• Existential Hope
    789
    A fierce debate has erupted in India over the nation's name. Coincidentally or intentionally, ever since various opposition parties coalesced to form an alliance called the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), some have begun calling for dropping the word "India" from the nation altogether. Proponents argue that this is a step in the right direction that will help eliminate a colonial mindset. On the other hand, critics say that this is a divisive and diversionary action that will needlessly detach the country from a considerable part of its own history.

    Personally, I believe that it can be beneficial to distinguish between liberation and an unreasonable aversion that has the capacity to evolve into an irrational hatred of the "them". From an ocean to a tectonic plate, the word "India" has a wide area of influence. If there can be a willingness to use "foreign" clothes and languages, then single-mindedly targetting one of the nation's names ill behoves an ancient civilisation like India. More insidiously, it can be another move towards the rejection of the pluralistic idea of India that was championed by Mahatma Gandhi and Pt. Nehru. The latter's magnum opus is called "The Discovery of India".

    I shall be highly grateful for the views of the honourable members of The Philosophy Forum on this matter.
  • universeness
    6.3k
    It's interesting. I am having a so far, brief discussion with @Vera Mont on the (now lounge) thread, 'Culture is Critical,' regarding the fact that I would like the 'Great' of Great Britain dropped and The United Kingdom has never meant anything to me. I think that if Britain is to reject it's old 'Empire' label, then reformatting it's global identity label would be a good step. Is Bharat, just a literal translation of India into Sanskrit? Does the Modi mob (pardon that phrase, but I really don't like Modi,) want to make this name change because of the connections between Sanskrit and the fact that the original Hindu scriptures where written in Sanskrit?
    If the reason for the name change is mainly in deference to the language of Hindu scripture then I think that would be a regressive step. I thought India was named after the Indus valley civilisation (and the river running through it) and I also thought that the name Indus was Latin and literally translated to Indian or/and indigenous. Hindi is the main language of India so what is India in Hindi? An internet search gave me भारत, but does that just translate to Bharat in English?

    Addition: From my brief internet based readings about it, the early Indus civilisation was the most non-militaristic, peace loving community, ever recorded, of that size/population.
  • Existential Hope
    789
    It is true that the word "India" has an external origin. However, the issue is that this mentality of throwing away anything that has a source outside the land has no real end. For example, the word "Hindu" was also coined by those who were not native to the land. India may not have a direct translation to Hindi, but our founders already included Bharat in the constitution. For decades, we have followed the policy of using India in English and Bharat in indigenous languages. India was the word used by almost all of our freedom fighters. Soldiers have died for this name and numerous talented sportspeople have been inspired by the chants of this name. ISRO, which brought India to the Moon, is known as the Indian Space Research Organisation. Is there no point at which the so-called "other" becomes one of our own?

    Furthermore, I think that there is a darker element to this. In recent years, some figures belonging to the far side of the right wing (who also favour using only Bharat, ironically enough in English, and dropping India) have begun to advocate the view that ideas such as secularism are colonial concepts that cannot be applied to Indic religions. These people have no love lost for Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru (who were also affected by the allegedly colonial mentality according to these individuals). They tend to downplay caste-based discrimination and also question the widely-accepted Aryan migration theory (preferring to argue that they were natives). Therefore, a shift towards removing India could become a triumph for some pernicious sections of the society.
  • universeness
    6.3k
    Why not have a referendum on the issue? Do those who would have the right to vote in such, know enough about it? Would the current Indian authorities, allow the people to be fully informed of both sides of the debate, and allow enough time for people to discuss the issues involved, and make an informed choice? Referenda can be a fantastic democratic tool, but only if the voters involved cannot be easily fooled or manipulated. If that is not the case, then referenda can do more damage than good.
  • BC
    13k
    Since "Great" Britain and the "United Kingdom" mean nothing to you, then we should obviously strike those two words from the map. It's like the linguistic mob that wants to edit out references to a male God, Lord, King, He, His, and so on.

    So, I don't have a stake -- zero investment -- in what India or Bharat calls itself. But we will all have difficulty finding names for ourselves that are entirely founded on whichever native land we are from. "America" derives from the name of an Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci, who otherwise had very little to do with the matter.

    "Asia" is a name derived from Greek, or maybe Assyrian, meaning "east of".

    My point is that language and maps and usage are this huge accumulation of past events and persons that were mostly not rationally organized. They just happened.

