The name, the name

The word India, it turns out, came from the wrong pronunciation of the word Hindu, the old Persian word for Sindhu. It was later further wrongly pronounced as Indos by the Greeks, who had similar speech problems and then the Romans started calling the whole region India to save the bother.

The Sanskrit word “sindhu” means ‘sea’.(Please read the link given earlier completely for clarification) Apparently, some bright ancestors of ours (who, to be fair to them, had probably never seen the sea), mistook the big and broad Indus river for the sea.

So, the name of our country is a triple mispronunciation of a wrongly identified water body.

Somehow, in a weird sort of way, it explains a lot.

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4 Responses

  1. Hi, nice one. u seem to be VELA and seem to have access to wikipedia a lot these days

  2. The Sanskrit word “sindhu” means ’sea’

    Close, but no cigar. The sanskrit word sindhu usually refers to any large water body and particularly to rivers as opposed to the sea(samudra) seen in words like anusamudra (beach/coast) “samudrayave sindhava” (as rivers to the sea). Infact, the most common usage is in the “sapta-sindu” form meaning seven rivers.. So sindhu is a general name for big river.

    So the name of our country is the common noun form a grossly mispronounced but correctly identified water body.

  3. Sorry for the late reply.
    Close, but still no cigar…as mentioned in the wikipedia article (admittedly, a slightly dodgy reference) Sindhu also means the Ocean…and any large water body (not just a big river). And there are references to that usage such as ‘aasindhusindhu paryant’ (from one Sea to the other), a geographical east west definition of India.
    At most, the name of our country is the common noun of a grossly mispronounced and non-defined water body…

  4. ‘aasindhusindhu paryant’ (from one Sea to the other), a geographical east west definition of India.

    Interesting, I’ve never seen aasindhusindhu being translated like that.. referring to the bay of bengal and arabian sea. (the one occurance that I do know, in RV8, is usually translated as between the Indus and Saraswati or between the Ganges and Saraswati.)

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