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Who am I?

Updated on: 10 September,2023 07:12 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Rahul da Cunha |

India vs Bharat, Bharat vs India is a hotter contest than Djokovic vs Alcaraz… well, Djokovic vs Medvedev this year.

Who am I?

Illustration/Uday Mohite

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Rahul Da CunhaThere’s a new debate raging, some call it a weapon of mass distraction, others turn their eyebrows up with cynicism, still others are truly panicked, and of course there are those whose chests swell with patriotic pride.


India vs Bharat, Bharat vs India is a hotter contest than Djokovic vs Alcaraz… well, Djokovic vs Medvedev this year.


The question on everyone’s lips, as the G20 summit enters its second day—Is our nation going to get a new name?


Well the supporters of “Bharat” argue its merely getting our original, old name back…conversely the critics bark, “Aw come on, are you serious, why now, 76 years after Independence?” Either way it’s Mera Bharat Mahaan vs India Shining.

(Gotta say, “Incredible Bharat” doesn’t have the same ring as “Incredible India”. “Make in India”, becoming “Make in Bharat”, hmm, it was questionable grammar to begin with, now even more clunky perhaps?)

I have been pondering this conundrum for some days now, do I want to hail from India or Bharat?

Could be an election ploy… the gents in power, hackles raised because the “rag tag Lagaan-like opposition team” named their alliance I.N.D.I.A. So they respond with BHARAT. “We are the OG, the original Indians.”

See if it comes through, and the Parliament votes for it, there will be chaos, “taking to the streets type mass madness”. It’s not just a “Mumbai-Bombay” nomenclature thingy, 100 million people will be standing outside the passport office for a “Republic of Bharat” change… and Adhaar cards. Let’s not even open that can of worms. 

The anti-Bharat brigade, argue, “Forget name changes, how about changing living conditions”, the supporters chant, “Bharat is our birthright”.

Other issues will crop up… global issues—now that we are a G20 powerhouse, how will foreigners refer to us.

Foreigners who’ve curiously asked:

“Where from?” or “Which country you?” or “Which count-lee you flom?” The answer would normally have been —“I’m from India, I’m Indian.”

Now it’ll be, “I’m from Bharat”

“Ummmm Borat… you’re from Borat? Just like that wassisname Sasha Baron Cohen, the fictitious Khazakistani TV journalist?”

“No Bharat… Bhaaaa-rath.”

“BAR-ATT? Like Obama, but with a T?”

“Let’s just call it the country formerly known as India!”

But you see, dear reader… I am faced with the biggest problem of all.

If ‘Bharat’ goes through officially, the biggest problem I have is… who will I become? What is my identity? Presently, I am Indian/Bharatiya. Like the Chinese do I become Bharese? Like a Cypriot, am I to be a  Bhariot? Like the Spanish, Bhanish… like a Spaniard, Bhariad? Like the French, a Bharch? Like the Filipinos, will I now be a Bharatino? Like an Omani, a Bharani? Like a Qatari, a Bhari? Finland, whose people are Finnish, could I be Bharrish?

Like a Thai, do I become a Bhai? “I’m from Bharat, I’m proud to be a Bhai”, meaning either I’m your brother or I belong to the underworld.

3 So now that the main Chinese dude hasn’t shown up for the G20, is it a question of “Hindi Cheeni Bhai Bye”.

Finally, we are a BRICS nation… how cool does BRICS sound… does BRBCS have the same ring. Has the abbreviation lost its “zaniness”?

This and other issues to ponder over, dear reader.

Rahul daCunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahul.dacunha@mid-day.com

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