Why is India called India?

India is called India because of the River Indus. It is the river Indus that passed its name to India. In Sanskrit, the ancient language of north India, Sindhu means river. To the people of the old settled regions of the north-west, there could naturally be only one “Sindhu.

The Iranians, first cousins of the Sanskrit speaking people of India, transformed Sindhu into hindhu and called the country Hindustan when the trade and war brought the Greeks and Iranians into close touch with each other about 600 B.C., the Greeks for the first time heard of this distant river country in southern Asia, but to suit their own manner of speech they changed the Persian Hindu into Indos.

Later the Romans modified this into Indus. The English, in their turn, kept the Indus for the river and called the country India, or sometimes Hindustan.

According to tradition there was a powerful king in ancient India named Bharata. Hence the name ‘Bharata’ given to our country. This has been authenticated in our Vishnupurana where it has been specifically mentioned that the country that lies north of the seas and south of the Himalayas as “Bharatavarsha”. According to some, Bharata was the name of an ancient tribe and the descendants of Bharata were termed Bharata-santati.

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