Can Bharat do without Indianness?

I vividly remember a soignee of dialogues from Karan Johar’s movie, ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’; Kajol, maudlin in her pursuance convinces Shah Rukh Khan to let a stranger live in their house—a sander of ‘Woh Bharat se aaya hai’. Another scene from the same movie sees the femme fatale Kareena Kapoor leave the palaver of her grande dame clothing into a Spartan ‘salwar kameez’ calling it ‘the Indian touch’

We often use the words ‘Bharat’ and ‘India’ interchangeably. There is never an intention, only an emotion. It could either be a vulnerability arising from the heuristic-self or a nationalistic consanguinity giving rise to high falutin impulses or sometimes be cornered by hag ridden discretions of studying history. But, both the terms somehow fall on each other’s lap bearing an indisputable testimony to the gauntlet winds that still tell the story, ad infinitum, of the cathartic pride and the strait-laced arousals.

Let’s swap the scenes; ‘Woh India se aaya hai’—‘it’s the Bhartiya touch’. Nothing changes! Let’s take another chapter of the India-Bharat melody. Rahul Gandhi has his own perfectionism for ‘Bharat’ & ‘India’. His ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ had nothing to do with the ‘sabhyata conundrum’; it was an emotion to bring the entire India together, like his initiation to form the ‘I.N.D.I.A Bloc‘ does not propagate a western legacy. I sense a nationalistic pride, a confluence of ‘percipient’ & ‘prescriptive’ keeping ideological manifestations afloat. It’s like the mindset embraces the characteristic ability it most resonates with—‘India’ or ‘Bharat’—they are one!

However, the present government feels otherwise! At the G20 Summit, ‘Bharat’ was a piece de resistance. The name placard in front of the Prime Minister Modi read ‘Bharat’ instead of ‘India’. It led to wide speculations of some desideratum—an idea that always enveloped the mind but could now be cause celebre. It led to conjure, how ‘Bharat’ would fit in certain titles; ‘The Bharat Cricket Team’, ‘Prime Minister of Bharat’ ‘Bharat Diaspora’ and the funniest straw would be, ‘Chak de Bharat’—all sound like a damp squib! What’s the purpose for all this transition?A political maneuver at play! Or the Right-Wing empiricism! I also suspect a chutzpah of protecting the de jure ‘Hindu Legacy’ and deride the colonial manifestation of ‘Indianness’ in its embryo.

Personally, ‘India’ is a better choice but have no compunction if at certain occasions, ‘Bharat’ makes an influence. In either of the outlook, patriotism remains alive and the English/Hindi divide does not even cross my mind and many reading this would agree to it. But, changing the name of the country to ‘Bharat’ if so has issues. It loses the political and social palpability, pestering itself as an intolerant nation. A secular and a democratic set-up like India is not only about people but also about channelized minds. The nationalistic fervor has seeped in diversity as ‘Bharat’ for some and “India’ for others. On the International map, ‘India’ holds the reign; its Indianness carries the soulful incantation of Vedas, the empowering monumental heritages, the sentiments of diverse set of people and a religiosity that can make Heaven and Earth move. The infallible ‘Bhartiya Sanskriti’, on the flip side, reveals the Indianness of being tolerant to what eludes us and accepting differences as an impassioned normalcy.  

Let the slogans hurl stentorious ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’

Let the ubiquitous ‘Bhartiya nari’ be caparisoned by the ‘Indian touch’

‘Bharat Bhagya Vidhata’ urges every Indian to write its own destiny

‘India’ and ‘Bharat’ invariably find themselves in each other.

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