By Hiren Gohain
There’s little doubt that the sole purpose behind BJP’s raucous campaign to rename India as ‘Bharat’ is to create some confusion and unease in the mind of the masses about the United opposition’s challenge to the oppressive,exploitative and intensely divisive regime under a common banner blazoned INDIA.
As far as I can see the ordinary voter is seething with anger and resentment at the sizzling prices of everything that supports life and the centre’s bland unconcern and fatuous lies.
The BJP dare not face the opposition in the contest on these grounds.And so it seems determined to shift the arena from real issues of life to the vast,hazy and crazy world of symbols and gain mileage from knee-jerk reactions they trigger.
The BJP seems to think that the more native sounding term that might have also an air of sanctity will be closer to the hearts of crowds inebriated with religion.A look at the context in the Constitution will soon disabuse addicts and fans.For when the founding fathers had authored the words ”India that is Bharat”,they were far from laying down the name of the country with authority.They were into the business of framing the Constitution of the country and certainly not busying themselves with finding a name for this ancient land.
The BJP is misinterpreting the phrase “India that is Bharat”.The framers were merely saying that the country which goes by the name ‘India’ turns into ‘Bharat’ in the various languages in use both among people and in official communication.It is not intended to leave it as a controversial issue to be raked up in future.
In the tumultuous and eventful freedom movement,in speeches and copious writings of its leaders in English,in the rich corpus of patriotic literature in English,the name occurs with unforced abundance.As Hindi was yet to assume that role across different regions English had been the natural and spontaneous choice as medium among various regions and communities.And ‘India’ had also been natural choice for name of the country containing those diversities.The framers of the Constitution spoke in English and it was written in English,and there was a natural tendency to use it as the name of the country.To try to rake up a controversy about it at this late age is to make a fetish of it.And that is BJP is used to,making fetishes out of such things and provoke ugly passions with them.
Hiren Gohain is a political commentator
7 September 2023