Date of usage of the word Bhaarata to denote India

Dipak Bhattacharya dbhattacharya200498 at YAHOO.COM
Sat Dec 25 16:48:26 UTC 2010

Yes, you are right! The use of the uncompounded word bhaarat(a) in the sense of India was not common even in the earlier half of the nineteenth century. The social reforrmer Vidyasagar (1820-1891) of Calcutta had addressed the women of Bhaaratavarsha during his movement for widow mrriage and women's right to education. Akshay Kumar Datta had written his book Bharatavarshiya Upasak Sampraday 'Indian Sects' about the same time. The word Bhaarat came to be in use in the sense of India perhaps from late nineteenth century. Tagore used the term. So also some leaders of the Indian National Congress. The final stamp of authenticity might have been given by the Indian Constitution.
Seasonal Greetings and Best Wishes!

--- On Sat, 25/12/10, Christopher Wallis <bhairava11 at> wrote:

From: Christopher Wallis <bhairava11 at>
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Date of usage of the word Bhaarata to denote India
To: "Dipak Bhattacharya" <dbhattacharya200498 at>
Date: Saturday, 25 December, 2010, 7:20 AM

Dear colleague,

 I perhaps should have been more clear; I was aware of the compound in earlier sources, but I was (perhaps mistakenly) assuming that bhaarata was not found by itself in the meaning "India" until the modern period.  My author uses Bhaarata to mean "all the land in which tiirthas are found" so that is clearly not just north India.  Does anyone else have any further evidence to date this usage?

Happy holidays to all!

thank you,

On 24 December 2010 20:55, Dipak Bhattacharya <dbhattacharya200498 at> wrote:

25 12 10 

Harisvāmin’s commentary on the Śatapatha-Br. aughá imāḥ sárvvāḥ prajā́ḥ nirvvoḍhā runs as : sa imāḥ bhāratavarṣanivāsinīḥ prajāḥ nirvoḍhā niḥśeśaṃ deśāntaraṃ prāpayitā. The word will be found in all the major Purāṇas in Jambudvīpavarṇanam. Cf.,Matsya-P.122.te bhāratasya varṣasya bhedā yena prakīirtitāḥ . Emperor Asoka knew only the word Jambudvīpa. 


--- On Fri, 24/12/10, Christopher Wallis <bhairava11 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

From: Christopher Wallis <bhairava11 at GMAIL.COM>
Subject: [INDOLOGY] Date of usage of the word Bhaarata to denote India
Date: Friday, 24 December, 2010, 5:13 PM

Dear esteemed colleagues,

Happy holidays.  I am reading and translating a very late ha.tha-yoga text
called the Yoga-Kar.nikaa, the date of which can possibly be determined by
its use of the phrase* bhaarate*.  Does anyone know the
earliest usage of Bhaarata in the meaning "India"?  I am guessing 19th
century, but I really don't know.

thank you,
Chris Wallis


Christopher D. Wallis, M.A. (Cal), M.Phil. (Oxon)

University of California at Berkeley

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