    Yes, we could spend the rest of our civilization's life straightening all this out. If we do, our civilization's life will be shorter because there are all these other -- far more urgent -- things that we should have attended to and didn't.
  • universeness
    6.3k
    Since "Great" Britain and the "United Kingdom" mean nothing to you, then we should obviously strike those two words from the mapBC
    I appreciate your willingness (or your sarcasm) in offering me such a dictatorial status, but I will refuse it, as I am a democratic socialist, who requires majority consent from all stakeholders or their democratically elected representatives, before establishing political policy or taking political action such as re-naming this place Britain or (my personal preference) The republic of Britain. But as a socialist yourself, I am sure you already know how it is supposed to work.

    It's like the linguistic mob that wants to edit out references to a male God, Lord, King, He, His, and so on.BC
    Yeah, but a god with a gender is just 'silly,' imo.

    So, I don't have a stake -- zero investment -- in what India or Bharat calls itself.BC
    I think you do, Is your politics restricted by your nationality or does it have a global branch to it?
    Would it matter to you if there was a campaign in India to change its name to Hindustan?

    But we will all have difficulty finding names for ourselves that are entirely founded on whichever native land we are from. "America" derives from the name of an Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci, who otherwise had very little to do with the matter.BC
    Would it matter to you if Trump and co wanted to change the name of America to Great America, (or perhaps even Christland :scream: ) in true MAGA style? How about the United Kingdom of America, with Trump officially anointed as King by the Evanhellicals? There are good historical reasons why I object to 'Great Britain,' with its military might of Empire connotations, rather than the original intention of 'larger land mass,' compared to that which was occupied by the original folks called Britons or to distinguish them from French Bretons (Now Brittany). We also did not become a united kingdom through the consent of the people, we have never been a united kingdom and we never will be.

    Yeah, I am just kinda 'prodding' at you BC, no offence intended. I am just trying to find out if my prodding causes any interesting reactions, feel free to prod back in kind. Remember, I thought your chosen name/ID for TPF, was not reflective of the tone of your postings or are you really a truly bitter crank? You can't be, because you did decide to move to the more enigmatic BC.

    My point is that language and maps and usage are this huge accumulation of past events and persons that were mostly not rationally organized. They just happened.BC
    As time moves on and we learn more, we often change how we refer to people and places. We used to refer to people and nations in stereotypical ways that most of us choose not to use anymore. I am sure you would not accept, all us Scots, being called mean and tight with money for example.

    India has already changed many of its City names from the names imposed by imperialist Britain.
    In Russia, Stalingrad and Leningrad are gone. Many countries changed their name after becoming independent by casting off their imperialist conquerors. Is India trying to do something similar here? or is this just Modi's attempt to get a little closer to his real wish, which I think it to re-name the place Hindustan.

    Do you think my suspicion of Mr Modi's real agenda here is far fetched @Existential Hope?
  • javi2541997
    4.7k
    Many countries changed their name after becoming independent by casing off their imperialist conquerors.universeness

    You are right. But, paradoxically, those new names come from the vocabulary and lexicon of the conquerors. Argentina, Colombia, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Cuba, etc. All of them are Spanish names, they didn't use indigenous languages. For example: Puerto Rico could have been named "tahíno", that is the real name of the indigenous people.
    On the other hand, I think it is important to highlight that the official language of all of them is still Spanish. So... I wonder, how really much did they get independent from us?
  • T Clark
    13k
    I shall be highly grateful for the views of the honourable members of The Philosophy Forum on this matter.Existential Hope

    I, like @BC, have no personal or political stake in this matter.

    There are a few Indian people in my town, most young - in their 30s. When I asked them their thoughts about the renaming of Mumbai, they laughed and told me the people they know still call it "Bombay." Is there a generational or ethnic split between those who want to change the name and those who don't. Do some regions or ethnic groups feel more at home in India than others?
  • Existential Hope
    789
    As time moves on and we learn more, we often change how we refer to people and places. We used to refer to people and nations in stereotypical ways that most of us choose not to use anymore. I am sure you would not accept, all us Scots, being called mean and tight with money for example.

    India has already changed many of its City names from the names imposed by imperialist Britain.
    In Russia, Stalingrad and Leningrad are gone. Many countries changed their name after becoming independent by casing off their imperialist conquerors. Is India trying to do something similar here? or is this just Modi's attempt to get a little closer to his real wish, which I think it to re-name the place Hindustan.

