Sunday November 19, 2017
Home India How did the w...

How did the word Hindu originate? Here is what you need to know about Hinduism

Hinduism is a vast and complex religion, a socio-religious body which further reflects the complexity of Indian society. It is a blend of rich geography, myriads of dialects, diverse customs and traditions, racial heterogeneity all of which shapes Hinduism as a whole.

Indus,the river from which "Hindu' originated, Source-Pixabay

May 01, 2017: Unlike other creeds, Hinduism does not originate in a single founder, a single book or a single point in time. It institutes many divergent beliefs, philosophies and viewpoints. However, these blatant conflict of ideas strikes only to those who are not accustomed to the “Hinduism” which claims that the oneness expresses itself in many different forms.

Hinduism is a vast and complex religion, a socio-religious body which further reflects the complexity of Indian society. It is a blend of rich geography, myriads of dialects, diverse customs and traditions, racial heterogeneity all of which shapes Hinduism as a whole.

Look for latest news from India in NewsGram.

The Origination of word “HINDUISM”

There are many theories concerning the subject but amidst many tales, one takes us to river Indus which was a major part of ancient India and now a major river of present day Pakistan.

It is said that the Persians used to refer to the Indus river as Sindhu. Indus is a major river which flows partly in India and partly in Pakistan.However, the Persians could not pronounce the letter “S” correctly in their native tongue and mispronounced it as “H.” Thus, for the ancient Persians, the word “Sindhu” became “Hindu.” The ancient Persian Cuneiform inscriptions and the Zend Avesta refer to the word “Hindu” as a geographic name rather than a religious name.

Look for latest news from India in NewsGram.

When the Persian King Darious 1 extended his empire up to the borders of the Indian subcontinent in 517 BC, some people of the Indian subcontinent became part of his empire and army. Thus for a prolonged period of time, the ancient Persians referred to these people as “Hindus”. The ancient Greeks and Armenians followed the same pronunciation, and thus, gradually the name stuck.

The word “India” also has a similar foreign origin. Originally, the native Indians used to address the Indian subcontinent as “Bharat”. As a matter of fact in Mahabharat, which is one of the two “Itihasa”, we find reference to the word “Bharat”. As per legend, the land ruled by the great King “Bharata” was called Bharat.

The ancient Greeks used to mispronounce the river Sindhu as Indos. When Alexander invaded India, the Macedonian army referred to the river as Indus and the land east of the river as India. The Greek writers who wrote about Alexander preferred to use the same name.

For the Arabs the land became Al-Hind. The Muslim rulers and travellers who came to India during the medieval period referred the Indian subcontinent as “Hindustan” and the people who lived there as Hindus.

Follow NewsGram on Facebook

Thus, if we go by the original definition of the word Hindu, any person living in the land beyond the river Indus is a Hindu and whatever religion he or she practices is Hinduism. The word Hindu is a secular word. Hinduism denotes any religion or religions that are practised by the people living in the Indian subcontinent.

– prepared by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram, Twitter: @NikitaTayal6


  1. For better comprehension of the word ‘Hindu’ and ‘Hinduism’, just look towards the east of India. Countries like Thailand, Vietnam, China, Korea, Japan have local Gods and mythologies of their own interspersed with Buddhist icons. Many of their ‘Gods’ were also actual Kings/Generals, just like in India. BUT guess what? Compared to India, there are no religions called Thai-ism, Vietnamism, Chinuism etc. Why? Compared to these countries, India has been under subjugation of western cultures including Arabs/Persians and Europeans for more than 800 years both of whom were following the same basic Abrahamic religious values of exclusivity. The word Hindu and religion Hinduism was thrust upon us by our foreign overlords through government regulations. In a way, it’s similar to the N-word thrust upon Africans. But please remember who we really were before we were ‘Hindu’, i.e. only human beings, just like in eastern countries. Use Hindu and Hinduism as a bulwark against the supremacism of Abrahamic religions, but do not get attached to it. We are human beings and nothing else and our religious ‘doctrines’ are nothing but ancient scientific hypotheses. Hence the diversity of our philosophies and the lack of Abrahamic-type rigid ‘beliefs’ etc. Science and Hinduism are one and the same i.e. the quest for the truth through evidence and reason.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Next Story

Dalai Lama says that India and China have great potential

The spiritual leader feels that both the countries are doing compassionate works

Dalai Lama talks about India and China
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai says that India and China can work together. VOA

New Delhi, Nov 19

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday said India and China have “great potential” and they could work together at a “practical level”.

