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When SP Founder Mulayam Singh Yadav Batted for ‘Bharat’ over ‘India’ – News18

Mulayam Singh Yadav said in 2004 that he would replace ‘India’ with ‘Bharat’ if he came to power. File pic/News18

The Samajwadi Party under Mulayam Singh Yadav’s leadership also released a manifesto on April 9, 2004, ahead of the Lok Sabha Polls, stating that in ancient times the name of the country was Bharat, which was replaced with India by the British rulers

An “India vs Bharat” debate has been raging, stoked by the discovery that official invitations sent by the Rashtrapati Bhavan for a banquet to dignitaries attending the G20 summit in Delhi say “President of Bharat” instead of the traditional “President of India”. However, a lesser-known fact is that the issue was earlier raised in 2004 by Samajwadi Party (SP) founder and patron Mulayam Singh Yadav when he said he would replace “India” with “Bharat” if he came to power.

The late Uttar Pradesh chief minister also highlighted this in the SP’s manifesto, which the party released on April 9, 2004, ahead of the Lok Sabha Polls. The document stated that in ancient times the name of the country was Bharat, which was replaced with India by the British rulers.

“Besides, he also stressed on the point of having ‘one country, one name; in the manifesto and promised that if voted to power, he would ensure that the name is changed to Bharat. He also called mentioning the name India in the Constitution a mistake,” stated political observer Rajiv Shukla.

Shukla, who has a keen interest in UP politics, also said that the 2004 state assembly passed a resolution unopposed to change the country’s name.

What SP leaders say

Senior Samajwadi Party leader Udaiveer Singh said that the Centre should clarify the issue of “India vs Bharat”.

“Is it because they fear the opposition has coined the name INDIA? It shows their petty thinking. It’s not a new debate, it’s an old debate. In the 2004 polls, Mulayam Singh Yadav sahab did raise the issue, but there is a difference in the ‘agendas’. Mulayam Singh Yadav sahab’s agenda was pro-people. He went to south India, met people, and talked about respecting regional languages,” he said.

Mulayam Singh Yadav also pointed out that Hindi should become the national language as rural people do not understand English, facilities should be given to farmers, and they should be put on the centre stage of development, added the SP leader.

“Netaji’s philosophy was entirely different. It was related to the rural economy and was pro-people, especially to the downtrodden, poor, and minorities, to make them financially and economically strong. The BJP’s agenda is totally different. Its agenda is anti-people, it is more towards corporatisation, facilitating big industrialists at the cost of smaller ones, ignoring the farmers and their rights, etc. There is no comparison between Netaji’s approach and that of the BJP,” he said.

Other SP leaders have also alleged that the shift from India to Bharat on the invitation card is to prevent the opposition alliance from being identified with the country’s name.

‘It’s high time’

SK Dwivedi, former head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Lucknow, said that the issue has been around for a long time.

“In the Indian constitution, there is a mention of both names, possibly due to the colonial hangover,” he said. “I must mention that there is no country in the world with two names. And, over the years, it became a trend that people started saying India in English, whereas in Hindi it was Bharat. I think, as a teacher, we should not pass on any sort of controversy to the students, and hence, I believe the country’s name should be amended to ‘Bharat’. It’s high time.”

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