18 September 2023… Will history repeat itself after 74 years? – New Parliament House Sansad Parliament Special Session INDIA Bharat Name Change Bill ntc
Date: 18 September 1949. Exactly 74 years ago, the name of the country was being debated in the Constituent Assembly. Debate on what should be the name of the country. Bharat or India?
Date: 18 September 2023. That means today’s date. Once again there may be a debate in Parliament regarding the name of the country. There is speculation that the government may bring a proposal regarding the name related to the country.
So will history repeat itself once again? And what could not happen 74 years ago, can happen today? Because when there was a debate in the Constituent Assembly, there were many members who said that the name of the country should be only one. And now once again such a debate has started that when no other country in the world has two names, then why should our country have two names?
It is believed that the date for the special session of Parliament was also chosen very thoughtfully. Experts even say that it cannot be a mere coincidence that a special session of Parliament has been called on a particular date.
Let us tell you that HV Kamath of All India Forward Bloc had presented an amendment proposal in the House 74 years ago to change the name of the country from India to Bharat or Bharatvarsha. But 51 votes were cast against this proposal while 38 were in favor, due to which this proposal was rejected.
The debate of 18 September 1949, under the chairmanship of Dr. Rajendra Prasad, was the first time when the name of the country was discussed in the Constituent Assembly. Ambedkar had suggested two names India and Bharat. During this debate, Kamath had said that every child is named after birth and soon India will also be born. There were many suggestions regarding the name of the country, among which Hindustan, Hind, Bharatvarsh, Bharat and Bharatbhoomi were prominent.
India or India? when the debate started
When the Constituent Assembly met on 18 September 1949, committee member HV Kamath was the first speaker. He had said, ‘This is the naming ceremony of the Indian Republic. Kamath had said that if there was no need for a naming ceremony, we could have kept the name India, but if we have reached the point that a new name must be kept, then surely the question will arise as to what name it should be.
Kamath had actually started to get to the bottom of the origin of the name Bharat. He started arguing that in reality Bharat was the son of Dushyant and Shakuntala in the Vedic era, after whom India was named. Ambedkar had opposed Kamath’s proposal. Ambedkar had raised questions on the very purpose of this proposal. At one stage the leader of the Forward Bloc had said that ‘the name India sounds very strange and Ambedkar should accept that this is one of the many mistakes that have been made while drafting the Constitution.’ A historian told that Kamath had said that naming the country India was a big mistake and there was a need to change it to Bharat.
Kamath said that ‘I feel that India i.e. Bharat is unfit in the Constitution.’ Kamath termed it a constitutional mistake. He said that Ambedkar has accepted that many mistakes have been made in the past but I hope that he accepts this mistake also.
After Kamath, Brajeshwar Prasad from Bihar said that he does not think that there is any problem with India or India. His demand was that there should be no separate mention of the states and the Centre. He proposed that Article 1 of the Constitution should say that ‘India, that is Bharat, is an integral unit.
During this debate, Congress leader Kamalapati Tripathi had suggested that keeping in mind the historical scenario, the words in the law could be changed to ‘Bharat That is India’. Another member of the Constituent Assembly, Seth Govind Das had said that Chinese traveler Hien Tsang has also mentioned our country as India in his book. He opposed the view of other members of the Constituent Assembly that choosing the name of the country as India was tantamount to going behind the country.
After the debate in the Constituent Assembly, the conclusion was reached that India that is India should be added to Article 1(1) of the Constitution.
‘India’ will be the symbol of victory of democracy!
According to reports, legal experts like Abhishek Singhvi say that words like Bharat and India can be used. He said that I believe that it is not mandatory from the government side that everyone should use only one name. However, constitutional expert PDT Achari said that India and India cannot be used interchangeably. Changing the name of the country will require a constitutional amendment.
The Modi government’s efforts to popularize the word India as the name of the country coincide with the view of some analysts that India will symbolize the triumph of democracy and the fall of colonial rule.
Amid criticism of the government’s move to change the name of the country, experts say that in the past some Congress leaders had also demanded that the name of the country should be changed from India to Bharat. For example, in 2012, Congress leader Shantaram Naik had brought a private bill, in which it was said that the word Bharat should be used instead of India in the Preamble of the Constitution. It was also said in this bill that in Clause 1 of Article 1 of the Constitution, the word ‘India that is Bharat’ should be used instead of ‘India’.
How can ‘India’ move away?
Article 1 of the Constitution says, ‘India, that is Bharat, which shall be a Union of States.’ Article 1 recognizes both ‘India’ and ‘Bharat’.
Now if the Central Government wants to name the country only as ‘India’ then it will have to bring a bill to amend Article 1.
Article 368 allows amendment of the Constitution. Some amendments can be done on the basis of simple majority i.e. 50% majority. So for some amendments, 66% majority i.e. support of at least two-thirds of the members is required.
To amend Article 1, the Central Government will need at least two-thirds majority.
At present there are 539 MPs in the Lok Sabha. Therefore, to pass the bill to amend Article 1, the support of 356 MPs will be required. Similarly, there are 238 MPs in Rajya Sabha, so to pass the bill there, support of 157 members will be required.
When has the demand for changing the name arisen?
Actually, there has been a demand for changing the name of the country to just ‘Bharat’ and removing the word ‘India’ for a long time. In 2010 and 2012, Congress MP Shantaram Naik had introduced two private bills. In this he had proposed to remove the word India from the Constitution.
In the year 2015, Yogi Adityanath had also introduced a private bill. In this he had proposed to replace ‘India that is Bharat’ with ‘India that is Hindustan’ in the Constitution.
The demand to name the country only India has also gone to the Supreme Court. In March 2016, the Supreme Court had rejected the petition demanding changing the name of the country to just ‘Bharat’ instead of ‘India’. At that time the then Chief Justice TS Thakur had said, ‘Bharat and India? If you want to call India then call me. If someone wants to say India then let him call it India.
Four years later, in 2020, a similar petition was again filed in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court had also rejected this petition. While rejecting the petition, the then Chief Justice SA Bobde had said, ‘Both the names Bharat and India are given in the Constitution. The country is already called India in the Constitution.
It is being said that four bills can be presented in the House during the special session of Parliament. These include the Chief Election Commissioner-Other Election Commissioners Bill 2023, Advocates Amendment Bill 2023, Press and Periodical Registration Bill 2023 and Post Office Bill 2023.
This post originally appeared on www.aajtak.in