How old is the word 'Hind"?

How Old is the Word ‘Hindu’?

Here is an eye-opening article about the antiquity of the word “Hindu.” The communist historians of India and the Western Indologists claim that the word “Hindu” was invented by the Arabs in the 8th century and its origins lay in the Persian practice of replacing “S” with “H”. However, many inscriptions over a thousand years older than this period have used the word ”Hindu” or its derivatives. Also, the origin of the word most certainly lies in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat in India, not in Persia.

What I found particularly interesting was that Prophet Mohammed’s uncle Omar-bin-e-Hassham had composed a poem in praise of Lord Shiva, a copy of which can be found in the Makhtab-e-Sultania library in Istanbul, Turkey. This rang a bell in my mind. There are many websites which claim that Kaba was an ancient Shiva temple. I don’t know what to make of these claims, but the fact that Prophet Mohammed’s uncle had written an ode to Lord Shiva is certainly stunning.

Antiquity and Origin of the Term ‘Hindu’

The anti-Hindu historians like Romila Thapar and D.N. Jha have opined that the word ‘Hindu’ was given currency by the Arabs in the 8th century. They however, do not explain the basis of their conclusion nor do they cite any evidence in support of their claim. Even Arab Muslim writers do not make such an extravagant claim.
Another theory propounded by European writers is that the word ‘Hindu’ is a Persian corruption of ‘Sindhu’ resulting from the Persian practice of replacing ‘S’ with ‘H’. Even here, no evidence is cited. In fact the word Persia itself contains ‘S’ which should have become ‘Perhia’ if this theory was correct.

The present paper examines the above two theories in the light of epigraphic and literary evidence available from Persian, Indian, Greek, Chinese and Arabic sources. The evidence appears to support the conclusion that ‘Hindu’ like ‘Sindhu’, has been in use since the Vedic age and that although ‘Hindu’ is a modified form of ‘Sindhu’, its origin lies in the Saurashtran practice of pronouncing ‘H’ in place of ‘S’.

1381858_610201679023177_1663287757_nEpigraphic Evidence

The Hamadan, Persepolis and Naqsh-I-Rustam Inscriptions of Persian monarch Darius mention a people ‘Hidu’ as included in his empire. These inscriptions are dated between 520-485 B.C. This fact establishes that the term ‘Hi(n)du’ was current more than 500 years before Christ.

Xerexes, successor of Darius, in his inscriptions at Persepolis, gives names of countries under his rule. The list includes ‘Hidu’. Xerexes was ruling between 485-465 B.C. On a tomb in Persepolis, in another inscription assigned to Artaxerexes (404-395 B.C.), there are three figures above which are inscribed ‘iyam Qataguviya’ (this is Satygidian), ‘iyam Ga(n)dariya’ (this is Gandhara) and ‘iyam Hi(n)duviya’ (this is Hi(n)du). The Asokan inscriptions (3rd century B.C.) repeatedly use expressions like ‘Hida’ for ‘India’ and ‘Hida loka’ for ‘Indian nation’.

‘Hida’ and its derivative forms are used more than 70 times in the Ashokan inscriptions. For instance in the Jaugadha, separate rock edict II, the lines 3 & 4, read:

All men are my people. I desire for my people that they may be provided with all welfare and happiness. I desire for my people, including the people of Hind and beyond and I desire for all men.
The Edict further, says in lines 7 & 8 Dhamma may be followed and the people of Hind and beyond may be served.

The Ashokan inscriptions establish the antiquity of the name ‘Hind’ for India to at least third century B.C.

In Persepolis Pahlvi inscriptions of Shahpur II (310 A.D.) the king has the titles shakanshah hind shakastan u tuxaristan dabiran dabir, “king of Shakastan, minister of ministers of Hind Shakastan and Tukharistan.”

The epigraphic evidence from the Achaemenid, Ashokan and Sasanian Pahlvi records puts a question mark on the theory about the term ‘Hindu’ having originated in Arab usage in the 8th century A.D. Literary evidence takes the antiquity of the word ‘Hindu’ back to at least 1000 B.C. and possibly 5000 B.C.

