We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day – ‘Bharat’ is an invented country

Even the name ‘India’, touted by some as a colonial imposition, can be found in texts as ancient as Herodotus’ Geography. By the time of Alexander, ‘India’ was the widely accepted term for the region beyond the Indus River. It is a straightforwardly geographical distribution, widely used for centuries – by no means was it a British invention.

Sam Bidwell

23 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – ‘Bharat’ is an invented country

  • Deep Lurker

    Herodotus used the name “India”
    Herodotus also used the name “Britain”
    That makes the name “India” a British invention.

    Could insane troll logic be simpler?

  • Mr Ed

    Modi strikes me as a bit of an Erdogan but with more to play with and significant minorities who could be disadvantaged.

    How about if they change the country’s name to Bharat, we say ‘Look what we gave you! You gave us 0.’ and carry on as we were.

  • Mark

    Wouldn’t “landfill” be more appropriate?

  • Kirk

    Anyone get the same whiff of “fail” coming off of this that you get off similar “re-brandings” in commerce?

    It’s akin to the “Well, they just custom-built their new bespoke corporate headquarters, bankruptcy and restructuring can’t be too far off…” syndrome that ought to be familiar to everyone, by now.

    Meanwhile India suffers from the effects of poverty, corruption, and bureaucratic malaise. None of which this addresses…

  • Fraser Orr

    I don’t see anything wrong with India wanted to adopt this new name, which is of ancient origin. For sure “India” is too, but its use in India comes largely through their relationship with the British and the use of the English language. In Indian languages variations on Bharat are used (as far as I understand it anyway.)

    And anyone who thinks India is a “landfill” or heading for “bankruptcy”, let me remind you that the just landed a probe on the moon, something that very few other countries have done, and American IT relies on India as much as Walmart relies on China. Along with a lot of poverty, they have a very powerful cutting edge workforce.

    The fact is that if India could overcome its major problem — rampant bureaucracy — it would take over the world in twenty years. And maybe then we’d all have to learn Hindi.

  • Mark

    @Fraser Orr

    Surely the issue is India is the caste system, which, of course, officially doesn’t exist. It’s been there for millenia. How does it actually end? It would presumably require the highest caste to voluntarily do it, or the lower caste(s) to do so forcibly.

    As for India being a landfill, that is a criticism many thinking Indians make.

  • Plamus

    Fraser Orr:

    The fact is that if India could overcome its major problem — rampant bureaucracy — it would take over the world in twenty years. And maybe then we’d all have to learn Hindi.

    The word “if” does a lot of heavy lifting in this sentence, but even then… nope. Depending on which source and measure you use (PPP or nominal), the US has a GDP per capita in the $60-70K range, the UK in the $40-50K range, and the EU in the $30-40K range. India barely touches $2.5K. In order to just reach EU/UK levels in GDP/capita in 20 years, assuming the EU/UK don’t grow at all in the meanwhile, Indian GDP/capita would need to grow at 15%/year. Good luck with that, and that ain’t taking over the world by any measure I’d agree to.

    China did manage to pull off “close-to-but-not-quite” this kind of growth, with massive investment mis-allocation, but it started at a much lower level where growth is easier, what with low-hanging fruit and all, and it is still poorish, with GDP/capita barely above the world average.

  • Bulldog Drummond

    but its use in India comes largely through their relationship with the British and the use of the English language.

    The Indians I know (a lot) are either sneeringly disdainful or roll their eyes & shrug. Hardly a decisive sample of expat Indian opinion but a notable phase one uttered when I asked what they thought about the Bharat thing was “just more saffron bullshit”.

  • John

    Now about those additional student visas, complete with family members, that Rishi has assured us are most definitely not on the table when negotiating the latest trade deal.

    Does anyone believe him?

  • Paul Marks.

    The dominant culture of northern India, from the spoked wheel (the spoked wheel – not solid wheels and rollers which are a much older idea), the breed of horses used, the use of metal weapons, and (yes) the language and religion (at least the idea that developed into Hinduism) did come from invaders – but not British invaders, the culture came from Ayran invaders from the north thousands of years – whose practices, metal weapon making, the spoked wheel, the breed of horse they used (the ancestor of all modern horses in the world) came from a culture not far from the southern end of the Ural Mountain chai – many thousands of years ago.

