and cultural relevance of India on the global scene.


What are the potential drawbacks of the change?

  • Transition: Changing a nation’s name is an expensive and time-consuming procedure. It entails making changes to legislation, official documents, and international agreements. Confusion during the changeover time may also result from it.
  • Different Preferences: The linguistic, cultural, and regional preferences of India’s vastly diverse population are different. There may be disagreements among the populace on the name change, which could spark arguments and rifts.


  • Economic Repercussions: Renaming organizations, government publications, and money could have an impact on the economy. These expenses can take funds away from other urgent problems.
  • Political Controversy: With opposing views from various parties and organizations, the name change may turn into a contentious political issue. Political turmoil and disagreements may result from this.
  • worldwide Identity: Throughout the years, India has solidified its identity as “India” on a worldwide scale. In order to make sure that international institutions, organizations, and nations recognize and adjust to the new name, changing the name to “Bharat” might involve a significant amount of work.



To sum up, renaming a nation is a difficult choice that can have advantages in terms of cultural and historical significance, but it can also present difficulties due to transition, a range of personal preferences, and possible political and economic repercussions. A choice of this nature would need to be made after much thought and broad agreement.