ancient

These were our ancestors

Sharing contents of an important E mail received on the subject:-
I don’t really want to start exchanging emails with Chauhan from Sainiksangh, and since you asked me to respond, I’m sending this to you. I hope you don’t mind. My views are:
It is true that different opinions are prevalent on the question of the linguistic origins of the words ‘Hindu’ , ‘India’ and ‘Indian’. Actually, even on ‘Bharatiya’, ‘Hindustan’ and ‘Hindutva’.
‘Hindu’ , ‘India’ and ‘Indian’ all originate from the Sindhu River, which also gives its name to the Sind region (now in Pakistan). ‘Sindhu’ is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘the sea’ and was used since ancient times. The ancient Chinese called India ‘Shendu’ (Shindhu in Bengali) after the Sindhu. In 126 BC the Chinese traveller Zhang Qian described his travels in Bactria, adding that the market place had products from China & India or ‘Shendu’.
Linguists are well aware that in some languages ‘Sind’ becomes ‘Ind’, and in others ‘Ind’ becomes ‘Hind’. So the Sindhu River became the modern-day River Indus , thanks to the ancient Greeks. The Greek historian Megasthenes (5th century BC) used the word ‘India’ to mean the land east of the Indus River. The Greeks called the Hindu Kush ‘Caucuses Indicus’ or ‘Indian Caucuses’.
In Arabic ‘Al Hind’ means ‘India’ because the Arabs mispronounced ‘India’. The word ‘Hindustan’, meaning ‘land of the Hindus’ or ‘India’ came about very much later (by the 13th century).
Chauhan says ‘be proud of our ancestors’ and that ‘they were not Hindus’. I am certainly proud of those great men and women who gave us all our sacred Literature – Vedic and post-Vedic. Within this Literature I count also all the wonderful sacred texts that are Jain, Buddhist and Sikh. They may not have called themselves ‘Hindus’, but I do when I speak of them in English. But I also call them Sanatana Dharma followers.
Our Vedic ancestors would have called our religion ‘Sanatana Dharma’ and ‘Arya Dharma’, as ‘Hindu’ from the word ‘Sindhu’ would have denoted a geographical term to them. But language is dynamic and so it is constantly evolving. So today those who use the word ‘Hindu’, no longer use it in a geographical sense, so why turn back the clock? By ‘Hindu’ they mean a follower of Sanatana Dharma. I see nothing wrong in this. I may prefer the term ‘Sanatana Dharma’, but ‘Hindu Dharma’ is also fine. During British times, ‘Hindu Dharma’ became Hinduism because in English any religion is an ‘ism’. So when we are speaking in English, it is interchangeable to say ‘Sanatana Dharma’ and ‘Hinduism’. But in the indigenous languages of India, it doesn’t make much sense to talk of ‘Hinduism’ when we have perfectly good terms like ‘Sanatana Dharma’ and ‘Arya Dharma’. Swami Vivekananda, one of the greatest modern exponents of Sanatana Dharma, was the first to popularise the term ‘Hinduism’ when he spoke in English in the 19th century.
Incidentally, another related term with a different meaning, ‘Hindutva’, was first coined by Chandranath Basu and popularised by the politician & freedom fighter Veer Savarkar in the 21st century.
Amit, my friend, I hope this clarifies things a little. But Chauhan is perfectly at liberty to hold on to his own views and I would not wish to waste my time debating with him.
Joy Maa Shakti!
Debjani

Sir,
I admire you for clarity of thinking and conveying so much in so few words.
The line, “Hinduism, one of the ancient religions, is on the decline.”, is the most eloquent explanation for the repeated surrenders of LAND and SOULS plus the loss of unity, identity and MANHOOD (and the perpetual rule of FOREIGNERS over us).

If there is wisdom among the current leaders, they will now know what needs to be done on highest priority.

regards
Rajput

,

Appreciate the review by Debjani ji,

Once again, I am attaching the book written 26 years ago, while researching in the very well stocked library of Staff College during the fag end of my career, as additional reading material.

May I draw your attention to the Chapter on “Secularism” that not only covers “Hindu and Hinduism” but also Islam, Christianity and Sikhism.

My finding is simple. Hinduism, one of the ancient religion, is on the decline. To save, consolidate and advance it in the land of its origin, it must reform internally which is not easy due to caste rigidity.

More importantly, the cash rich temples of Hinduism must fund construction of “Temples” with schools and medical facilities in the same complex in each Panchayat like what the Churches and Convents co-existing.

Best wishes,

Yours Sincerely

G B Reddy

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