Was “India” Given By Britishers? Here Is The Historical Background Of ‘Bharat’

There has been a spur in our country over changing the name from “India” To “Bharat”. The central government is planning to change the name of our country during the special session of the parliament which is scheduled to be held from 18-22 September. 

The move has sparked positive and negative reactions amongst the citizens and the opposition parties. Some are appreciating the BJP government’s initiative while some are criticizing it and calling it arbitrary. 

But do you really know the story behind the name India? Was it really given by the British? 

So, the first article of our Indian Constitution mentions both India and Bharat. It says- India, that is Bharat shall be the Union of States. 

There are many instances in our mythological history which have mentioned the term “Bharat” in them. 

The name ‘Bharatvarsha’ is related to the Mahabharata period. In the Adi Parva of Mahabharata, Shakuntala and King Dushyant of Hastinapur’s son was named ‘Bharat’. It is said that sage Kanva blessed ‘Bharat’ that in future he would become the Chakravarti emperor and the land would be known as ‘Bharatvarsha’ in his name.

Apart from the son of Dushyant and Shakuntala, there is mention of many ‘Bharat’ in our mythological stories. During the ‘Ramayana’ period, Bharat was the name of the second son of King Dasharatha.

Even the author of Natyashastra was Bharat Muni. The name of the royal sage Bharat is also famous from which the phrase ‘Jadbharat’ came.

Source: Amazon.com

There was a sage named Bharat in the court of King Indradyumna of Magadha. A wicked Brahmin Bharat has been mentioned in Padma Purana.

Even in Aitareya Brahmin, Dushyant’s son Bharat is seen standing behind the naming of India. According to this book, Bharat is a Chakravarti emperor, he performed Ashwamedha Yajna and his kingdom was named ‘Bharatvarsha’.

In Matsya Purana, Manu has been called ‘Bharat’ because he gave birth to the people and maintained them. The place where Manu ruled was called ‘Bharatvarsha’.

From where did Bharat and India come in our constitution?

The first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, has mentioned the three names ‘Bharat’, ‘India’ and ‘Hindustan’ in his book ‘Discovery of India’. When the question of naming the country came, only ‘India’ and ‘Bharat’ were kept in the Constitution.

Source: Wikipedia.com

‘What will be the name of the country and plot’, the Constituent Assembly discussed this topic on September 17, 1949. When the first article was read out, ‘India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States’, the members of the Constituent Assembly began to differ on hearing this. 

Many members of the Constituent Assembly had an objection to the name ‘India’, as they found this name to be an introduction to British rule.

Now the question is whether the British really called us ‘India’ for the first time? 

According to Devdutt Patnaik, our country was named ‘Bharat’ by Megasthenes of Greece. This is about 2300 years ago. The Indus river flowing in the north-west was known as ‘Indus’ in Greek. 

According to the article of Dainik Bhaskar, the word ‘Indus’ is taken from Latin language. Greek ambassador Megasthenes used the word ‘India’ for the first time in 300 BC.

Share on: