Bharatas were a tribe mentioned in the Rigveda, especially in Mandala 3 attributed to the Bharata sage Vishvamitra. Scholars believe the Bharatas to be a Vedic tribe around river Ravi in modern Punjab in the second millennium B.C.E. Bharatá is also used as a name of Agni (literally, "to be maintained", viz. the fire having to be kept alive by the care of men), and as a name of Rudra in RV 2.36.8.
Mandala 7 (7.18 etc.) mentions the Bharatas as taking part in the Battle of the Ten Kings, where they are on the winning side. Due to the victory of the Bharata chieftain Sudas in this battle, the Bharata rulers were able to settle in the Kurukshetra area. They appear to have been successful in the early power-struggles between the various Vedic tribes so that in post-Vedic (Epic) tradition, the Mahābhārata, the eponymous ancestor becomes Emperor Bharata, and his ruler and kingdom is called Bhārata. The Bharata clan later allied and merged with the Puru clan, to form the Kuru tribe. "Bhārata" today is an official name of the Republic of India.
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