Several colonial era names have been changed to more ‘Indian’ sounding ones such as Bombay to Mumbai, Calcutta to Kolkata and Madras to Chennai. Niranjan Bhatwal, a Maharashtra-based social activist thought he could file a PIL with the Supreme Court and try and get ‘India’ changed to ‘Bharat’. He was met a stern response by the Supreme Court and asked not to waste the court’s time on emotional matters.
“Declare India as Bharat? We have no other work or what? Please don’t come to this court with emotional issues,” Justice Thakur told Bhatwal.
“Help the poor through the PIL (public interest litigation). We have better things to do instead of deciding this. If you want to call this country Bharat, you are more than welcome to…. Nobody is stopping you.”
The bench comprising of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice UU Lalit added, “Bharat or India? You want to call it Bharat, go right ahead. Someone wants to call it India, let him call it India,”.
The plea wanted ‘Bharat’ to be used for all official and unofficial purposes.
The PIL had said in the Constituent Assembly, a few suggestions for naming the country were “Bharat, Hindustan, Hind and Bharatbhumi or Bharatvarsh and names of that kind”. He also argued, that ‘Bharat’ is mentioned as the name of the country in Article 1 of the Constitution.