Evidence from Pahlvi Avesta

In the Avesta, Hapta-Hindu is used for Sanskrit Sapta-Sindhu, the Avesta being dated variously between 5000-1000 B.C. This indicates that the term ‘Hindu’ is as old as the word ‘Sindhu.’ Sindhu is a Vedik term used in the Rigveda. And therefore, ‘Hindu’ is as ancient as the Rigveda.

How old is the Word 'Hind"?In the Avestan Gatha ‘Shatir’, 163rd Verse speaks of the visit of Veda Vyas to the court of Gustashp and in the presence of Zorashtra, Veda Vyas introduces himself saying ‘man marde am Hind jijad.’ (I am man born in ‘Hind.’) Veda Vyas was an elder contemporary of Shri Krishna (3100 B.C.).

Greek Usage

The Greek term ‘Indoi’ is a softened form of ‘Hindu’ where the initial ‘H’ was dropped as the Greek alphabet has no aspirate. This term ‘Indoi’ was used in Greek literature by Hekataeus (late 6th century B.C.) and Herodotus (early 5th century B.C.), thus establishing that the Greeks were using this derivative of ‘Hindu’ as early as 6th century B.C.

The Hebrew Bible

The Hebrew bible uses ‘Hodu’ for India, which is a Judaic form of ‘Hindu’. The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is considered earlier than 300 B.C. Today’s Hebrew spoken in Israel also uses Hodu for India.

The Chinese Testimony

The Chinese used the term ‘Hien-tu’ for ‘Hindu’ about 100 B.C.11 While describing movements of the Sai-Wang (100 B.C.), the Chinese annals state that the Sai-Wang went towards the South and passing Hien-tu reached Ki-Pin.

Later Chinese travellers Fa-Hien (5th century A.D.) and Huen-Tsang (7th century A.D.) use a slightly modified term ‘Yintu’ but the affinity to ‘Hindu’ is still retained. This term ‘Yintu’ continues to be used till today

Pre-Islamic Arabic Literature

Sair-ul-Okul is an anthology of ancient Arabic poetry available in the Turkish library Makhtab-e-Sultania in Istanbul. In this anthology is included a poem by Prophet Mohammed’s uncle Omar-bin-e-Hassham. The poem is in praise of Mahadev (Shiva), and uses ‘Hind’ for India and ‘Hindu’ for Indians. Some verses are quoted below:

Wa Abaloha ajabu armeeman Mahadevo Manojail ilamuddin minhum wa sayattaru
If but once one worships Mahadev with devotion, One will attain the ultimate salvation.

Wa sahabi Kay yam feema Kamil Hinda e Yauman, Wa Yakulam na latabahan foeennak Tawajjaru.
(Oh Lord grant me but one day’s sojourn in Hind, Where one can attain spiritual bliss.)

Massayare akhalakan hasanan Kullahum, Najumam aja at Summa gabul Hindu.
(But one pilgrimage there gets one all merit, And the company of great Hindu saints.)

The same anthology has another poem by Labi-bin-e Akhtab bin-e Turfa who is dated 2300 years before Mohammed i.e. 1700 B.C. This poem also uses ‘Hind’ for India and ‘Hindu’ for Indian. The poem also mentions the four Vedas Sama, Yajur, Rig and Athar. This poem is quoted on columns in the Laxmi Narayan Mandir in New Delhi, popularly known as Birla Mandir (Temple)

Some verses are as follows:

Aya muwarekal araj yushaiya noha minar Hinda e, wa aradakallha manyonaifail jikaratun. (Oh the Divine land of Hind, blessed art thou, thou art chosen land showered with divine knowledge.)

Wahalatjali Yatun ainana sahabi akhatun jikra, Wahajayahi yonajjalur rasu minal Hindatun. (That celetial knowledge shines with such brilliance, Through the words of Hindu saints in fourfold abundance.)

