Recently, a committee set up by the National Council of Educational Research and Training recommended that “India” be replaced with “Bharat” in all social-science textbooks up to class twelve. This came in the midst of a controversy that has raged for the past few months, after the Sangh Parivar pushed for discontinuing the use of India as the name of the country. The ostensible reason, as a Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament Naresh Bansal told the Rajya Sabha in July this year, is that the name India is a symbol of “colonial slavery” and “should be removed from the Constitution.”
Two months later, on 3 September, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat lent his voice to the chorus and asked people to stop using “India” since “our country has been known as ‘Bharat’ for ages.”
Yet, anyone who has read the former RSS chief MS Golwalkar’s book, We or Our Nationhood Defined, would know that the real motive of Bhagwat or any other leader of the Sangh Parivar, whether in government or outside, is not about shedding the vestiges of a colonial past or reclaiming the ancient name of the land. It is about implementing one of Golwalkar’s key formulations—as mentioned in his book—that is critical to the blueprint for making India a Hindu Rashtra.