India That Is Bharat 

AUTHOR : Chestha Sharma; B.COM LL.B (4TH Year); Greater Noida College of Law


“India, also known as Bharat”, embodies the essence of its historical and constitutional evolution, reflecting the various facets of its identity and the diverse cultural tapestry of the nation. Rooted in the discussions of the Constituent Assembly during the drafting of India’s Constitution, this phrase reflects the assembly’s deliberations on unifying the pluralistic ethos of the country with its constitutional framework. The debates highlighted the significance of recognizing India’s dual nomenclature, acknowledging its unity in diversity.

It represents a constitutional vision that promotes unity while celebrating the country’s cultural, linguistic, and ethnic diversity. The discussion highlights the importance of balancing traditional values with modern governance principles, ensuring fair representation and fostering national cohension. The debates underscored the importance of harmonizing traditional values with modern governance principles, ensuring equitable representation and fostering national cohesion. “India that is Bharat” stands as a testament to India’s rich history, cultural richness, and inclusive constitutional ideas.


The phrase “India that is Bharat” reverberates through the corridors of India’s constitutional history, signifying the union of diverse identities within the framework of a single nation. As the Constituent Assembly embarked on the difficult task of drafting the Indian Constitution, this phrase emerged as a testament to India’s layered cultural tapestry and pluralistic ethos. It is the action enclosing the spirit of unity in diversity, acknowledging the coexistence of multiple historical narratives that constitute the Indian subcontinent.

Rooted in ancient civilization and mythology, Bharat represents the historical legacy and traditional nature of India. It reflects the continuity of culture, traditions, and knowledge systems passed down through generations, embodying the essence of an ancient civilization. On the other

hand, India symbolizes the modern, diverse, and dynamic nation-state shaped by colonial legacies, democratic aspirations, and socio-cultural amalgamation.

The discussions within the Constituent Assembly reflected the resonance between “India” and “Bharat,” emphasizing the need to honor this duality within the constitutional framework. Visionaries and constitution drafters struggle with the task of balancing traditional values and contemporary governance model , ensuring that the Constitution would reflect the variety of cultures, languages, and religions cohabiting the nation.

Historical Perspective :-

  1. Ancient Roots:-

The concept of “Bharat” finds its roots in ancient Indian scriptures, particularly in the epic narratives like the Mahabharata and Ramayana. According to Hindu mythology, Bharata was an ancient king and a forebear of the Kuru dynasty. The term “Bharatavarsha” referred to the Indian subcontinent, which was believed to be named after King Bharata.

  1. Cultural Heritage and Unity:-

Over millennia, India evolved as a melting pot of diverse cultures, languages, religions, and traditions. The phrase “India that is Bharat” symbolizes the amalgamation of these multifaceted identities into a unified whole. It reflects India’s natural unity in diversity, highlighting the coexistence of various beliefs, practices, and ways of life.

  1. National Movement and Quest for Independence:-

During India’s struggle for independence, leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru invoked the idea of “India that is Bharat.” They emphasized the revival of India’s ancient wisdom and spiritual values as a means to unite the country against colonial rule. The phrase became a powerful expression, symbolizing India’s inherent unity and diversity, driving the collective consciousness of the freedom movement.

  1. Constitutional Debates:-

The phrase “India that is Bharat” represents a deep acknowledgment of the country’s diverse cultural, social, and historical fabric. During the constitutional debates, the members of the Constituent Assembly embraced this phrase to encapsulate the essence of India’s composite identity. It signified unity amid diversity prevalent across the nation. The assembly aimed to highlight that while “India” symbolizes the modern, progressive, and forward-looking aspects of the nation, “Bharat” represents its ancient, traditional, and timeless values. This duality aimed to recognize and honor the coexistence of multiple cultures, languages, customs, and traditions within the framework of one nation.

The thought behind using this phrase reflected the assembly’s commitment to acknowledging and celebrating India’s unity in diversity. It sought to emphasize the coalescence of different ideologies, beliefs, and practices into a unified identity, fostering a sense of pride in the country’s rich heritage while moving forward with a shared vision for progress and development.

  1. Contemporary Relevance:-

In contemporary times, “India that is Bharat” signifies the synthesis of India’s glorious past with its aspirations for the future. It encapsulates the idea of a pluralistic society that cherishes its cultural diversity, promotes unity amidst differences, and aspires for progress and development while being rooted in its age-old ethos.