Yakuloonallaha ya ahlal araf alameen kullahum, fattabe-u jikaratul Veda bukkun malam yonajjaylatun. (God enjoins on all, follow with devotion, path shown by Veda with divine percept.)

Wahowa alamus Sama wal Yajur minallahay Tanajeelan, Fa e noma ya akhigo mutibayan Yobasshariyona jatun. (Overflowing with knowledge are Sama and Yajur for Man, Brothers, follow the path which guides you to salvation.)

Wa isa nain huma Rig Athar nasahin ka Khuwatun, Wa asanat Ala-udan wabowa masha e ratun (Also the two Rig and Athar(va) teach us fraternity, taking shelter under their lusture, dispels darkness.)

‘Hindu’ in Sanskrit Literature

Another doubt created by the modern day anglicized historian is that the term ‘Hindu’ is not found used in Sanskrit literature. This misconception can be dispelled by quoting from Sanskrit works15 : Meru tantra (es#rU=) (4th to 6th century A.D.), a Shaiva text, comments on ‘Hindu’.

Hindu is one who discards the mean and the ignoble.

The same idea is expressed in Shabda Kalpadruma.

Brihaspati Agam says,

Starting from Himalaya up to Indu waters is this God-created country Hindustan

Parijat Haran Natak describes Hindu as, Hindu is one who with penance washes one’s sins and evil thoughts and with arms destroys one’s enemies.

Madhava Digvijaya states, One who meditates on Omkar as the primeal sound, believes in karma & reincarnation, has reverence for the cow, who is devoted to Bharat, and abhors evil, is deserving of being called Hindu.

Vriddha Smriti defines Hindu as, One who abhors the mean and the ignoble, and is of noblebearing, who reveres the Veda, the cow, and the deity, is a Hindu.

Similarly other Sanskrit works which use the term ‘Hindu’ are, Kalika Puran, Bhavishya Puran, Adbhut Kosh, Medini Kosh, Ram Kosh etc. Even Kalidas has used a derivative form ‘Haindava.’

‘Hindu’ and ‘Sindhu’

Another theory says that ‘Hindu’ originated from the Persian practice of replacing ‘S’ with ‘H’. This does not seem to be true is evident from the fact that Sindh has not become Hind and both Sindh and Hind exist in Persian as well as Arabic.

The inscriptions of Darius and Xerexes which describe India as Hi(n)du, also use the term ‘Sugd’ for Sogdiana. This ‘Sugd’ should have become ‘Hugd’ as per this theory. The Pahlvi inscription of Shahpur II, uses ‘S’ in Shakastan and Tuxaristan.

But it cannot be denied that Hindu is a form of Sindhu. It needs to be realised that this change from S to H is common in Saurashtra where Sorath becomes Horath, Somnath becomes Homnath and so on. The form Hindu is therefore, likely to have come from Saurashtra.

It should also be noted that as per Nirukta rules of grammar, in the Vedik language, replacement of S with H is permitted

Epigraphic evidence takes the antiquity of ‘Hindu’ back to at least 500 B.C. Use of ‘Hindu’ as part of ‘Hapta-Hindu’ in the Avesta suggests that ‘Hindu’ is as old as ‘Sindhu’ and therefore, belongs to the Vedic age. Regarding the origin of ‘Hindu’ from ‘Sindhu’, the Saurashtran practice of pronouncing ‘H’ in place of ‘S’ provides the answer.[/success]

~By Dr. Murlidhar H. Pahoja


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  • thanks fir giving info abiut our religion.jai hind jai bharat

  • Gr8. Very nicely explained. Keep doing good work.

  • Archeological remains from Mohenjedaro shows that Harappan civilization was based on Sanskrit and Vedic ideologies. Though this has been approved by international scientific and historian communities, it hasn’t got wide media coverage it deserved because most media outlets are run by Christian and Jewish people. These evidences shows that Harappan civilization existed in around 8000BC. Adding 2014 would take Hindu civilization dating back to around 10000 years!