    Even stating these basic facts seems to enrage some Indian Nationalists – although it is hard to know why, after all Indo-Europeans also came to the British Isles and replaced at least 90% of the population, yes when (for example) some BBC historian points at Stonehenge and talks about how “our ancestors built this” they are talking bovine excrement.

    “But we are brown!” – when pale people intermarry with darker skinned people their children often have dark skin, and a good thing to – as, if someone working in the fields under the bright sun of India had skin like that of, say, Mr Putin, they might develop skin cancer and die horribly.

  • JohnK

    “Bharat” sounds a lot like “Borat”. Just saying.

  • Paul Marks.

    As for the Sintashta Culture in the foot hills of the the southern end of the Ural Mountains – in their fortified towns (with all the metal working and weapons) guarding the marshes and river valleys that were so vital to their herds of horses and cattle, their ancestors came from the West.

    Some Indo Europeans of the Corded Wear culture went West – even as far West as Ireland, and some went east and (later) south.

    They took their language (the closest modern language to to that of the first Indo Europeans is probably Lithuanian, NOT Russian, Mr Putin please note), culture (horses, cattle, young male warrior bands….) and religion (Sky Gods) with them.

    In India the word for religious caste person is Brahmin, in Wales Bard, in Ireland Brehon (hence Brehon Law)

    Hindi (like Urdu – which is written with a different script) is an Indo European language and its ancestor, Sanskrit, came from outside India – from the north.

    In India these people intermarried with the people they conquered – and a good thing to (pale skinned people would not have done well, over generations, under such a hot and bright Sun), in most of Europe they replaced the pre existing population. MOST of Europe – not all of it, for example the people of Sardinia are clearly pre Indo European genetically, showing that the pre Indo European population of Europe was NOT particularly dark skinned – genetically the Sardinians are them, and the Sardinians are not particularly dark skinned.

    In the east the fate of the Indo Europeans was less successful – in parts of what is now China they at first prospered, but where later largely exterminated by the expansion of the ancestors of the modern Chinese (old texts boasted of this near extermination – today the fashion is to pretend that the light haired and light eyed people with their plaid clothing, never existed).

    Central Asia was largely Indo European till well within historical times (hence the accounts of Herodotus and so on) – although modern television programmes, purporting to tell the story of, say, the Scythians, who fought the Persians and others, tend to show even these blond haired, pale people as looking Chinese (which is utterly bizarre).

    From the 16th (1500s AD) the Indo Europeans expanded eastward again – all the way from Muscovy (which had fallen into serfdom – due to the edicts of several rulers) to, eventually, Alaska and beyond.

    Early firearms were vital to their expansion – as they were to the expansion of the American Indo Europeans (from the 16th to the 20th centuries A.D.).

    Without firearms their farming settlements would have been destroyed by nomads – as those of their kin in Central Asia and the Far East had been, centuries, or even thousands of years, before.

    In Texas the last raids by nomads were in the 1920s and 1930s – yes the 20th century, although these raids were very small and rare and conducted by small groups of Apache from Mexico (where they also raided – till the Mexicans wiped them out).

    In the 19th century the Comanche in Texas were as fiece as any warriors the Russians faces in Central Asia and the Far East.

    The Comanche had migrated from the north into Texas and, like other tribes, had taken the idea of horse riding from Indo Europeans (the Spanish) or from tribes that had contact with them (before the Spanish horses in North America had been exterminated for food by various tribes – many species of animal were exterminated by the tribes of North and South America, who were NOT the eco hippies of modern television programmes, and lying school and university text books).

    The Comanche were renowned for their cruelty – even by other tribes (who they raided even more than they raided just as much as the raided the Spanish or the Anglos).

    Under what is still called in Texas a “Comanche Moon” (a full Moon was considered the favourite time to attack, the Comanche would try and take people (whether of other tribes or Spanish or Anglo) alive – the men to be mutilated (what is called today “made Trans” and considered a good thing) and then tortured to death (after all had they been “real men” they would not have allowed themselves to be taken alive – at least that was the Comanche point of view), the women to be communally raped and abused and, if they survived, kept as slaves.

