Date :19-Jun-2024

THIS is the best approach -- as to be adopted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) -- to the two nomenclatures of the country -- Bharat and India. The NCERT has decided to use both the nomenclatures interchangeably in text books. By doing so, the NCERT will avoid the debate between Bharat and India to creep into education unnecessarily. It will, thus, eliminate any politicisation of the issue, and yet allow younger generations to use both the terms without any psychological or social or political encumbrance. There is nothing like Bharat versus India, or vice versa. here may be a few different shades of meaning or metaphor of Bharat and India. In sum and substance, however, Bharat is India and India is Bharat. True, the metaphor of Bharat may have a few elements with unquestionable Indian roots, all right. But a similar thing can also be said about the nomenclature ‘India’. If Bharat has a traditional base, India, too, has the same. Yes, some may prefer using the name ‘Bharat’ for the country -- but those who would prefer India also may not be hurting the traditional metaphor at all. Much to the contrary, when the NCERT decides to use both the terms interchangeably, it is only highlighting the country’s cultural amalgam. Of course, there is a school of thought that insists upon calling ‘Bharat’.
The members of this school then offer a vast range of reasons why they chose to call the country ‘Bharat’. Some of these people are so rabid about calling the name ‘Bharat’ that they deprecate everything that ‘India’ may suggest. Such people go to extent of calling the ‘India’ callers as pro-western. Speaking frankly, such arguments hold no water in the long distance. Yes, historically the name India may have been derived from the word Indus which foreigners understood faster and better. But that still does not suggest that ‘India’ is a western concept, so to say. Much research has gone into establishing the assertion that ‘Bharat’ is close to the country’s tradition and history and soul. But all that work also is put under the category of ‘Indic’ studies (thus borrowing the concept from ‘India’). By way of Indic studies, a whole new branch of study of Indology has come up in the past few years in a pronounced manner. However, such studies were often been an integral part of study of tradition and culture of the country for thousands of years.
To sum up the criss- cross thinking of people brings us to believing strongly that both the terms are interchangeable, like the NCERT has decided. It is, no doubt, a very wise decision and approach. There is no doubt that eventually, say a quarter of a century from now, ‘Bharat’ will earn a greater empathy from the people and ‘India’ will become ‘Bharat’ in popular parlance. Yet, even then, the term “India’ will not lose its importance. The debate, thus, has little actual relevance in the country. In practical terms, the people of the country decide all by themselves the popular nomenclature of the land in the confluence of two seas and one ocean and whose northern edge is faceted by the Himalayas. Unfortunately, ‘Bharat’ got a little political tint because of one-sidedness of argument. No matter that, ‘India’, too, did not lose its sheen. With the NCERT making up its mind to use the two terms interchangeably, the debate stands almost sorted out at least in school education. May this spirit endure itself through time. May the larger society not get cleavaged between two nomenclatures when the country is one -- federal in structure and unitary in spirit.