Abstract: Is Bhārata a discourse on space that does not allow a visual representation of that space? Is it the case that on the basis of such a discourse, it is not possible to draw a map in the modern sense of the word? Is it methodologically inappropriate to identify Bhāratavarṣa with a concrete territorial unit and to take it to represent a geographical reality? What seem like nearly-unambiguous answers, in near-affirmative no less, to all the above questions appear in at least two recent essays ‘India, that is Bharat…’: One Country, Two Names by Catherine Clémentin-Ojha and The Concept of Bhāratavarṣa and Its Historiographical implications by B.D. Chattopadhyaya. Clearly, answers that are in the near-affirmative to the above questions are of consequence not just to any discussion on an idea of India but also to at least one important facet of being Indian: India’s territory (and the past of that territory). In this paper, amongst other things, the statements that appear to be near-affirmative answers to the questions above are foregrounded and are engaged with critically, an engagement that looks to analyze and then present evidence that may render those near-affirmative answers as at least seriously contestable, if not as invalidated. In doing so, this paper will draw from some parts of an actual system of knowledge indigenous to the Indian subcontinent (and hence an Indic knowledge system) the Aṣṭādaśavidyā.
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