  • Thanks,,,feels good to read more about my religion, its a good lesson for modern world.

  • Dear Dr.Murlidhar

    Could you please site the references from where you have taken these information.


  • Thanks for the information ! This page gives us insights of various aspects !

  • I always use Indhu instead of hindu.Indhu is sankrit word which denote lord Indra .Indra mean king or ruler. Who follow our religion is will be called Indhu.

  • Many thanks for this post.It is full of valuable information.

  • The author of this article has tried to establish historically by misinterpreting texts from several Scriptures of different other sects.

    1. However author failed to show the even mention of word “HINDU” in any Vedic Literature or Valmiki Ramayan or Mahabharat.

    2. Neither Lord Ram was Hindu nor Lord Krishna was.

    3. If the word Hindu is derived from word Sindhu River.

    why not people living along river Ganga were named as Gangu ?

    • Hundreds of thousands of people who claim their ancient ancestry and culture from people who lived in ancient times near the GANGA river are named Ganga (for females) and Gangu (for males) even today. Lord Ram or Lord Krishna were from the pre-vedic period; the Hindu is a way of life today with roots in the pre-vedic period. Hindu is not a religion like Christianity or Islam. Author is only writing about how the HINDU way of life evolved in the modern era from about 3000 years or so. More reference to Ganga dynasties can be found in wikipedia.

  • हिमालयात् समारम्भः यावत् इन्दु सरोवरम्
    तं देवनिर्मितं देशम् “हिन्दुस्थानम् ” प्रचक्षते ..
    :- बृहस्पति आगम..

  • useful message,make it to know more about our religion.

  • Very informative and relevant , thanks for the research and pains taken to make aware the presentation generation with historical facts . A request regarding the name ‘INDIA; it’s origin and since when, would add to our lost pride of nationalism . For many vague stories are in circulations …Please oblige if it can be .Thanks .

    • ‘india’ word is of foriegn origin, having its roots in greek records.

  • Very good information. It would serve the purpose of many enthusiasts who would like to pin down the charges of anti-hindus. It is therefore important to disseminate carefully researched information. Thanks.

  • Great work of research.Thanks to Dr. Murlidhar and Sanskriti

  • Dr. Murlidhar Pahoja,

    Wonderful essay on the word :Hindu and commendably citing two anti-Hindu historians like Romila Thapar and DN.Jha who are using a baseless, myopic European template to determine Indian history.

    China has always since ancient times, long before the Silk Road, to present day, referred to India as “Indu” in Mandarin or “Yandu” in Cantonese.

  • Honorable Sir,

    Thanks for your research on the word HINDU. Your really great sir. Jai Hind

  • great work sir… this needs to be widely publicized to remove the years of falsehood and lies of leftist historians

  • Is this site by Muralidhar Pahja ji? Plz tell..
    As for Hindu, Hindu IS foreign origin no doubt, but thats not derogatory, although that is only geographical denomination. It doesnt tell our religion. Its not our cultural or religious title. the foreigners have brought this here, who’re still in India and who got to rule us for some time. It didnt come only with Arabians, it came with Rajputs who are foreigners…

  • Dear researcher,
    First of all thank you for enlightening us about Hinduism.

    You have cited many facts about the word ‘HINDU’. Among them one point you made about the Israelis and that is they call Indians as Hodu.
    Let me tell to the readers and the common people who have little doubts about this point, I am a simple man from India and I get an opportunity to work and live in Israel for 2 years starting from 2010 to 2012. In that period I met many rabbis (similar like Saints or priests or fathers) and also I was going to synagogue (similar like temple or church or mosque but no idol inside it ) and I understand one thing that in their Torah, the holy book, there is a mention about Indians in the name ‘HODU’. In modern day also they refer Indians as HODU in their Hebrew language.


