India that is Bharat: A legal perspective (NCERT Panel is set to use Bharat instead of India in textbooks)

NCERT to change India Into Bharat in textbooks:

The recommendation of a high-level committee appointed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to update the social sciences curriculum for schools is to replace the word “India” in school textbooks with the word “Bharat,” which has infuriated opposition politicians. The NCERT stated that it was “too premature” to comment on the matter, emphasizing that the panel’s recommendations had not yet been accepted.

four months ago, the idea was submitted to the NCERT, which approved the suggestion to substitute “Bharat” for “India.” Referencing the Hindu Vishnu Purana, he argued that the term “Bharat” was a more fitting moniker for the nation.

Prof. Shinde stated, “Everyone on the panel has decided to replace India with Bharat.” Additionally, the committee suggested that all Indian dynasties be included equally in textbooks rather than just one or two. We have also suggested that the syllabus be updated to reflect the ongoing national discoveries. Prof. Shinde said, “These discoveries can be historical or archaeological, among other things.

The history of the name India:

The name India originated from a geographical aspect, the name India originates from the river Sindhu. Originally the word India did not exist the Aryans in 600 BCE to 300 BCE used to call the Indus River Sindhu River (Sindhu being a Sanskrit word). Then a Greek explorer named Scylax of Caryanda explored the river Indus and it gave birth to the word Indos. And with the passage of time, Indos became India. This name was also used for the civilization which was across the Sindhu/Indus River and the civilization we are talking about is the Harrapan Civilisation. Which was also called the Indus Valley Civilisation.

Origin of the word Bharat:

When we talk about the name Bharat it is not a geographical or a foreign term given to us, but quite the opposite to that it has been a part of our culture and history for a very long time. The first time ever that the term Bharat was used in the oldest Vedic Sanskrit text the Rigveda and it was written by Ved Veyas. The term Bharat is used as a reference to Bharata who was the king of the Bharata clan. King Bharata won the battle between 10 kings after which for the first time our country was united.

Another significant indication of Bharat being attached to our culture and history is the holy book “Mahabharat”, the book also talks about the Bharata clan and the battle of Mahabharat that took place in the northern part of our country. Apart from these references in the books, around 2100 years ago in Odisha in the Hathigumpha Caves, the word Bharatvarsh was carved. The term Bharatvarsh was used for the gigantic region of our country and not the whole country.

In the Vishnu Purana, there is a geographical description of Bharat. It says, “Uttaram yat samudrasya, Himadreschaiva dakshinam, varsham tad Bharatam nama Bharati yatra santatih”. It means that Bharatam, or Bharat is the country that lies to the north of the ocean and to the south of the snowy mountains.[1]

Constitutional say on the term Bharat:

The adaption of the term Bharat for our country is not something new and alien introduced by the government, rather it also has been a part of our constitution Article 1 states:

“India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.
The States and the territories thereof shall be as specified in the First Schedule
⁠The territory of India shall comprise —
(a) the territories of the States;
(b) the Union territories specified[2]

So the government’s initiative to use the term Bharat instead of India is not unconstitutional or illegal. Apart from just being lawful the term Bharat connects us to the roots of our country and directs us in the direction of understanding the origin and history of our country. The same history has been manipulated and erased in the Mughal and the Colonial period.

Rashtrapati Bhawan extended invites for a G-20 luncheon on September 9 on behalf of the “President of Bharat,” which gave rise to the India-Bharat dispute last month. The usage of the word Bharat in English has been condemned by opposition political parties since it has been a long-standing desire of the RSS.

The administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often said that they lean towards using the term “Bharat.” In 2022, PM Modi made a number of promises to the people during his Independence Day address, one of which was to eradicate all signs of slavery. The adoption of Bharat as the new name might be seen as a symbolic move in the direction of valuing the cultural character of our country.


Adopting the name Bharat instead of India for our country is a well-thought-out step taken in the positive direction, this will help the minds of the nation move past the colonial norms and practices. For the new generation, this step is crucial as it will connect them with our original roots and will help in making them keen on our rich culture and history.

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Written by: Sushant Kumar Sharma


[1] Srishti Singh Sisodia, Explained | Origin of the name ‘Bharat’ – India’s past, present and future, WION (Sep 6,2023,4:30PM), https://www.wionews.com/india-news/explained-origin-of-bharat-indias-past-present-and-future-632906

[2] INDIA CONST. art. 1, cl. 1.