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Hindustan (Hindi:हिन्दुस्तान Hindustān ) "land of Hindus", is one of the names of Indiamarker popular in the Middle East.


Hindustan is derived from the word Hindu, which is derived from Sindhumarker, Sanskrit for the Indus Rivermarker. Sindhu is a river in Sanskrit, in Persian it becomes Hindu. This together with a popular suffix -stān (Sanskrit word 'sthāna' meaning place, later turned to 'stan') gave birth to the word Hindustan, which was rendered as Hindusthan. Literally, the word means land of the Hindus

Uses of the word "Hindustan"

Geographical areas

Historically, Hindustan has often been used by Muslims and other Urdu speakers to represent the people of north western Indiamarker and Pakistanmarker, particularly the Indo-Gangetic Plain and Punjab.

The first known use of the term is on an inscription at Naqsh-e Rustammarker. The Farsi inscription, which dates to around 252 CE, was commissioned by the Persianmarker king, Shapur I, and mentions Hindustan as one of the areas over which he rules. In this context, Hindustan likely refers to the lower Indus Valleymarker region in modern day Pakistan rather than the Indian subcontinent.

Further, it may relate to various aspects belonging to three geographical areas: the modern Republic of Indiamarker, the Indian subcontinent during medieval times, or a region in northern India, east and south of the Yamunamarker river, between the Vindhyamarker mountains and the Himalayasmarker where Hindustani languages are spoken.

Culture and ethnicity

The Urdu term Hindustan as opposed it's Hindi counterpart Bharatmarker, retains its importance amongst Islamic people as it gives culture identity to India and the Indian Subcontinent, amidst the varied culture of India. The adjective, Hindustani, used to define the people of Hindustan, their language, Hindustani language, and also their music, Hindustani classical music. The adjective Hindustani is a term broadly applied to the Urdu speaking culture of South Asia, and is also freely used by Urdu speaking Indian Muslims, in the context of their Indo-Islamic heritage.

In the Middle East Hindustani is used as an ethnic term applied to South Asia. In Iran, Hindustan refers to the region (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other South Asian countries) whereas "Hind" refers to the modern Indian republic. The Dutch language sometimes uses the word Hindoestanen to describe any person of South Asian origin.

See also

Further reading

  • A Sketch of the History of Hindustan from the First Muslim Conquest to the Fall of the Mughol Empire by H. G. Keene.
  • STORY OF INDIA THROUGH THE AGES; An Entertaining History of Hindustan, to the Suppression of the Mutiny, by Flora Annie Steel, 1909 E.P. Dutton and Co., New York.
  • The History of Hindustan: Post Classical and Modern, Ed. B.S. Danniya and Alexander Dow. 2003, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 8120819934.


  1. Hindustan The English Historical Review, Vol. 2, No. 5 (Jan., 1887), pp. 180-181.
  2. Flora Annie Steel Book Review, February 20, 1909, New York Times.
  3. History of Hindustan (First published: 1770-1772). Dow had succeeded his father as the private secretary of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

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