Official invitations for guests at the G20 summit dinner have sparked speculation that India may be changing its name.
The invites refer to Droupadi Murmu as “President of Bharat” instead of the usual “President of India.”
A recent tweet posted by a senior spokesperson of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also referred to Narendra Modi as the “prime minister of Bharat.”
While India is the most commonly used name for the country, it is often called Bharat and sometimes Hindustan by Indian officials and the public.
Bharat is a Sanskrit term found in scriptures from around 2,000 years ago.
Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP government has already renamed several cities linked to the Mughal and colonial periods.
Critics see it as an attempt to erase the Muslim Mughals who ruled the country for 300 years.
The opposition party has also warned against removing the country’s long-established name.
“While there is no constitutional objection to calling India ‘Bharat’, which is one of the country’s two official names, I hope the government will not be so foolish as to completely dispense with ‘India’, which has incalculable brand value built up over centuries,” lawmaker Shashi Tharoor posted on X, the site formerly known as Twitter.
“We should continue to use both words rather than relinquish our claim to a name redolent of history, a name that is recognised around the world,” he added.
Countries often change their names for political, geographic and religious reasons. Here are some other nations that are now known by a different name.
Why is Turkey now called Türkiye?
In 2022, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan informed the United Nations that his country should now be termed “Türkiye” in all languages.
“The word ‘Türkiye’ represents and expresses the culture, civilisation, and values of the Turkish nation in the best way,» the president said.
He added that it was a better representation of the nation rather than the name of a bird.
Why has the Czech Republic been renamed Czechia?
Although the Czech Republic is still an official name for the central European nation, the government prefers the simpler title Czechia.
Authorities say it makes it easier for the nation to be recognised in international events like sporting competitions and in tourism marketing campaigns.
“I use the word Czechia because it sounds nicer and it’s shorter than the cold Czech Republic,” President Miloš Zeman said in 2019.
Why has Holland been rebranded as the Netherlands?
In January 2020, the Netherlands dropped the name Holland as part of a rebranding campaign.
The government said the Netherlands better represents the country as open, modern and inclusive.
Why is Macedonia now called North Macedonia?
In 2019, the Republic of Macedonia officially became the Republic of North Macedonia.
The name change occurred during political disputes with Greece and was used to distinguish the country from the Greek region of Macedonia.