September 21, 2023

India’s Sanskrit name in a G20 invitation

  • September 6, 2023
  • 2 min read
India’s Sanskrit name in a G20 invitation

As New Delhi gets ready to host international leaders for the G20 meeting. Dinner invitations referring to India by its Sanskrit name have sparked a political controversy and public debate. About what the country should be called, its history, and its colonial heritage.

According to a source in her office, invitations to a dinner being held by Indian President Droupadi Murmu. On Saturday were sent out by the “President of Bharat” rather than the typical “President of India.”


In the country of 1.4 billion people, which has more than 20 official languages, both India and Bharat are used.

The nation’s constitution declares that “India, that is, Bharat, shall be a Union of States.”

Both the Hindi name for India and the English word Bharat are found on Indian passports, for instance.

But under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Its inclusion on the invitations represents a significant shift in the naming tradition the nation uses on the international stage.

The G20 meeting is a first for India as Modi seeks to increase New Delhi’s influence on the world stage after serving as prime minister for almost ten years. During that time, he has positioned himself as a leader committed to eradicating the nation’s colonial past and stressed the need to “liberate ourselves from the slavery mindset.”

Before India’s independence in 1947, Britain dominated the country for roughly 200 years. Supporters of Bharat argue that the name India is most associated with today is a holdover from the colonial era.

The Sanskrit word for the Indus River, Sindhu, was the source of the name India, which was borrowed by early Western civilizations. The British Empire later adopted the name.

BJP lawmaker Harnath Singh Yadav said to Indian broadcaster ANI that the word “India” is an insult that the British gave us but “Bharat” is a representation of our culture.

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