The term ‘Hindu’ refers to all persons who are part of the religion of Hinduism. But interestingly enough, this is the modern connotation of the word. The origin of the word is quite different from today’s interpretation of it.
It all began in a time where the Persians invaded the lands, inhabiting the rich lands west of the River Sindhus, the modern-day river Indus. The word ‘Sindhu’ means ‘sea’, and in the time they resided these lands, the Persians referred to all the inhabitations on the other side of the river ‘Sindhus’. But due to the interchangeability of the letter’s ‘s’ and ‘h’ in the Persian language, ‘Sindhus’ soon filtered down to ‘Hindus’, and thus the term was born.
Moving on into the era of the Greeks, Alexander the great and his entire army took over the lands west of the river Sindhus, and because his soldiers found it difficult to pronounce the name of the river, he declared that the ‘S’ would be dropped, and the river was since called Indus. They had heard from the predecessors before them the term ‘Hindus’ referring to the people on the other side, and the word along with its wrong pronunciation stuck.
In the 8th century, with the entry of the Arabs, the term took a different course. When they came in, the term Hindu had already originated. But now, the word Hindu was used by them as a generic designation assigned to all non-Muslims, thus converting it into a religious concept.
With the people of the land being Hindus, the land itself coined the name Hindustan. Hinduism also originated from the word Hindus, which referred to the people practicing idol-worship. Before the existence of this word, the walk of the Vedic path was called ‘Santana Dharma’. The word Hindus, though it can from various different origins, is a word that unites us and ties us together, forming a united front.