NEW DELHI: Should India be called “Bharat”? Acting on a petition, the Supreme Court today asked for a response from the Centre and states.
A petition by Niranjan Bhatwal says that there is no historical evidence that the subcontinent was ever called India, or its people, Indians. “The Mughal rulers never called the subcontinent India. The term ‘India’ was derived during the British rule,” said the petition.
The petition says that BR Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian constitution, extensively debated the issue in the Constituent Assembly, while framing the constitution.
The outcome of those debates remained vague, the petition says.
The petition also cites Article 1 of the Constitution, which says: “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.”
The subject has come up in the Supreme Court weeks after the ruling BJP, in a resolution on foreign policy during its conclave in Bengaluru, repeatedly referred to India as “Bharat”.