On the first day that the new yoga teacher at the Indian Cultural Center in Cairo came and identified himself by his name "Bharat", the name met with great banter among the yoga trainees at the Cultural Center, and many called him "spices" wrongly, which means spices. He corrects them, saying, "My name is spices, not spices."

Days passed, and the teacher used to call him Bharat so that he no longer corrected this mistake, and the word Bharat - including baa - was the first word in Arabic learned by yoga teacher Mr. Bharat Singh.

I was reminded of this funny story about 4 years ago, a few days ago when the name of India was replaced by a reference to the President of India, as "President of Bharat", not "President of India" at dinner invitations hosted by President Drupadi Mormu.

A banner reading "Bharat" was also placed in front of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the opening of the summit, reflecting the efforts of his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to get rid of names it considers colonial-era and erase names associated with Mughals as well as symbols of British rule.

Claimants of the name change explain that the name India was introduced by British colonists who ruled India for almost 200 years until the country gained independence in 1947

I was reminded of walking down the famous Aurangzeb Road, which connects a number of important sites in New Delhi after being renamed in 2015 after the sixth ruler of the Mughal Empire (one of the most hated leaders in India's history), to Dr. ABG Abdul Kalam.

I learned that the reason for the change was after protests from Modi's party leaders who called Aurangzeb a cruel ruler, who brutally kills enemies and destroys Hindu cultural institutions, and that this is not the only reason, for Modi's party it is considered an outsider and part of the Mughal history that they want to erase. Although they chose another Muslim leader, the former president of India, they consider him the exact opposite and a person who carries love, sincerity and loyalty to the homeland.

Her name was "Bharat"

"Bharat" is not a new name for India "Bharat" is the country's second name as stated in Article I of the Indian Constitution, which states that "India, any Bharat shall be a federation of states." The word bharat is a common synonym for India, as the leader of the opposition National Congress Party, Mahatma Gandhi, launched a march to unite India called "Bharat Judu Yatra" (March of Indian Unification) instead of "India Judo Yatra".

This was not the first demand to change the name of the state to Bharat, but was preceded by other claims in the past that were rejected by the Supreme Court, with the court saying: "India is already called Bharat in the Constitution."

But those demanding the name change argue that the name India was introduced by British colonizers who ruled India for almost 200 years until the country gained independence in 1947, a name that constitutes a "symbol of slavery". The name Bharat reflects the true identity and culture of the country, as well as being more inclusive, representing the diversity and unity of citizens and regions of the country.

How did India get its name "bharat"?

When we talk about India, the answer will take us far, where tales of legendary kings, ancient texts, sacred rivers, and supernatural gods.

Since ancient times, India has been called "bharat", a Sanskrit word derived from the word "bharatam" and means the land of the south, and this name dates back to the era of Emperor Bharta, the ancestor of all Indians and known to have been a strong and brave ruler, who made great expansions in his kingdom, and ruled peacefully and harmoniously and was called the first conqueror of the Indian subcontinent, and for his glory India was named after him.

The name Bharata is also said to derive from ancient Indian texts, such as the Mahabharata (the famous Indian epic) and the 18-text sacred Hindu texts written in Sanskrit, one of which bears the name Vishnu Purana and presents themes such as the nature of the land, dynastic history, etc., states: "This country has been known as Bharatvarsha since the father entrusted the kingdom to the son Bharata."

One country, multiple names

India and Bharat were not the only two names that have historically been associated with the Indian subcontinent, it was also called "Hindustan", a Persian word meaning "land of Hindus" and was a common name in the Mughal era, and it was called ancient "Arivarta" and means the land of the Aryans, where India was previously home to the Aryans, and "Jambodip" in Sanskrit and it is said that the basis of its name is the Jamon tree or jumbo (a tropical fruit resembling plums) where jamon trees have been found in abundance in this region.

The change in the name of the country is not limited to India, as many countries have changed their names for various reasons, for example, Ceylon, which changed its name in 1972 to Sri Lanka, Burma to Myanmar in 1989, and Zaire, which changed its name in 1997, to the Democratic Republic of the Congo after a series of political turmoil and conflicts, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was previously called the Emirate of Transjordan.

It has yet to be decided whether India's name change will be officially approved, but the Indian government is likely to put forward a proposal to rename the country during a special session of parliament from September 18 to 22, leading to rumours about the renaming bill.

Whether India or Bharat, the two names are official in the constitution.