Why is India referring to itself as Bharat? Get to know its Historical and Cultural Significance.

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India, officially known as the Republic of India, is a diverse and culturally rich nation with a unique identity. One of the lesser-known aspects of this identity is the country’s choice to be called “Bharat” in various official contexts. This choice has deep historical and cultural roots and is an integral part of India’s heritage. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind India’s decision to be referred to as Bharat and the significance it holds in the nation’s history and identity.

1. Historical Roots

The name “Bharat” has ancient origins dating back thousands of years. It is derived from the Sanskrit term “Bharata,” which has historical and mythological significance. According to Indian mythology, Bharat was the name of an ancient king and the eldest son of King Dushyanta and Queen Shakuntala. His story is depicted in the epic Mahabharata, one of the most important texts in Indian literature and mythology.

The Mahabharata chronicles the epic battle between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, and it is a cornerstone of Indian culture. By adopting the name “Bharat,” India pays homage to its rich mythological heritage and the great epic that has influenced its culture, ethics, and traditions for centuries.

2. Cultural Significance

The choice of the name “Bharat” also reflects the cultural diversity and unity of India. India is a nation with a multitude of languages, religions, and traditions, but the name “Bharat” unifies the country by transcending these diversities. It serves as a symbol of cultural cohesion and solidarity.

The Indian Constitution, in its preamble, recognizes India as “Bharat” alongside its English name. This inclusion signifies the importance of both languages and cultures in the country. It reinforces the idea that India, or Bharat, is a land where various linguistic and cultural traditions coexist harmoniously.

3. Historical Precedent

The use of the name “Bharat” to refer to the Indian subcontinent has a historical precedent. Long before the modern nation of India was formed, the region was known as “Bharata Varsha” or “Bharatvarsha” in ancient texts. This term referred to the entire Indian subcontinent and was used to denote the vast geographical and cultural expanse of the region.

Even during the British colonial period, when India was under British rule, the name “Bharat” was widely used in vernacular languages. It was a way for Indians to assert their cultural and national identity in the face of colonial domination.

4. Constitutional Recognition

India’s choice to be known as Bharat is not merely a matter of tradition or symbolism; it is enshrined in the country’s constitution. Article 1 of the Indian Constitution states, “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.” This constitutional recognition of both names reflects the nation’s commitment to preserving its diverse cultural heritage while embracing its modern identity.

5. Cultural Revivalism

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in India’s traditional and cultural roots. This cultural revivalism has led to a renewed emphasis on the name “Bharat” as a way to connect with the country’s ancient heritage. Many cultural and educational institutions have adopted the name “Bharat” in their titles to reflect this shift.


The choice of India to be called Bharat is deeply rooted in its history, culture, and tradition. It pays homage to ancient mythology, symbolizes cultural unity, and has a historical precedent. Moreover, it is constitutionally recognized, affirming its importance in the modern context. By embracing the name “Bharat” alongside “India,” the country underscores its commitment to preserving its rich cultural heritage while moving forward as a diverse and dynamic nation. In doing so, India acknowledges the importance of both its past and its future, making “Bharat” a symbol of continuity and progress.


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