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The Controversy Over Some Hindu Nationalists' Push to Rename India

Some are saying the nation should be called Bharat

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has referred to India as “Bharat” in invites for a dinner party at the upcoming G-20 Summit in New Delhi, a move that has sparked controversy. The word is the name for India in many Indian languages, including Hindi, and critics say its use is the latest sign of a nationalist push amid a banner year for the country.

India is now the world’s most populous nation and is the fastest growing major economy. Beyond hosting the annual G-20 Summit this year, which runs from Sept. 9 to 10, the country also recently completed a historic moon landing.

The invites referred to the President of India, Droupadi Murmu, as “President of Bharat.” News of the invites comes two days after Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of the Hindu nationalist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, an ideological mentor of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, said in a speech that the country should use the word Bharat instead of India.

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