The government led by Narendra Modi is expected to introduce a resolution to change India's official name to 'Bharat' during an upcoming special session of Parliament this month.
Jairam Ramesh, a leader from the Congress party, asserted that the Rashtrapati Bhawan had extended invitations for the G20 dinner this weekend under the title of 'President of Bharat' instead of the usual 'President of India'.
In the meantime, several BJP leaders, including Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma and Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, have expressed their support for the renaming of the country as 'Bharat'. This development has emerged amidst an ongoing controversy, sparked when over two dozen opposition parties formed an alliance named 'INDIA,' which drew criticism from the ruling BJP.
As speculations intensify whether the Centre will be renaming the country as 'Bharat', here are countries that officially changed their names:
1) Ceylon- Sri Lanka: In 1972, Sri Lanka undertook a name change to distance itself from its colonial past. During this transformation, Ceylon was declared a republic and gained independence from British rule. In 2011, Sri Lanka formally removed the previous colonial appellation, Ceylon, from official government usage.
2) Persia- Iran: Historically, the region we now know as Iran had been commonly referred to as Persia. Nevertheless, when Reza Shah ascended to the throne, he instigated a name change in 1935, adopting the name Iran to symbolise a fresh start. While Iran is the prevalent term used for the nation-state, the enduring cultural exports, encompassing food, art, and literature, are frequently denoted as Persian.
3) Burma- Myanmar: For generations, the nation had been conventionally referred to as Burma, a name associated with the predominant Burman ethnic group. However, in 1989, just one year following the harsh suppression of a pro-democracy uprising by the ruling junta, the country's leadership abruptly altered its name to Myanmar.
4) Turkey- Turkiye: In June 2022, Turkey officially conveyed to the United Nations its desire to be referred to as "Turkiye" across all languages. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan explained in a statement that the term "Turkiye" most effectively embodies the culture, civilization, and values of the Turkish nation. This name alteration was undertaken to enhance the country's image and establish a stronger connection to its cultural heritage deeply rooted in Turkish history.
5) Holland- Netherlands: The Dutch government has made the decision to transition from using "Holland" to the official name "the Netherlands" as a step toward revamping its global image. This name change is aimed at shifting international attention away from specific aspects of national life, such as the recreational drug culture and Amsterdam's red-light district.
6) Czech Republic- Czechia: As of earlier this year, the Czech Republic adopted the name "Czechia" to simplify its usage on products and clothing for businesses and sports teams. While both "Czechia" and the "Czech Republic" have been in official use since 2016, the country will now primarily go by its abbreviated form, "Czechia."
7) Kampuchea- Cambodia: While Cambodia has not undergone a formal name change, its current name is derived from "Kampuchea," which is the English transliteration of the same term. In 1976, during the communist government's rule, the country was officially referred to as "Kampuchea." However, following the end of that regime, the country reverted to being officially known as "Cambodia."
8) Republic of Macedonia- Republic of North Macedonia: In 2019, the nation previously known as the Republic of Macedonia officially adopted the name "Republic of North Macedonia." Nonetheless, the country specified that its citizens should still be referred to as "Macedonians" and not as "North Macedonians."