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The history behind India being officially known as ‘Bharat’

The many perceptions behind India being named as Bharat

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By Shubhi Mangla

India the land of different cultures, religions, languages and beliefs has a very colorful and rich history. Being one of the oldest civilizations in the world, India has two principal short names both in the official and English language i.e. India and Bharat. The name ‘India’ is derived from the river Indus or Sindhu River and has been widely used in Greek since Herodotus and in English in the 17th century.

Article 19(1) of the Indian Constitution states that, “India that is Bharat shall be a Union of States”. The name Bharat has been given to India by its founding fathers. However, there are some specific reasons as to why India is officially called Bharat. Many of us are unaware of the theories that relate to India coming to be called so.

 The term ‘Bharat’

The name Bharat has originated from the ancient Indian language, Sanskrit.

  • Bharat is a derivation of the Sanskrit word Bharata which stands for ‘Agni’ meaning fire. The term is a verbal noun of the Sanskrit root ‘bhr’ meaning to carry with a literal meaning of ‘to be maintained’ (of fire),
  • The term Bharata also means ‘one who is in search of knowledge’
  • According to sterlingholidays.comBharata is the official Sanskrit name of the country, Bharata Ganarajya, and the name is derived from the ancient Indian texts, the Puranas, which refers to the land that comprises India as Bharata varsam, and uses this term to distinguish it from other varsas or continents’

Related: How Indian laws define the term ‘Hindu’

Emperor Bharata Chakravarti and Mahabharata

King Bharata killed a lion as a young kid all by himself Source: Wikimedia commons
King Bharata killed a lion as a young kid all by himself
Source: Wikimedia commons

According to Gita, India came to be known as ‘Bharatvarsha’ after the emperor Bharata Chakravarti who was the son of King Dushyanta of Hastinapura and Queen Shakuntala. Thus, a descendant of the Lunar dynasty of Kshatriya Varna. Bharata was known to be a brave king who went to conquer the whole of Indian empire which came to be named after him as ‘Bharatvarsha’ meaning land of Bharata. In the epic Mahabharata, India was mentioned as Bharatvarsha by Lord Krishna and this huge Bharata Empire not only included the modern day India but also parts of other countries like Russia, Iran, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tibet, Bangladesh, Nepal, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan.

‘Bharat’ in Puranas

Purana Manuscripts from 15th- to 18th-century Source: Wikimedia commons
Purana Manuscripts from 15th- to 18th-century
Source: Wikimedia commons

The term Bharat has been used in ancient Indian texts and Puranas. India has been mentioned as Bharatvarsha in Vishnu Purana, Vayu Purana, Linga Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Agni Purana, Skanda Purana, Khanda and Markandaya Purana.  A version of the Bagavatha Purana says, the name Bharatha is after Jata Bharatha who appears in the fifth canto of the Bagavatha.

This country is known as Bharatavarsha since the times the father entrusted the kingdom to the son Bharata and he himself went to the forest for ascetic practices”  —  Vishnu Purana

“The country (varsam) that lies north of the ocean and south of the snowy mountains is called Bharatam; there dwell the descendants of Bharata”  Vishnu Purana

Retaining Bharat

 India as a nation has still preserved the traditional and ancient name of Bharat in many ways.

The Bharat Ratna Source: Wikimedia commons
The Bharat Ratna
Source: Wikimedia commons
  •  The highest and the most prestigious award which can be given to any Indian citizen is named as ‘Bharat Ratna’.
  • The Government of India has named various companies and Governmental institutions after the name Bharat keeping in mind the age old tradition. These include Bharat Petroleum, Bharat Heavy Electricals, Bharat State Bank, Bharat Aluminium, Bharat Steals etc.
  • Legendary poet, Rabindranath Tagore in his National Anthem described India as `BHARATHA BHAGYA VIDHATA` which means one is lucky to have been born in India.
  • Our nation has been referred to as Bharat Desam and Bharatha with great patriotic passion in Mahakavi Bharathi’s renowned nationalistic songs and poems.

This shows the people of India have not given up recognizing India as Bharat. Thus, honouring the traditional name of Bharat and using it for patriotic and nationalistic purposes.

Reference: 

www.ivarta.com

pediaa.com

Shubhi Mangla is an intern at Newsgram and a student of Journalism & Mass Communication in New Delhi. Twitter @shubhi_mangla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.