BJP MP Naresh Bansal on Friday stirred a row in Parliament after he stated in the Rajya Sabha that the name 'India' is a symbol of "colonial slavery" and it "should be removed from the Constitution". He also sought the renaming of the country's name to 'Bharat'.
Bansal, while speaking in the Upper House, asserted that the term 'India' was imposed by the British colonial rulers. He emphasised that the country's "true ancient name" is 'Bharat', which has roots in ancient Sanskrit texts and has been in use for thousands of years.
The BJP MP further said that as a nation with a rich historical identity, India should abandon the colonial-era designation. "The British changed Bharat's name to India. Under Article 1, the Constitution states, 'India, that is Bharat'. Our country has been known by the name 'Bharat' for thousands of years... it is this country's ancient name and is found in ancient Sanskrit texts. The name 'India' was given by the colonial Raj and is thus a symbol of slavery. The name India should be removed from the Constitution," Bansal said.
He also referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech on August 15 last year, where he stressed for eradicating all remnants of colonialism. "I propose that under Amrit Kaal of Independence, we change the beginning of Article 1 to simply Bharat and remove the name 'India'," he added.
Bansal urged that renaming the nation as 'Bharat' would be a significant step towards "honouring the country's heritage and decolonising its identity".
The BJP has been targeting the Opposition bloc of Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance or INDIA by repeatedly declaring that the name 'India' is a remnant of the colonial past.
Meanwhile, many Congress leaders, however, pointed out that even though the BJP was seemingly adamant on removing all colonial legacy, the BJP government has continued to use the name 'India' in its major schemes and movements such as Make in India, Start-Up India and New India among others.