Committee Proposes Replacing ‘India’ with ‘Bharat’ in School Textbooks: Embracing Heritage & Fostering Patriotism
In a potentially significant move, a committee constituted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in India has proposed replacing the term ‘India’ with ‘Bharat’ in school textbooks. While the NCERT has not made an official statement on the matter, schools across the country are already showing support for this change.
This proposal has ignited a nationwide discussion and debate. Proponents of the change argue that using ‘Bharat’ instead of ‘India’ will offer students a more comprehensive understanding of the nation’s history, culture, and linguistic diversity. They believe that the term ‘Bharat’ will foster a deeper connection between students and their heritage.
According to school administrators, this alteration goes beyond mere semantics. They argue that it represents a significant shift in how Indian students perceive their country. Alka Kapur, the Principal of Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, stated, Education is not just about imparting knowledge; it’s also about instilling values and a deep love for one’s country. This textbook alteration will serve as a stepping stone towards nurturing patriotism and preserving our unique heritage.
While some argue that ‘India’ is more internationally recognized and historically significant, proponents of ‘Bharat’ believe that a broader perspective is essential. By using ‘Bharat’ in textbooks, schools aim to instill pride in India’s rich cultural history, languages, and traditions.
Educationists are already contemplating how the execution of this change would look. Rohan Parikh, the Chairperson of The Green Acres Academy, suggested incorporating both ‘India’ and ‘Bharat’ when referring to the country in textbooks. Parikh drew comparisons to other nations like Japan, Korea, and Russia, which use different names externally and internally. This approach aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of India’s nomenclature. However, Parikh emphasized the importance of educational context and teacher training to help students understand the historical, cultural, and constitutional aspects of this change.
While the formal recognition of this proposal is still awaited, it is clear that implementing such a shift will require changes at various levels. Poonam Kochitty, the Principal of Seth Anandram Jaipuria School, Lucknow, stated, Starting with The Constitution of India and the Preamble, which is there at the start of every NCERT textbook. I’m reminded of Shakespeare’s famous words: What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet. Bharat will be just as dear a motherland as India is.
As the nation awaits further developments, it is evident that the proposal to replace ‘India’ with ‘Bharat’ in school textbooks has sparked a crucial discussion about identity, heritage, and patriotism. The outcome will shape how future generations of Indian students perceive their country and its rich cultural tapestry.