“I think, a great potential… India and China combined are doing more compassionate work… At a practical level also. Imagine two billion people working together,” he told reporters here after inaugurating Smile Foundation’s initiative, The World of Children.

The spiritual leader, who has lived in India in self-imposed exile since 1959, said neither country had the “ability to destroy the other”.

“Whether you like it or not, you have to live side by side,” he said.

Underlining the ancient spiritual connection between the two countries, he said Chinese Buddhist Hsuan Tsang visited Nalanda (now in Bihar) and brought Nalanda Buddhist traditions to China.

“All thinkers of Nalanda are Indian. So Nalanda’s tradition is India’s tradition,” he said.

The Nalanda traditions had turned Tibetans, who were warriors, into more compassionate, peaceful and non-violent nation, he said.

“So sometimes in Delhi, teasing my Indian friend, (I say) if Tibet still remained in the previous way of life, like Mongols, Chinese invasion may not have taken place,” the Dalai Lama said in a lighter vein.

He said nobody in the world wanted violence but it was happening “because our minds are dominated by destructive emotions due to short-sightedness”.

“Nobody wants problems. Yet, many problems are our own creation.”

The Dalai Lama said the existing modern education was oriented to material values. India can take lead in improving the education system by combining modern education with ancient knowledge, he said. (IANS)

Next Story

Manushi Chhillar from India Wins the Miss World 2017 Title

India's Manushi Chillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant here, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

Miss World
Manushi Chhillar has been crowned as Miss World 2017. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

China, November 19: India’s Manushi Chhillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

Chhillar competed against 108 contestants from various countries at a glittering event held at Sanya City Arena here.

Miss World 2016 winner Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle gave away the coveted crown to the winner.

Chhillar, who is from Haryana, had earlier this year won the Femina Miss India 2017.

Miss world
Anti Ageing was the official skin care expert for Manushi Chhillar at the Miss World 2017 pageant. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

India, England, France, Kenya and Mexico grabbed the top five spots at the peagant.

Manushi, born to doctor parents, studied in St. Thomas School in New Delhi and Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonepat.

Her entire family including brother and sister were present and they looked excited watching Manushi grabbing top five spot.

As many as 108 beauty queens from different parts of the world participated in the prestigious pageant. (IANS)

Next Story

The major Challenge is to make the Youth of the Country Entrepreneurial and not Job Seekers : Venkaiah Naidu

"The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers," Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government's various initiatives.

Venkaiah Naidu
Venkaiah Naidu. Wikimedia Commons
  • At a time of tepid job growth and continuing income disparities, the major challenge is to make the youth of the country entrepreneurial and not job seekers, Vice President  Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday.

“Disparities continue to remain in India and so there is a need for inclusive growth… there is the need to take care of the suppressed, oppressed and depressed,” Venkaiah Naidu said at the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust’s (BYST) silver jubilee celebrations here with Britain’s Prince Charles as the chief guest.

“The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers,” Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government’s various initiatives to encourage youth enterprises like Startup India, Standup India and the Mudra financing scheme for underprivileged sections.

Modelled on Prince Charles’ Trust for business startups, BYST, founded by Lakshmi Venkatesan, daughter of former President R. Venkatraman, is engaged in building rural entrepreneurship — “grampreneurs” — as also enterprise among under-privileged sections, which includes business mentoring. The current BYST chairman is Bajaj Group chief, Rahul Bajaj.

“Without mentoring, it would be very difficult to set up startups, with all the business, marketing and other vital issues involved in the first two-three years,” Prince Charles said in his address at the International Mentoring Summit organized by BYST to mark its 25 years.

“What amazes me are the sheer number of jobs these young entrepreneurs had created. The aim of such a project should be to create a virtual cycle of creating entrepreneurs who can then invest in the future of business,” Charles said referring to his trust.

BYST was officially launched in 1992 by Prince Charles and expanded its operations to six major regions of India.

Out of these six regions, four — Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad — run the urban programme while two regions — Haryana and Maharashtra — run the rural programme.(IANS)