Wednesday, November 30th, 2022 09:24:40

Word Hindu has no Islamic or Persian roots

By Ambassador OP Gupta retd
Updated: November 25, 2022 9:23 am

People who accept the Vedas as their supreme divine scriptures are globally known as Hindus. Some persons assert that the word Hindu does not appear in any of Hindu religious scriptures, and, that this adjective as a collective identity for people living on the east of the Sindhu river in India was first imposed by the eighth century Arab Muslim invaders. Some writers suggest that the word Hindu is Persian pronunciation of Sindhu as according to such writers Persians pronounce S as H which Muslim Arab invaders of eighth century AD picked up for people living on the east of river Sindhu. This interpretation is incorrect as there is S in Persian which is pronounced as s in Persian language. In fact an Arabic alphabet (ح) is pronounced as haa so Arabs have no difficulty in pronouncing H. As may be seen below all above assertions alleging foreign origin of  the word Hindu are incorrect.

As shown below the word Hindu does appear in the Holy Rigveda and in many pre-eighth century AD Sanskrit texts.

The people living on the east of river Sindhu in the Indian subcontinent were first collectively called by Zoroastrian people (ancient Iranians or parsee people) as Hindus which continues till date. This collective identity travelled to the west (Iran, Arabia, Greece, Europe etc.) along the spice trade routes. In Vedas the word Sapta Sindhu and the word Sindhu occur. In the Vendidad chapter 1 word haptahindu occurs. It reads: “I, who am Ahura Mazda, created, as the fifteenth country, haptahindu which extends from the east of the Hindu river (Sindhu)………………”. Ahura Mazda is the mighty God in Avesta. Avesta is collection of Zoroastrian religious texts. Its language is called Avestan language which has similarities with Sanskrit language, both being of the Indo-Iranian family. The Avestan Gatha ‘Shatir’, 163rd  Verse mentions the visit of Veda Vyas to Gustashp’s Court and in the presence of Zoroashtra, Veda Vyas  is stated to have introduced himself as ‘man marde am Hind jijad.’ (I am man born in ‘Hind.’). Avesta developed from oral traditions founded by Prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra) sometime during 1500 BC to 1000 BC. In Avestan vocabulary the word Hindu had demographic, geographical identity of people living on the east side of river Sindhu and later it acquired religious dimension also.

The word Hindu occurs in Rig Veda as the second part of the word VIBHINDU in RV (VIII.2.41) by risiMedhatithi , in RV (I.103.3) by risiKutsaAngiras and in RV (I.116.20) by risikakshivan. In RV (VIII.2.41), Vibhindu, a King of Kashi has been praised for gifting 48000 cows to risiMedhatithi. Brihaddevata (6.42) informs that Vibhindu was a king of Kashi. The word vibhindu has been used by three Rig Veda risies implying that the word Hindu was there in vocabulary of Rig Vedic people though not in sense of a collective, demographic or geographical identity for a group of people. There may be more richas in Vedas containing the word Hindu.

शिक्षा विभिन्दो अस्मै चत्वार्ययुता ददत् । अष्टा पर: सहस्रा ॥ H RV (8.2.41)

siksavibhindoasmaicatvaryayutadadat| astaparahsahasra||

“Liberal Vibhindu, you have given to me four times ten thousand, and afterwards eight thousand.”

स जा॒तूभ॑र्मा श्र॒द्दधा॑न॒ ओज॒: पुरो॑  विभि॒न्दन्न॑चर॒द्विदासी॑: ।
वि॒द्वान्व॑ज्रि॒न्दस्य॑वे हे॒तिम॒स्यार्यं॒ सहो॑ वर्धया द्यु॒म्नमि॑न्द्र ।। (RV 1.103.3)

sajatubharmasraddadhanaojahpurovibhindannacarad vi dasih| vidvanvajrindasyavehetimasyaryamsahovardhayadyumnamindra||

परि॑विष्टं जाहु॒षं वि॒श्वत॑:सीं सु॒गेभि॒र्नक्त॑मूहथू॒ रजो॑भि: ।
वि॒भि॒न्दुना॑ नासत्या॒ रथे॑न॒ वि पर्व॑ताँ अजर॒यू अ॑यातम् H RV (1.116.20)

parivistamjahusamvisvatah sim sugebhirnaktamuhathurajobhih| vibhindunanasatyarathena vi parvatamajarayuayatam ||

The Hebrew Bible which is over 300 BC old used word HODU for India which is Judaic form of Hindu. In present day Israel word HODU is still used for India. The Greek term INDOI is soft form of Hindu where H has been dropped and it is in use in Greek from the sixth century BC onwards.

The Ashoka’s inscriptions on stone (third century BC) use word like Hida in Prakrit over 70 times for Hindus and Hidalok for regions Hindus populated. Inscriptions of Persian Kings, Darius and others use word Hidu for Hindus (520-485 BC).

BrihaspatayaAgam (composed during the first century AD to fifth century AD) uses word Hindusthan. It reads: “starting from Himalayas and extending up to the Indian Ocean is the nation build by Gods, Hindusthan.”

हिमालयं समारभ्य यावत् इंदु सरेावरम् ।
तं देवनिर्मितं देशं हिंदुस्थानं प्रचक्षते ॥

Meru Tantra of Shaiva agam (fourth to sixth century AD) uses word Hindu and states

हीनं च दूष्यत्येव हिन्दुरित्युच्चते प्रिये

Heenamchdusyatyevhindurityuchchtepriye (O my dear! one who renounced ignorance and inferiority is called a Hindu) ShabadKalpdrum also uses the word Hindu and gives a definition of a Hindu as under

हीनं दूषयति इति हिन्दू

Heenamdusyatietihindu (one who gives up ignorance and inferiority complex is a Hindu)

The above quoted Sanskrit literature composed before seventh century AD show use of the word Hindu in demographic, geographic and community sense was prevalent much before arrival of Muslim invaders in the Indian sub-continent..

Therefore the adjective Hindu was not imposed on us by Muslim invaders of the eighth century AD. It was first used a few thousand years ago before arrival of Muslim invaders in collective, demographic and geographical sense by the Ancient Iranians or Parsees. The word hindu has no Islamic or Persian roots.

By Ambassador OP Gupta retd

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