Why is it named “India”?

Since time immemorial, the great peninsula which lies below the Himalayas has been referred to as “India” while the habitants of this land called it “Bharata” or “Hindustan”. “Bharata” because of the name of the King who ruled it and “Hindustan” because it was considered the land of Hindus several centuries ago.

The name “India” is actually derived out of the word “Indus” which is the name of a river. The Indus river is the anglicized name for river Sindhu, which flows in the western part of the landmass (it is in Pakistan today). Sindhu in sanskrit means river and the Rigveda refers frequently to it. The Persian explorers had begun calling this land as “The land beyond river Sindhu” which became “Land beyond Indus” and later shortened to “India”.

One of the earliest references to the name “India” can be traced back to the Greeks and Persians way back in 5th century BC. So the name “India” is atleast 2500 years old!!

As you would have noticed in an earlier story, a 2200 year old world map (reconstructed) depicts “India”:

The documentary titled “Story of India” is strongly recommended and a must watch for every Indian. It is a beautifully presented documentary by the famous & neutral historian Michael Wood from BBC showcasing the 10,000 year history of India.


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