Thanks Dr Ambedkar was there ! He gave us ‘India, that is Bharat’

16Nov13

Talking earlier this week to a 100 very bright and very young students at the nascent Ashoka University, I asked if they thought of their country as India, Bharat or Hindustan. The answer, from a young woman, came fast: “India”. She spoke, I think, for everyone of them drawn from different parts

of India and varying academic hinterlands. I told them their identification with India was on track with the opening words of the Preamble to our Constitution: “We the people of India…” and the first Article of our Constitution — Article 1 (1) : “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.

Fortunately for all of us, at this point, Ambedkar rose. “Is all this necessary, sir?” he asked the Chair. “There is a lot of work to be done.”

Kamath’s amendment putting ‘Bharat’ before ‘India’ was put to vote by President Prasad. The Assembly divided by a show of hands. Kamath’s amendment was lost, rather narrowly: 38 supporting Kamath, 51 supporting Ambedkar’s formulation. A difference of 13 hands gave us ‘India that is Bharat’, rather than ‘Bharat, that is India’.

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