    Do you think my suspicion of Mr Modi's real agenda here is far fetched Existential Hope?
    universeness

    You may find these articles on the topic to be of some use:

    https://thewire.in/history/bharat-india-hindustan-history

    https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/in-debate-between-india-bharat-hindustan-missing-8926730/

    Those who are asking to drop India may not be comfortable with Hindustan as it has Persian links and is widely used by Muslims. Previous governments also changed colonial names, but those names were not as old as India and neither did they occupy as important of a place in Indian history as India does. Again, the key thing to remember is that people are not demanding that the name should be changed; they are asking for one of the names to be removed. When you see this together with the attempts to distance secularism from the nation (due to its "foreign" roots), the picture that emerges is a murky one. Then, there is also this: https://www.livemint.com/opinion/online-views/theres-a-case-for-we-the-people-to-embrace-a-new-constitution-11692021963182.html
  • Existential Hope
    789
    So, I don't have a stake -- zero investment -- in what India or Bharat calls itself. But we will all have difficulty finding names for ourselves that are entirely founded on whichever native land we are from. "America" derives from the name of an Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci, who otherwise had very little to do with the matter.

    "Asia" is a name derived from Greek, or maybe Assyrian, meaning "east of".

    My point is that language and maps and usage are this huge accumulation of past events and persons that were mostly not rationally organized. They just happened.

    Yes, we could spend the rest of our civilization's life straightening all this out. If we do, our civilization's life will be shorter because there are all these other -- far more urgent -- things that we should have attended to and didn't.
    BC

    True. There is practically no end to this project. And even if there could be, I am unsure if it is desirable considering the continually evolving nature of "us" and "them".
  • Existential Hope
    789
    I, like BC, have no personal or political stake in this matter.

    There are a few Indian people in my town, most young - in their 30s. When I asked them their thoughts about the renaming of Mumbai, they laughed and told me the people they know still call it "Bombay." Is there a generational or ethnic split between those who want to change the name and those who don't. Do some regions or ethnic groups feel more at home in India than others?
    T Clark

    The split, if it exists, is primarily between those who look at a large chunk of their past with suspicion and those who probably have no real issue with it or at least feel that the good outweighs the bad. The unfortunate part is that there was no real movement from the masses for a change. Much of this is being led by some individuals. Misinformation has also become a powerful problem in India. The following article provides a good analysis of the issue:

    https://www.newslaundry.com/2023/09/08/india-vs-bharat-a-synonym-binary-choice-or-ideological-fixation

    I understand that this might not appear to be relevant to many people, but as the world's largest nation, the path India takes will have an impact on a noteworthy percentage of humanity. Hopefully, it will not lead to unnecessary fragmentation.
  • ssu
    7.8k
    ever since various opposition parties coalesced to form an alliance called the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), some have begun calling for dropping the word "India" from the nation altogether.Existential Hope
    There you have it. All politics.

    Personally, I believe that it can be beneficial to distinguish between liberation and an unreasonable aversionExistential Hope
    Stop!

    Did you notice that you already gave the reason, the cause and the effect earlier above? There it is in a nutshell: if the opposition wouldn't have came up with this smug way to portray them as INDIA, would this discussion take place. It's all and everything about this. It's just to make less petty and give it more meaning to the discussion. And yes, I do know that India's name has been also Bharat far earlier than the opposition came up with this idea.

    No.

    I'm not aware of similar discussion taking place in Niger. Or Nigeria. Or Mauritania.

    It's usually the grandiose and narcissist politicians that want to leave their remark and change the countries name to a more "authentic" name from a "derogatory Western" name. Like the Shah that changed his country's name from "Persia" to "Iran". Or like mr Erdogan with his country Türkiye. Yes, as a second grader in Seattle I laughed with my classmate when we found that one country is called "Turkey" on the globe. Mr Erdogan likely has been upset about the name for a long time.
  • Existential Hope
    789
    Even if the opposition chose the name (and the hyper-nationalism of the ruling government that tends to portray opponents as anti-nationals may have played a role in this decision), one would have expected a mature response from people who claim to cherish the nation's rich heritage. Instead, we had to weal with words like these:

    https://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india/country-should-be-named-bharat-britishers-used-word-india-as-abuse-says-bjp-mp-harnath-singh-yadav-2023-09-05-890839

    https://indianexpress.com/article/india/rajnath-singh-says-india-a-dangerous-word-slams-opposition-bloc-8924753/

    The worst part is that Bharat, as one of our official names, already exists. What is being proposed is an end of a word that has been intertwined with our identity for a long time.

