Hindustan - how the name came about to be

There is a recent push to rename India as Hindustan. I wonder if people who want India to be renamed as "Hindustan" even know the origins and the extent of it ?

I initially started searching for the roots because anything <>stan does not seem to be indigenous to the Hindu religious wording - its more Islamic. And true to it, the region on the other side of the Indus was called Hindustan by the Persians.

In 4 BC, when Megasthenes visited India, he wrote Indika - his book on India. Its interesting that in 4th BC, the name used was Indika and not Hindustan - which is closer to the term India that the Brits used. It could be that the term Indika was still being used in Europe at the time that they started to trade with this region.

By the 13th century, the region on the other side of the Indus were called Al Hind, and the "stan" started creeping in and was called Hindustan - to denote the region - not a particular country or state. This I would attribute to the standard Arab terminology. We usually put a "pur" or a "halli" or something similar in the local dialect, and the Arabs just gave their own name to it.

The British and other European merchants in the 18th Century then started trying to figure out the name for the religion. There was not one unified religion - everyone had their own ways of worship. This concept of polytheism was alien to these guys, so they clubbed together everything and started denoting the pagan worshipers as Hindus. Essentially, if you were not a follower of monotheist religion ( Christian or Islam ) you by default were a Hindu.

One more interesting thing is the extent of Hindustan. It did not cover the entire Indian peninusla. The extent was till the Vindyas in the mid of current day India - essentially, the lands of the Indo gangetic plains, demarcated by the seas of the mountains on the sides. Made a lot of sense I suppose in the earlier centuries for people traveling, and also percolation of the same customs throughout due to ease of traveling ( apart from the jungles at that time).

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