The word 'Hindu' is NOT a Sanskrit word. Numerous scholars say it is not found in any of the Vedic literature. So it is important to know how such a name can truly represent the Vedic culture. And without the Vedic literature, there is no basis for “Hinduism.” Similarly, the name ‘India’ did not come from any Indian language or culture. So let’s find out their origin.
Origin of the word Hindu
Most scholars feel that the word “Hindu” was developed by outsiders, invaders who could not pronounce the name of the Sindhu River properly. Sindhu was the original name for a great river in north-west India. When invaders from Persia came across this river, they pronounced it ‘Hindu’. Because in Persian, the ‘S’ is pronounced as ‘H’. Eventually from ‘Hindu’, the second ‘h’ disappeared. So from ‘Sindhu’ the word ‘Hindu’ evolved. It described a geographical area. Today the word ‘Hindu’ represents people who follow Sanatan Dharma (Eternal religion based on Vedic knowledge). However later, it became to represent the people of ‘Hindu’ – Sthan. ‘Sthan’ means land. From this evolved the word ‘Hindustan’. It is very important to mention that word Hindustan does not mean only the land of Hindus but all the people of India who live east of the Sindhu River, which is called Hindustan or Bharat.
Origin of the word India
Some sources report that it was Alexander the Great who first renamed the River Sindhu as the Indu, dropping the beginning “S”, thus making it easier for the Greeks to pronounce. This became known as the Indus. This was when Alexander invaded India around 325 B.C. His Macedonian forces thereafter called the land east of the Indus as India, a name more frequently used especially during the British regime.
Thereafter, even the Indians conformed to these standards as set by those in power and used the names Hindu, Hindustan and India. Otherwise, the word has no meaning except for those who place value on it or now use it out of convenience.
Some other names of India
Aryavrata - Land of Aryans
Ajnabh khand - Named on the king Aj - Grandfather of Lord Ram
Hindustan – As discussed above from the word Sindhu
Hind - Short form of Hindustan - First used by Netajee
Bharat – Named on the king Bharat – Official Hindi name
India – Name mostly used by British - Official English name