    There it is in a nutshell: if the opposition wouldn't have came up with this smug way to portray them as INDIA, would this discussion take place. It's all and everything about this. It's just to make less petty and give it more meaning to the discussion.ssu

    Actually, the debate had already begun at one level. This step of the opposition only sped things up.
  • T Clark
    13k
    I understand that this might not appear to be relevant to many people, but as the world's largest nation, the path India takes will have an impact on a noteworthy percentage of humanity. Hopefully, it will not lead to unnecessary fragmentation.Existential Hope

    Yes, the US is incredibly parochial and doesn't take much interest in what's up in other countries.
  • Existential Hope
    789
    incredibly parochialT Clark

    The threat is beginning to mushroom. Corrective measures would have to be taken before irreparable harm is done.
  • T Clark
    13k
    The threat is beginning to mushroom. Corrective measures would have to be taken before irreparable harm is done.Existential Hope

    This seems like it describe the whole world right now. I feel like we're in Europe in 1914 just waiting for the pistol shot.
  • Existential Hope
    789
    Why not have a referendum on the issue? Do those who would have the right to vote in such, know enough about it? Would the current Indian authorities, allow the people to be fully informed of both sides of the debate, and allow enough time for people to discuss the issues involved, and make an informed choice? Referenda can be a fantastic democratic tool, but only if the voters involved cannot be easily fooled or manipulated. If that is not the case, then referenda can do more damage than good.universeness

    I would recommend that you watch this documentary:

    https://youtu.be/7DmhF_W-nrI?si=C-_ZmU-bcSurx-Rq

    The state of the media, and consequently of information, is not particularly good.
  • Existential Hope
    789
    This seems like it describe the whole world right now. I feel like we're in Europe in 1914 just waiting for the pistol shot.T Clark

    :up:

    If you have the time, I would suggest that you have a look at this:

    https://youtu.be/7DmhF_W-nrI?si=C-_ZmU-bcSurx-Rq

    It is mainly about the state of our media, but what it reflects could hint at what is happening at the fundamental level of the society's consciousness.
  • ssu
    7.8k
    Even if the opposition chose the name (and the hyper-nationalism of the ruling government that tends to portray opponents as anti-nationals may have played a role in this decision), one would have expected a mature response from people who claim to cherish the nation's rich heritage. Instead, we had to weal with words like these:Existential Hope
    India is part of the global community and thus totally open to the influences of polarization and populism just like Finland, UK or the USA are.

    Populism sells and political parties see polarization as a way to get votes. Maturity doesn't sell. Lame! It's something not just happening there.
  • Existential Hope
    789
    It can, but it does require concerted efforts. You're quite right about the unavoidable nature of those afflictions. May we see a better tomorrow.
  • BC
    13k
    The thing that I dislike about name-change campaigns is that they are

    a) campaigns conducted for some ulterior motive
    b) usually in the interest of a small but strongly motivated group
    c) often leveraged with shame and guilt whether deserved or not

    Minneapolis has many lakes; one of the most popular is the 400 acre Lake Calhoun. 5 or 6 years ago, a group of social justice warriors decided that this name was no longer tolerable, and petitioned it to be labeled with its actual or alleged Dakota Indian (there's that "India" problem again) name -- Bde Maka Ska.

    John C. Calhoun played an early role in establishing Fort Snelling in the early 1800s. Fort Snelling was intended to dissuade the British from any further incursions into the Northwest and to stamp out British influence in the booming fur trade. A map maker assigned the name, "Lake Calhoun" around 1839. Later in his career, Calhoun served on the side of the confederacy and owned slaves.

    The name change was supposed to reduce the affront to black people of having a slave holder attached to a popular lake. Question: How many people, white or black, connected "Lake Calhoun" with the confederacy and slavery? One would have to be historically well informed to know that, so probably not very many,

    The name change was supposed to honor the Dakota people -- thus the new name is the old Dakota name for the lake, Nothing wrong with the Dakota name. Everything here had a Dakota name before Europeans arrived and gave places new names. It's a nice enough gesture, but it's a damned slight comfort for a people who barely survive (because of numerous economic policies over the years).

    "We" were to feel guilt about the name, Calhoun. Similarly, they say we ought to feel some guilt if our house had a racial covenant in the deed, despite those covenants having been made illegal and unenforceable in 1948. There were moves to change the names of streets in order to erase the memory of real estate agencies who developed the street and gave it their name along with racial covenants.

    One can have the defunct covenant expunged if one wishes -- another very flimsy sop to people who have been screwed over rather thoroughly.

    All of these moves are ways for some activists to perform political theater which, in the end, will have no effect.

    Some people in the Pacific coast state of Oregon want to break off the eastern 2/3 of the state and join it to neighboring Idaho. This is just one more example of how a highly vocal minority can generate a big issue out of narrow personal interests.
  • Existential Hope
    789
    This is just one more example of how a highly vocal minority can generate a big issue out of narrow personal interests.BC

    Quite true. This is precisely what is happening in many other places. If your campaign to change/remove a name is a part of a long-term plan to alter the nature of the nation itself, then questions are inevitable.
  • ssu
    7.8k
    The thing that I dislike about name-change campaigns is that they are

    a) campaigns conducted for some ulterior motive
    b) usually in the interest of a small but strongly motivated group
    c) often leveraged with shame and guilt whether deserved or not
    BC
    And what does it tell when the name of your capital has been changed six times?