  • Great information. Thank you. Very difficult to learn all theories of our religion. It is quite interesting. I read another article which states how much dishonor, terrific, terrorisam, and what not Muh Quasim did to our religion, culture and our people. If you read that, you will understand our Stupid Govt is teaching us all wrong things. What he did to our great warriors, our ram like Kingdoms and kings, sita like queens and princess, and to all beautiful females etc. etc.. how he transform our great warriors to Slaves etc etc.. I am really feeling to cry for them…

  • I see lot of comments about getting to know about history of Hindu religion through this article.

    Bear in mind that this article talks about word Hindu from geographic perspective and not from religious perspective.

    There never was religion called Hindu. Hindus followed Sanatan Dharma (eternal duties). We also don’t have a word in Sanskrit, which translates into “religion”. We always believed that all human beings should lead their life dutifully. Religion is very recent phenomenon.

    All rituals of Sanatan Dharma were also based on science. Duties were also divided based on area of expertise. Brahmin’s duty being spreading knowledge, doing research; Kshatriya’s duty being protection of people, maintaining peace, and so on. And of course, one does not become expert by birth. So, no one was Brahmin or Kshatriya by birth, each one had to prove their mantle before taking up any responsibility.

    ओम शांति: शांति: शांति: ।

  • thanks for well researched write up. commies n pseudo sickulars have been misguiding our countrymen for too long.its an eyeopener for our younger generation . thanks again

  • The new writing establishes a fact that Hind is only a territorial name and not a religious name.

  • Valid information.Highlighted the word “HIND”wonderfully by elaborating and giving it an insight meaning.
    Thanks for such an enlightment.

  • I agree with Baskar that the word Hindu has only territorial significance and this is consistent with the epigraphic evidence.

    However regarding the Sanskrit literature, the first evidence of Sanskrit is an inscription dating around 150 AD which records the repair of a dam originally built by Chandragupta Maurya. It is at Girnar in Kathiawar on the same rock on which the Fourteen Rock Edicts of Asoka were also found. The absence of Sanskrit in Asoka’s inscriptions which include Greek and Aramaic indicates that Sanskrit did not exist in his time. From the 5th c AD, Sanskrit becomes the dominant language in the inscriptions.

    Hence the Gita and other Sanskrit literature were written later and cannot be used as evidence.

    • I think your information is wrong.Sanskrit, as a written language is in existence from the times of Ramayana and the oral tradition is much earlier.And, regarding the Ashoka evidences, the most honest thing that we can do is to ignore them: it is to that extent that Indian history has been misinterpreted.(There is an increasing consensus, that a king named Ashoka may have not existed at all.)Sanskrit literature is as old as 3rd millennium B.C–Satapatha Brahmana and many other Upanishads belong to much earlier period.This means that, Sanskrit was in use–in literary,intellectual expressions, as well as daily use–since, at least for 5000 years; even though, empirical evidence may not indicate this.Also, we are witnessing a GREAT change–through empirical observations,scientific findings–in Indian History, let us be open minded.(Note:Wikipedia is not a reliable source for Ancient Indian History, just to add.)
      Thank You

      • @Charan,

        Ashoka very well did exist. He is a real historical figure as seen in his inscriptions.
        Sanskrit existed long before 150 AD. Alex the Christian is wrong.

        Sanskrit works and writings exist before 150 AD such as Rig Veda which dates to 2000 BC.
        Panini’s grammatical work called Ashtadhyayi dated to 500 BC ect. Sanskrit was always a
        living language throughout Indian history.

  • You tried very hard to give information about hindu its a eye opener for them who don’t know about hindu dharma actually india no need to import any religion here already so many great idea about great religious opinion already moves around us.

  • This wonderful article blasts the myth that Hindu h in Persian. It has helped me to understand that Skt. sh > h in Kashmiri not because of any Persian influence as is made out by some pseudo-scholars. It occurs in Saurashtra region of modern day Gujrat as well, as it happens in Assamese and is an ancient Indian linguistic phenomenon.

  • My misconceptions about ” Hindu ” from Sindhu, is cleared. Thanks a Million time, as i read it your convincing research, which must have taken lots of time & refering to libraries ,in short incredible work you have done—I really Thankful to YOU SIR.