The Constitution Assembly Debate on “India That Is Bharat’’.

The initial debate on Article 1 was set to start on November 17, 1948. However, upon Govind Bhalla Panch’s suggestion, the discussion on the name was deferred. On September 17, 1949, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar introduced the final version of the provision to the House, which included both the names Bharat and India.

During the constitutional assembly debates in 1949, the phrase “India, that is Bharat” was introduced in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution. It reflects the diverse cultural and historical identity of the nation. The choice of using both “India” and “Bharat” was to recognize the country’s rich heritage and linguistic diversity. The constitutional assembly aimed to create a

document that acknowledged and respected the pluralistic nature of the newly independent nation.

Our discussion concluded with the inclusion of bharat in Article 1(1)The Article currently reads ‘India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States’.

A controversy arose over the name of the country when G20 dinner invitations were sent out in the name of the President of Bharat. Some members of the Constituent Assembly had proposed replacing the term “state” in Article 1 with “Pradesh.” However, Pandit Nehru objected, arguing that “Pradesh” lacked a clear definition and was used in many different contexts, making it ambiguous. He believed that “state” was a much more precise and meaningful term, both domestically and internationally.


At midnight on August 14, 1947, India gained independence. Two weeks later, on August 29, 1947, the Constituent Assembly, which had been convening since December 1946, established a drafting committee chaired by P. R. Ambedkar.O From February 1948 to November 1949, the members of the Constituent Assembly examined the draft, moving and discussing in the process almost 2,500 amendments. On November 26, 1949, the Constitution of India was finally adopted and signed on January 24, 1950. It officially came into effect on January 26, 1950, and the Constituent Assembly became India’s provisional parliament until the first general election in 1952. 

The views of the eminent constitutional drafters:- Dr. B.R. Ambedkar:-

As one of the chief architects of the Indian Constitution, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar envisioned India as a nation where the concepts of “India” and “Bharat” complemented each other. He acknowledged the rich cultural diversity and historical heritage that “Bharat” represented and aimed to integrate

it into the modern democratic framework of “India.” Ambedkar believed that acknowledging India’s historical roots and diverse cultures would form the principle of a progressive and inclusive India.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad:-

Dr. Rajendra Prasad’s vision for “India that is Bharat” revolved around preserving India’s rich cultural legacy and historical traditions while ensuring the nation’s growth and progress in the modern world. He advocated for a balanced approach that harmonized the ancient wisdom of India with the principles of democracy and governance in the Constitution.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel:-

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, known for his vital role in integrating princely states into India, envisioned a nation where the diversity of cultures and traditions coexisted harmoniously under the unified identity of India. Patel envisioned “India that is Bharat” as a powerful representation of the country’s unity in diversity. He believed that acknowledging both “India” and “Bharat” reflected the coexistence of modernity and tradition, acknowledging the nation’s rich historical heritage alongside its aspirations for progress and development.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru:-

Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, perceived “India that is Bharat” as an amalgamation of India’s ancient cultural heritage and the aspirations of a modern, forward-looking nation. His vision was to preserve India’s ancient traditions while steering the country towards scientific and industrial progress. Nehru emphasized the need to combine the spiritual and cultural legacy of India with modern principles of democracy, scientific inquiry, and technological advancement.

K.M Munshi :-

Munshi’s perspective on “India that is Bharat” encapsulated the idea of continuity and change, urging the nation to progress while staying rooted in its rich cultural legacy. He emphasized that embracing this dual identity would contribute to building a strong, inclusive, and culturally vibrant India.

Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer :-

He envisioned “India that is Bharat” as a harmonious amalgamation of tradition and modernity, where the nation’s cultural ethos and values remain integral while embracing the dynamics of a rapidly changing world. For Iyer, this phrase signified the continuity of India’s timeless cultural heritage amidst the waves of modernity, leading to a harmonious and inclusive national identity.

Rabindranath Tagore :-

India’s eminent poet and philosopher says “Bharat is the heartbeat of India, pulsating with the rhythm of unity in diversity.” This quote symbolizes Bharat as the core element of India, representing the harmonious coexistence of diverse cultures, languages, and traditions. It highlights the unity found amidst the country’s rich diversity, portraying Bharat as the pulsating rhythm that unifies the nation.