    The city that now is Kazakhstan's capital has been named Akmolinsk, Tselinograd, Akmola, Nur-Sultan and now is called Astana. It became the capital only in 1997 and since then has gone through the last three names. A lot of honoring has been done in that country, I guess.

    Especially when the city / country isn't conquered, but continues as earlier, changing names gives the impression that the name hasn't been important and people don't have much attachment to it. (Just try to get the people of Rome to change the name of their city) It then can be changed either because political correctness or giving someone (something) this grandiose honour of having a city or a place called after them.

    It's a similar story like when have the urge to take away statues.

    You're quite right about the unavoidable nature of those afflictions. May we see a better tomorrow.Existential Hope
    Unfortunately I feel there's still a long road on this same path before that better tomorrow.
  • Existential Hope
    789
    Unfortunately I feel there's still a long road on this same path before that better tomorrow.ssu

    A possibility nobody can rationally deny. Nonetheless, I do feel that it will not be long enough to tire out the truth completely.
  • ssu
    7.8k
    A possibility nobody can rationally deny. Nonetheless, I do feel that it will not be long enough to tire out the truth completely.Existential Hope
    Well, one can always be an optimist and look at what is good and what really bad things have not happened. And the easiest way is to put our present problems into a historical context where our problems will look small and not so dangerous.

    When it comes to India (Bhurat), you haven't had a nuclear war with Pakistan and seems that the two countries have learnt to play their version of a nuclear standoff. And then your country has managed to delicately stay in your policy of being nonaligned and has continued to be in terms with both the West and Russia and China (even if with the last one you do have a little trouble in the Himalayas).

    We in the West aren't hearing about the Indian economy collapsing or it soon collapsing, anything about the Naxalite-Maoist insurgency or mass killings. The last large famine India endured was in 1943 and the last small famine happened in 1966-1967 in Bihar. If bickering politicians is the only thing, then the future looks very bright. Poverty has decreased, population growth isn't a problem. Even if there is poverty and corruption, those aren't something new in India. No news is good news.
  • Existential Hope
    789
    No news is good news.ssu

    :up: That says something about the news as well.
  • universeness
    6.3k

    I don't think the point you make is a strong one or an important one.
    Argentina was a reference to it's silver.
    The name Cuba may come from the Taíno language, meaning 'where fertile land is abundant' or 'great place'. However, its exact derivation is unknown. Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba in 1492 and named it "Juana" after a Spanish prince, but the name Cuba was later adopted by the Spanish.

    Countries like Rhodesia (named after the English horror, Cecil Rhodes) was renamed Zimbabwe, which is not a word from the conqueror's language.

    I will leave it to the people of Argentina, Colombia, El Salvador, Puerto Rico and Cuba to describe their feelings about the Spanish conquistadors.
  • universeness
    6.3k

    I had a look at the links you recommended. Some wanted me to accept cookies so I just left them.
    But I read about the Persian influence on the name Hindustan. You might find this interesting, I certainly did:


    The indigenous people of India, probably did come from proto Indo Europeans, and the Hindi language probably does have commonalities with some ancient Indo European language which also branched into Greek, Celtic/Gallic, Russian etc.
    Do you think a name change from India will further damage the chances of a reunion with Pakistan?
    What do you think Modi's agenda is here?
  • javi2541997
    4.7k
    Why are you always that rude? I was not debating with you but commenting on the topic.
  • Existential Hope
    789
    If there is a divisive ideology behind any action, then it is bound to negatively affect the prospects of unity.

    Many people belonging to the right-wing deny the well-established theory of the Aryan migration and instead argue that the Aryans originated in India. This would allow them to claim that Hinduism was developed by an indigenous population (you can see why this would be important for those who have a major issue with some "foreigners").

    Any individual or group who desires the society to be embroiled in such debates usually has one agenda: gaining power by vilifying a particular section of the society and acting as if one is saving the nation/community from a purportedly terrible fate.

    Thank you for sharing that informative video. If you find some free time, I would once again suggest that you watch that documentary.
  • universeness
    6.3k

    I was not being rude, just factual. If you find my responses to you, not to your taste or too harsh for your sensitivities, then don't include my ID in any of your postings. I have no issue with you, it is you who takes umbridge with me from time to time. I suggest you accept who I am, or stop responding to any of my posts.
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