Skip to main content

Who is a Hindu? Hinduism and Sanathan Dharma - Explained

The term 'Hindu' brings an image of people in India generally. Thus, people across the world consider Indians as Hindu. In India - locally - however, there is a huge confusion. People in India have been categorized as Hindu, Muslim, Christian etc by the lawmakers and intellectuals. It means Hindu is regarded a religion in India, or Hindustan, as it is known.

The elements of Hindustan

Hindustan Explained: Who is a Hindu?

If you deconstruct the word 'Hindustan', you get 'Hindu' + 'sthan' (place). Combined, it means 'place of Hindus'. Here is when the confusion really begins. Certain sections of India (Hindustan) think that the country really belongs to Hindus - a religion called Hindu. But who is a Hindu? How do you define a Hindu?

Prior to Supreme Court's ruling saying Hindu is not a religion, Savarkar came up with the word 'Hindutva' (हिंदुत्व) to represent the way Indians live. A Hindu can be anyone who finds his or her roots in India. The word "Hindu" is based loosely on the river Indu (of Indus valley civilization fame). Thus, people belonging to the place around Indus river should be Hindus - irrespective of their religious beliefs.

Around the same time, when colonial possession of India was in full swing, the British termed the local people as Hindus - and coined the word "Hinduism". They used the word 'Hinduism' to refer to the set of values followed by the locals of India. By then, there were already Muslims and Christians in India - and others like Buddhists and Jains. The same thing but with a different name - Hindustani - was used by Mongols and Mughals who attacked India time and again to loot and ruled it prior to the British.

Thus, Hindustan refers to place in and around Indus valley. In modern context, however, it refers to India. The term Hindustan is used mostly by the Arabic countries and countries around India that were initially part of India before the British divided it. The Eastern and Western world use the name 'India' to refer to this country of multiple religions and beliefs. I hope it explains who is a Hindu.

Summary: Who is a Hindu

Thinking in the above terms, a Hindu is a person who lives or has roots in the Indus valley civilization. The term Hindu has nothing to do with any religion - except that it is highly confused with the "Sanatan Dharma", a religion that most people in India follow. Sanathan Dharma too has its own values and books as is the case with any other religion. There are a set of rules, sacred books and of course, it too is misinterpreted and misused by the powerful for their own benefits.

People inside India confuse Sanatan Dharma with Hindu. But that is not the case as explained above. A Hindu can be a person following Sanatan Dharma, or following Islam or Christianity. A Hindu can be a Buddhist, Jain, agnostic or even an atheist. The only criteria for being a Hindu is that the person should consider the area around Indus valley is where his or her roots lie.

Extremists are there in every religion and they do cause a lot of damage. As such, the misadventures of extremists in Sanatan Dharma has led to the confusion that Hindu is a religion whereas in reality, it is just an identity based on the place to where the person belongs. In other words, Hindu is just a geographical identity.


Problem with the above post? Send us an email

Popular on Powercut Media

Best app for Android phones - Clean Master from Cheetah Mobile

After five years of testing different multipurpose apps for Android maintenance, I realize Clean Master from Cheetah Mobile is the best maintenance app for Android phones. Not only maintenance, Clean Master offers you much more than you can expect from a single app.

For a while, it felt the "All in One for Android" is good. But turned out it leaves out add-ins even after you remove it. What is available in single code in Clean Master of Cheetah Mobile, is available as add-ins in All in One app for Android. When you uninstall All in One app, the add-ins continue to run in RAM. I could not find any method to remove them as they were not visible in any App Managers. I had to do a factory reset and that was when my doubts were removed and I acknowledged Clean Master of Cheetah Mobile is the best option for Android phones.



Lock Screen
Here are features at a glance. Let's start from Lock Screen. Replacing your phone lock screen, you can set up Clean Master Lock Screen. It help…

Analysis of Mahabharata Characters - Bhishma

Bhishma is one of the powerful characters of the epic, Mahabharata that contains and shows a pious way of life to the mortals living on earth. I am starting this Analysis of Mahabharata Characters with Bhishma as he is the oldest character in the epic/saga and has tremendous influence on the other characters of Mahabharata. Bhishma was the son of king Shantanu and Ganga (the river Ganges in female form). Bhishma was considered one of the eight Vasus (rishis) who had to take birth on earth due to a curse. Before we analyze the character, let us take a quick look at the story of Bhishma according to the Mahabharata.
Background Of Bhishma Bhismha is considered one of the eight Vasus who stole a cow named Kamadhenu from a sage. When the sage cursed them to take birth as humans, all Vasus asked for his forgiveness. The sage, for seven Vasus who helped the main Vasu to steal the cow, reduced the curse to death just after birth. However, the main Vasu who actually stole the cow was to stay …

Smart Artificial Intelligence Dangers - What is Musk doing?

🛰When Stephen Hawkings said human race has the biggest threat from its own scientists, he was not totally wrong.
Elon Musk, of Tesla Motors, is going a bit too far with his science obsession. I can understand electric cars & Hyperloop transportation. I can also understand with his space ferrying plans where he has proposed to ferry people to the moon and back. Was it a space elevator? I can't recall.
Anyway, his team dealing with artificial intelligence has found that their machines have developed their own language for communicating with each other.
This is scary, because even animals on this planet can make certain sounds only, to express their feelings. None other than the humans have a full set of words that can be used for anything. And it is not restricted to few sounds with varying pitch. It is a whole complicated language.
Now Musk's team working on artificial intelligence says it has discovered that the machines in their experimental network, are using differen…