New Delhi: Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has weighed in on the ongoing debate regarding the usage of Bharat and India asserting that there is no substantial difference between the two terms. Pradhan made these comments during a Vice Chancellors’ Conference focused on the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP)-2020 in Narmada district, Gujarat.
Eruption of a Controversy
The controversy erupted following recommendations from a high-level committee appointed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to replace “India” with “Bharat” in all textbooks. This move led to sharp reactions, particularly from opposition parties in the southern states, who perceived it as a political ploy and an attempt to manipulate historical facts.
Difference between Bharat and India
Minister Pradhan addressed the matter by stating, “There is no difference between Bharat and India. Bharat is the name of this country. It was during the colonial period that the English-speaking people gave the country the name India.” He further emphasized, “Our Constitution has given significance to both Bharat and India.” Pradhan clarified that the term “Bharat” is an integral part of the country’s history and civilization, with deep-rooted origins. However, he also noted that certain individuals, whom he referred to as “frustrated people,” are attempting to generate controversy around this issue.
The controversy surrounding the proposed name change gained momentum on Wednesday when CI Issac, the chairperson of NCERT’s social science panel, disclosed that the change was recommended as part of the unanimous suggestions made by the seven-member panel in their final position paper. Nevertheless, Dinesh Saklani, the chairperson of NCERT, clarified that no official decision has been made regarding the panel’s recommendations.
In response to the public uproar, NCERT posted an update on Wednesday, stating, “Response to the uproar on the recommendation of India to be mentioned as Bharat in textbooks… NCERT states that since the development of new syllabus and textbooks is in the process and for that purpose various curricular area groups of domain experts are being notified by the NCERT. So, it is too premature to comment.”
The debate over whether to use “India” or “Bharat” in textbooks is currently a subject of intense discussion in India. It reflects the broader dialogue on national identity and the historical connotations associated with each term. While the recommendations by the high-level committee have raised concerns and sparked political disagreements, it remains to be seen how this issue will ultimately be resolved and whether any changes will be implemented in the educational curriculum.