“Bharat” and “India” will be used interchangeably in the National Council of Educational Research and Training textbooks as is the case in the country’s Constitution, the autonomous educational body’s director Dinesh Prasad Saklani has said, PTI reported on Monday.

The first article of the Constitution reads: “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States”.

In an interview with PTI, Saklani said that the debate over the use of Bharat or India was “useless” since the Constitution upholds both of them.

“It is interchangeable, our position is what our Constitution says and we uphold that,” he told the news agency. “We can use Bharat, we can use India, what is the problem? We are not in that debate. Wherever it suits we will use India, wherever it suits we will use Bharat. We have no aversion to either India or Bharat.”

The comments came after a high-level panel for social sciences, working to revise the school curriculum, had recommended replacing “India” with “Bharat” in all textbooks last year.

“The committee has unanimously recommended that the name Bharat should be used in the textbooks for students across classes,” committee chairperson CI Isaac had said in an interview with PTI in October. “Bharat is an age-old name. The name Bharat has been used in ancient texts, such as Vishnu Purana [an ancient text of Hinduism], which is 7,000 years old.”

Last year, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat had urged citizens to stop saying India and use Bharat instead when referring to the country. “The name of our country has been Bharat for ages,” he had said at an event in Guwahati. “Whatever may be the language, the name remains the same.”

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the ideological parent of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Following Bhagwat’s comments last year, the Centre had officially used Bharat in G20 invites when it said “President of Bharat” instead of “President of India”.

Also read: A short history of ‘India’ versus ‘Bharat’