    To be fair, the Texas Rangers (and other other groups of Indo Europeans) were often also very brutal – as brutal as the Russian and Ukrainian Cossacks in their wars with nomads in Central Asia and the Far East.

    There was also a warrior kinship in both cases – for example a leader of the Texas Rangers who had gone to live in California, was astonished, on the birth of his first son, to receive rich presents from distant Texas, sent by a Comanche war chief (they had tried to kill each other several times) who wanted to honour the occasion.

    Many Russians intermarried with Tartars and others – much to the disgust of Mr Hitler in the 20th century, clearly Adolf had no concept of hybrid vigour.

    In India – intermarriage was at first normal, but in the late 19th century it became socially unacceptable, much to the disgust of Queen Victoria who considered “scientific racialism” to be an absurd modern fashion, Queen Victoria greatly disliked “colour prejudice” as the lady called it.

  • Paul Marks.

    Would not changing the name of India be an insult to the Goddess?

  • Snorri Godhi

    Even the name ‘India’, touted by some as a colonial imposition, can be found in texts as ancient as Herodotus’ Geography. By the time of Alexander, ‘India’ was the widely accepted term for the region beyond the Indus River.

    But Herodotus was not Indian; and, for Indians, ‘the region beyond the Indus River’ presumably refers to the region WEST of the Indus.

    The main problem that i see with ‘Bharat’ is that it is an Indo-Aryan name. Anybody knows the equivalent in Dravidic languages?

  • Paul Marks.


    That the Indo-Aryans were invaders from the north (thousands of years ago) is precisely what this sort of Indian nationalist denies – to them these people, and their language and culture, originated in India – just as much as the Dravidian languages and cultures did.

    Of course you know the truth – but they would be very unhappy with you for telling the truth.

  • Paul Marks.

    It is interesting that what, in the time of the Comanche raids, was considered savage cruelty and mutilation, would be considered a high honour by the Biden/Harris Administration and the rest of modern “liberalism” (which is not liberalism at all), especially if it is done to children – to create what are now called “Trans Children”, a dead-end from a biological point of view, but highly fashionable.

  • Steven R

    Should we call Japan Nippon then?

  • Kirk

    One recalls one of Robert Heinlein’s quotations…

    This sad little lizard told me that he was a brontosaurus on his mother’s side. I did not laugh; people who boast of ancestry often have little else to sustain them. Humoring them costs nothing and adds to happiness in a world in which happiness is in short supply.

    Heinlein, Robert A.. The Notebooks of Lazarus Long (p. 148). Kindle Edition.

    If India wants to rename itself, so be it. Humor them; they won’t be any better or worse off afterwards.

  • pkudude99

    Even if they officially rename themselves it won’t matter to anyone not living there. Everyone else will all still call the place “India.”

    How do I know? well…. there’s an Asian country that calls themselves “Hanguk” but everyone else calls them “South Korea,” which is what the Japanese historically called them. There’s a country in Europe that calls themselves “Deutchland” but the French call them Allemagne, and English speakers call the place “Germany.” Another Euro country calls itself “Espana” but we call them Spain. Even the US of A tends to be called by any given local language’s translation (and often truncated as well), not “the actual name” in English. And these are just a few examples, but they apply to nearly any country.

    So sure, they can change their name. It won’t affect the rest of the world one whit.

  • If India changed its name we could all conveniently say “Indian” and people would know we’re talking about the natives of the Americas. The people with the bhindis from the southern subcontinent will be Bharatese. And it will work every bit as well as the Burmese naming their land “Myanmar”.

    Renaming makes politicians happy. But it’s mainly for local consumption.

  • Steven R

    It seems like a lot of work. “Indian (dot, not feather)” or “Indian (feather, not dot)” has worked just fine for decades and I’m too old to change now.

  • Penseivat

    How about “Corner Shop Central”?

  • Alexander Tertius Harvey

    How about Hindustan?