  • Very informative, turkish, persians … had arabic names like omar, Mohammed… even before Islam was founded .
    The place on the eastern side of Indus river was called H-indu-stan
    indu – indus river
    stan – means place in sanskrit and other languages
    H, S – for Hindu in many languages, Sindu in sanskrit both means same

  • Thanks…for clearing my doubts regarding term’Hindu.

  • The original Sanskrit passages containing the term ‘hindu’ should have been given.Anyhow the usage of the term in ancient texts is too scarce.It certainly was not a common term,either Does it really matter what Sanatana Dharma was called in ancient times? The culture of Bharatvarsha never gave any importance to names. We dont know the names of several of the authors of several great works in Sanskrit. We are not sure if Vyasa was a person or a title. It is the essence of our culture not to give importance to names,for nothing was done for fame. What is urgently required is to save the ancient Dharma of this land,and revive and relive its values. And this can be done only by those who dont want a name.The greatest obstacle in the way is the adversity generated within Hinduism against itself.It is the urgent necessity to find out the reasons for this animosity of the Hindus against against their own religion,and to remove the wrong notions,and find remedies where necessary. The greatest threat are mainly the so-called secularists.The threat from other religions can easily be neutralised if we can deal with the secularists. The worst enemy of Hinduism is within. It is

  • Very enlightening indeed…! I’ll certainly spread the knowledge…
    Yogesh Lajmi

  • Exactly! They have to understand that the ved was prior to all teachings and In the ved we call ourselves arya not hindu!! And it definitely does matter mostly because this misconception is one of the rooth problems within our ‘indian civilisation’. If what the author said about the meaning of hindu was true why the helll did they beheaded them at hindukush?? Tell me why all those ‘hindu’ saints and all those beautifull people as they so claimed to have seen us, were butchered??? The fact of the matter is that the people who were called hindu by other tribes were being assaulted for there knowledge of the divine. We’ve tried to teach them for example: the reason buddha(indian prince) went out of his kingdom is to spread the teachings. Not only that several aryan kings have travelled far across the lands to not only spread the word (litterally the word as sanskrit is the mother of all languages) but also came to the lands bearing gifts like mirrors etc. Also animals and pots and architectic knowledge everything.. So we let the people around us know that we have the knowledge and thus the power. But we called ourselves arya’s which simply means a noble well-thinking human being. Very fast it spread across the globe that to the east there lies a landd full of riches etc. And blinded by their greed they’ve invaded this land. It where the moghuls who first entered the land calling them hindus.. A low form of life not worthy of living because we performed ‘demonic rituals’ in their eyes! They knew we existed on the other side of the himalayas and called the land hindustan!(like afganistan pakistan turmenistan etc. See? No aryan or sanskrit to be found or anything slightly connected with the names of vedic places city’s or rivers) Furthermore after these invasions of several kingdoms and destroying millions of aryans and their temples they now took all the knowledge they could find and made their own religion with the blood still on their hands. And thus islam was created and they were all to convert to the islam or they would be beheaded and send to hell. The main reason why the ved had to be hid and was passed verbally on to the next generations trough memorizing the hymns etc. If you look at it you will see. First of all the islamic tempels and even tajmahal itself is not architected by any arabic or perzi or whatever. They are aryan tempels specifically designed for rudra (shiv). You have different kinds of structures but these are shiv tempels each and everyone of them. Like the author said the uncle had read the ved and then wrote the qitaab! Look at the suryanamaskaar that’s where they took the example from to bow down for the namaas. Even the beards of the aryan kings are so stolen that if a aryan person let a beard grow he will be assumed muslim. They have been very succesfull on several occasions as it comes to destroying the vedic teachings and the ‘hindus'(in their eyes) almost everyone including the’hindus’ think that their hindus. And that despicable word is even used to define our religion. We practisize hinduism??? F*ck hinduism!!! We practisize vedism! And were not hindus we are aryans!!!!