‘Bharat’ comes from Sanskrit and is the most ancient term of the three, with references in the Hindu Puranas and the Mahabharata to ‘Bharatvarsa’ and with a reference to a Bharata tribe in the Rigveda. The Puranas describe ‘Bharat’ as a geographical entity between the Himalayas in the north and the seas in the South, politically divided into various smaller territories, but yet referred to together. The ‘Bharatvarsa’ of the Puranas, thus, contained the same plurality in caste, religion, culture, language and lifestyle, as the ‘Bharat’ of today. This unity in diversity brings to mind the most beautiful interpretation of Bharat that I came across. It derives itself from the name of the dance form ‘Bharatnathyam’ – ‘Bha’ from Bhavam or expression, ‘Ra’ from Ragam or melody, and ‘Ta’ from Thalam or rhythm. This interpretation renders a beautiful imagery of harmonious diversity, offering a glimpse of what ‘Bharatvarsa’ might have meant to people in ancient times.
The roots of “Bharat”, “Bharata”, or “Bharatvarsha” are traced back to Puranic literature, and to the epic Mahabharata. The Puranas describe Bharata as the land between the “sea in the south and the abode of snow in the north”. The name “Bharat” has historical and cultural significance in India. It is derived from ancient Indian texts and mythology, particularly from the epic Mahabharata, where “Bharat” refers to the legendary emperor Bharata, an ancestor of the Pandavas and Kauravas. This name is often associated with the idea of a united and culturally rich India.
So, “Bharat” is indeed one of the official names of India, and it reflects the country’s cultural and historical heritage. The term “Bharatvarsha” has also been used historically to refer to the Indian subcontinent. In the preamble of the Constitution of India, the country is referred to as “Bharat,” and this name is used within India to refer to the nation in various official and cultural contexts.
The word “Bharat” is an ancient Sanskrit word that means “India” in Hindi. It may have originated from the Sanskrit word “Bharata”, which means “fire”. It may also come from the name of the Vedic tribe of Bharatas, who are mentioned in the Rigveda. The word may also come from the name of the mythical King Bharat, who is a descendant of the Hindu race in Hindu mythology.
Few facts on Bharat name
1. Historical Roots: The word “Bharat” has its origins in ancient Indian scriptures and texts.
2. Origin: In Hindu scriptures, Bharat is the name of an ancient king who ruled a legendary kingdom, giving the land its name.
3. Constitutional Mention: The term “Bharat” is officially recognized as the name of India in the Indian Constitution. Article 1 of the Constitution states, “India, that is Bharat shall be a Union of States.”
4. Cultural Significance: “Bharat” is often used to refer to India in a more traditional and cultural sense, emphasizing its deep historical and cultural heritage.
5. Linguistic Connections: It is also worth noting that “Bharat” is used to refer to India in several Indian languages, including Hindi and Sanskrit.
6. Symbolic Meaning: Beyond its literal usage, “Bharat” symbolizes the unity and diversity of India, reflecting the country’s rich history and cultural tapestry.
7. Independence Movement: During the Indian independence movement, the term “Bharat” was widely used to emphasize the cultural and historical identity of India as it sought independence from British rule.
8. Modern Usage: Today, “Bharat” is often used alongside “India” as the official name of the country, highlighting its ancient heritage alongside its modern identity
At the same time, its origin from Hindu texts and Sanskrit, also give ‘Bharat’ a religious significance for Hindus. ‘Bharat’ is a nation where Hindus feel some sense of identification and belonging. This can be inferred from the importance of slogans like ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ for the Hindus participating in the freedom struggle. Deliberations in the Constituent Assembly took place, on whether Bharat should precede India, in the form – “Bharat, or in the English language, India…” In recent years, public interest litigations have been filed in favour of ‘Bharat’ being adopted as the only official name of ‘India’, with the latter being seen as a colonial hand-me-down. Thus today, when Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali markets itself as ‘Made in Bharat’ and not ‘Made in India’, it makes it clear that while the Constitution may technically equate ‘Bharat’ with ‘India’ in meaning, the two continue to have different connotations for a lot of ‘Bharatvasis’, who may not relate to ‘India’ as much to ‘Bharat’.
The word “India” may have come from the British, who may have been unaware of the term “Bharat”. The term “India” may have been easier for the British to use because it was already familiar in Europe. The word “Bharat” may be used interchangeably with “India” in the country’s constitution and by the public.