India could change its name…

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government replaced the name India with a Sanskrit word in dinner invitations sent to guests attending this week’s Group of 20 (G20) summit, sparking speculation about an official change of the country’s name.

Droupadi Murmu is called “President of Bharat” instead of “President of India” in the invitation sent to G20 participants.

India hosts annual G20 summit in New Delhi

Many world leaders, including US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron, will be in attendance.

The nation of more than 1.4 billion people is officially known by two names, India and Bharat, but the former is the most commonly used, both domestically and internationally. Hindustan is another word for nation and is often used in literature and other forms of popular culture.

Bharat is an ancient Sanskrit word

According to many historians, Bharat dates back to early Hindu texts. The word is also used as a Hindi option for India.

Officials from Modi’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) support the change. They argue that the name India was introduced by British colonists and is a “symbol of slavery”. The British ruled India for around 200 years until the country gained independence in 1947.

Narendra Modi – Prime Minister of India

A political act?

The BJP has long tried to erase names linked to India’s Mughal and colonial past. The government has been accused of pursuing a nationalist agenda to form an ethnically Hindu state from a constitutionally secular India.

Last year, the government also renamed a colonial-era avenue in the heart of New Delhi used for ceremonial military parades.

Modi’s government says the name changes are an effort to reclaim India’s Hindu past.

“Another blow to the slave mentality,” Uttarakhand state’s highest elected official, Pushkar Singh Dhami, said on X. Dhami, a BJP leader, shared the invitation to the G20 dinner in his post.

Indian opposition parties, however, criticized the government’s decision.

name change for other countries

Turkey also changed its name for populist reasons

The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has asked the international community to recognize Turkey under its Turkish name Türkiye, abandoning Turkey or Turkey (in the English-speaking world turkey means turkey)

“The word Türkiye represents and expresses in the best way the culture, civilization and values ​​of the Turkish nation,” the Turkish president said.

International organizations such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and NATO have already adopted Türkiye, following a formal request from the Turkish authorities.

Critics, however, say the name change was another populist means Erdoğan exploited to distract from the country’s ongoing economic woes and to galvanize nationalist voters ahead of the election.

Catherine Mills Avatar