The Indian government plans to change the name of its country to Bharat. Indian media, Economic Times quoting Times Now, said that Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi is likely to bring a resolution to change India’s official name to Bharat during a special session of parliament.
There are a number of reasons that are thought to have triggered the Indian government’s intention to change the name of the country. This country with a population of more than 1.4 billion people is actually officially known by two names, namely India and Bharat. Indian names are just more commonly used at home and abroad.
Al Jazeera news agency offered another explanation. The Indian government is said to want to change the name to remove the nuances of colonialism. This has actually been done in several street names and areas in India.
Examined linguistically, the name Bharat is an ancient Sanskrit word, which many historians believe comes from early Hindu texts. The word Bharat basically also means India in Hindi.
The name ‘Bharat’ itself is actually not something new because it is already included in the constitution. So, in the Indian constitution there are two references to the name of the country, namely India which is used in English and Bharat which is used in Hindi.
Regardless of the origins of the name Bharat, actually changing the name of a country is nothing new. CNBC Indonesia noted that dozens of other countries have changed their names. The following are 14 countries that have changed their names apart from India.
1. Turkiye (formerly Turkey)
The United Nations approved changing the name of Turkey or Turki to Turkiye on Wednesday, June 1 2002. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkiye, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said that the name change was carried out to increase the country’s branding or brand value.
It is suspected that there is a funny reason why Türkiye changed its name to Turkiye. The word Turkey in English refers to a turkey. In fact, the term Turkey is also sometimes used as a silly and negative term regarding the word in English.
The name change is also seen as an attempt to change the country’s image and no longer be associated with the most famous turkey in the United States (US), which is the traditional Thanksgiving Day menu at the end of November.
2. Iran (formerly Persia)
According to history, the proposal to change the Persian name to Iran was influenced by the Iranian Ambassador to Germany who was influenced by the Nazis.
Additionally, in Greek writings, Iran is referred to as Persia. Even though in some circles there are many objections, this step to change the name is considered appropriate because it can change public perception. Until now, it can be loosely referred to as Iran.
Persia officially changed to Iran on March 21, 1935, at which time the Shah Reza Pahlavi dynasty still ruled Persia.
The Shah also changed it to Iran. With the transformation of the name Persia into Iran, Shah Reza Pahlavi wanted all ethnicities or descendants in Persia to be united. This is as published by Mapstor.com.
The name Persian was thought to divide the people at that time. The ethnic Kurds and Turds are still not completely united and have a sense of togetherness. For this reason, it is hoped that the name Iran can unite them.
Apart from that, the name Persia was considered to have unfavorable connotations, it could be interpreted as something ‘weak’ and could hinder the development of the dynasty amidst the threat of imperialism from Europe.
Meanwhile, the name ‘Iran’ which means ‘land of the Aryans’ is considered a representation of strength and prosperity. Also as a symbol of revival and awakening of the spirit of nationalism for all people.
3. Myanmar (formerly Burma)
Myanmar is a country that is known in English by two names, namely Myanmar and Burma.
However, the military Junta government changed the name of ‘Burma’ to “Myanmar” in 1989 after hundreds of people were killed in an attempt to suppress a popular uprising. The name change was recognized by the UN and several countries such as France and Japan.
4. Cambodia (formerly Kampuchea)
This Land of Peace was previously known as Kampuchea. In fact, the country of Cambodia has changed its name several times.
In 1953-1970, this country was called the Kingdom of Cambodia. Then, in 1970-1975 it was renamed the Khmer Republic.
When the 1975-1979 Communist government took place, Cambodia was called Democratic Kampuchea. In 1989-1993, under UN transitional authority, it became the country of Cambodia. One year later, after the restoration of the monarchy in 1994, Cambodia was transformed into the kingdom of Cambodia.
5. Thailand (formerly Siam)
For several centuries, the Thai region was ruled by a king known as Siam. After becoming a constitutional monarchy in 1939, the new name was pronounced as Prathet Thai which means country of the free.
In 1939, on the idea of the then prime minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram, the reigning king finally changed the name of his country after becoming a constitutional monarchy.
6. Jordan (formerly Transjordan)
This country in the Middle East has actually been recognized since September 1922. This is because it received a mandate from British troops and in 1946 Transjordan was granted independence by Britain.
Then in 1946, the authorities decided to change the name of this country to the Hashimiyah Kingdom of Transjordan.
Then in 1949, the name changed to the Hashimiyah Kingdom of Jordan or better known as Jordan. This is because the country has been ruled since the Hashimiyah Kingdom by the Hashimiyah Dynasty.
Hashimiyah itself refers to the royal family and descendants, while Jordan is another name that refers to a geographical area called the Jordan River.
7. Netherlands (Formerly Holland)
It could be said that the name Netherlands or Netherlands itself was only replaced recently, namely in January 2020. Officially, Holland is united with the Netherlands. In fact, in Indonesia itself, the name Dutch has been known for a long time.
Even though in English it has different words, in Indonesian it has the same meaning, namely Dutch. Not only did they officially change their name, the Dutch also changed the name of their football team.
8. Ethiopia (formerly Abyssinia)
The name Abyssinia was changed to Ethiopia during World War II by Hailesulasie, King X of Ethiopia. The term Abyssinia originates from the founding of the Solomon dynasty in 1270 which eventually became the identity of the name of the country before it changed to Ethiopia
The reason Abyssinia changed its name to Ethiopia was because of an agreement between Italy and Abyssinia which was made after the failed Italian invasion. The name given in the treaty was Ethiopia.
9. Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon)
From 1815 to 1948 the name of the famous country of Ceylon was under British rule. Ceylon comes from the word Ceilao, a state under Portuguese rule in modern Sri Lanka.
Finally, the name Sri Lanka was coined at the beginning of the 20th century and officially adopted the name Republic of Sri Lanka in 1972 and changed its name to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in 1978.
10. Ireland (formerly Irish Free State)
One of the reasons a country changes its name is to get rid of ‘bitter’ memories related to the country.
One country that does this is Ireland. In 1937, Ireland changed its name to remove all ties with the country famous for its Big Ben, namely England, after fighting fiercely for 2 years.
11. Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)
At the beginning of independence in 1960, this country agreed to give the name the Republic of the Congo. Then, from 1965 to 1971 the Republic of Congo changed its name to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in 1971 the then President, Mobutu Sese Seko, again changed its name to the Republic of Zaire.
The Sovereign National Congress in 1922 planned to change the name back to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1992. However, this realization only occurred in 1977 after the fall of the Mobutu Government.
12. Czechia/Czech (Formerly Czech Republic)
Another country which also recently changed its name is the Czech Republic. In 2016 the Czech Republic changed the name of its country to Czechia for the reason of shortening the mention of the country in international relations and as a means of promoting the country.
Even though it has been changed to Czechia, people still tend to refer to the country as the Czech Republic.
13. Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia)
Before independence, Southern Rhodesia was the official name of the country of Zimbabwe. In 1980, Rhodesia received official recognition under the name of the Republic of Zimbabwe, which was later shortened to the State of Zimbabwe.
Rhodesia was named after Cecil John Rhodes, a recognized Empire builder.
14. Eswatini (formerly Swaziland)
In 2018, under the leadership of King Mswati II, the name Swaziland was changed to Eswatini to erase memories of past colonialism.
The king said that the name Swaziland seemed similar to Switzerland and made many people confused about the two countries.
Source : CNBC