Some other leaders views says :-

“India is Bharat, Bharat is India, the two are one and it represents the unity of our country.”

This quote reflects the interconnectedness and unity between India’s dual identities – “India” as the modern nation and “Bharat” as its traditional essence. It emphasizes that despite being referred to by different names, they symbolize the integral unity of the nation, promoting a sense of oneness among its diverse population.

Legislative Intention Behind “India That Is Bharat”:-

The legislative intention behind the topic “India that is Bharat” within the constitutional debates was aimed at addressing several critical aspects integral to the formation of India as a democratic republic.

  1. Unity in Diversity:-

The phrase enclosed the essence of India’s diverse cultural, linguistic, religious, and ethnic heritage. The framers of the Constitution recognized this diversity as the nation’s strength and sought to embed this principle within the legislative fabric. The intention was to build a society that respects and cherishes differences while fostering a sense of unity among its people.

  1. Synthesis of Historical and Modern Values:-

The legislative intention was to harmonize the rich historical legacy of India with the modern ideals of democracy, secularism, and justice. The Constituent Assembly deliberated on incorporating provisions that upheld India’s ancient wisdom, ethical values, and cultural heritage while embracing progressive principles essential for a modern democratic society.

  1. Ensuring Pluralism and Inclusivity:-

Another legislative intention was to create a Constitution that ensures equal rights, opportunities, and justice for all citizens, irrespective of their diverse backgrounds. The framers aimed to establish a society that respects pluralism, encourages inclusivity, and safeguards the interests of minority communities, ensuring their representation and protection.

  1. Strengthening National Identity:-

The constitutional debates aimed to reinforce a strong national identity rooted in India’s diverse cultural ethos. The intention was to cultivate a sense of pride and belonging among citizens, emphasizing the shared values and historical heritage that bind the nation together despite its multifarious diversity.

Conclusion ;-

The concept of “India that is Bharat” embodies the essence of unity in diversity, a blend of tradition and modernity, and the richness of a centuries-old culture. This idea signifies more than just geographical or political boundaries; it highlights the symbiotic relationship between India’s ancient heritage, represented by “Bharat,” and its dynamic, progressive identity as “India.” Throughout constitutional debates and beyond, this concept reflected the sentiments of national leaders, emphasizing the unity within India’s diversity. It celebrates the country’s pluralistic ethos, where various languages, cultures, and traditions merge into a vibrant tapestry. The notion of “India that is Bharat” is not just a linguistic juxtaposition but a philosophical articulation that resonates with the core values of the Indian subcontinent. It showcases the resilience of a civilization that honors its ancient roots while embracing modern, inclusive aspirations. These processes are influenced by broad socio-political factors and can be studied from multiple perspectives. In this paper, I have taken a cultural history approach. My aim has been to explore the inherited discourses on ‘Bhārata’ both before and at the time of its official recognition as ‘India’ in the 1950 Constitution.

Initially, I examined how the name Bhārata was used in the 19th century to refer to the geographical, political, and administrative entity known as ‘India’ by the colonial powers. The evidence shows that this referred to the Puranic memory of a naturally bounded (by sea and mountains) and socially organized territory where people could fulfill socio-religious duties to maintain their cultural identity. This Bhārata—a cultural space unified by the social order of dharma—was a pre-national construct rather than a national project. 

At the time of independence, India and Bhārata were both considered as names for the new nation, alongside ‘Hindustan’. However, the opening article of the Constitution discarded Hindustan and registered the nation with a dual identity: ‘India, that is Bharat’. One name served as the equivalent of the other, as seen on national passports, where the English ‘Republic of India’ corresponds to the Hindi ‘Bhārata gaṇarājya’, and on postage stamps where both ‘Bhārata’ and ‘India’ are used.

While my study did not cover the full social and political complexities of the Constitutional equation of Bharat and India, I noted two contemporary phenomena: the continued widespread use of the name Hindustan despite its multiple meanings, and the ongoing debate over the equivalence of Bharat and India. It is likely that these names will continue to evolve, reflecting new circumstances and meanings in India’s national identity, an ongoing and open-ended process.

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