Proposal: Hinduism

Before the British invasion of Bharat, there was no term called Hinduism, this term was introduced by britishers.

The Sanskrit name for Indus river is "Sindhu" and with the coming of Arabic speakers to India around 1000 CE the term "hindu" first appeared. Arabic speakers pronounced "sindhu" as "hindu" and used the word to refer to those living on the other side of the Indus River. SO, the word hindu is used to refer to Geographic location and not to a religion.

Its more appropriate to use the word 'Sanatana Dharma' than the word given to us by Britishers. So, the word 'Hinduism' is not correct to use here.

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    No, because that would mean renaming Physics.SE as Natural Philosophy. Have a look at WP:COMMONNAME Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 8:30

10 Answers 10


I am not sure about who coined the term 'HINDUISM'. But even before the advent of the British Colonial Empire, Hinduism existed. This is very clear from the historical facts which state that during the rule of Muslim sultanate in India, various Hindu kings fought against their supremacy. This establishes the fact that Hinduism, as a religion, existed long before the British Raj.

It is true that the word 'HINDU' was originally used to refer to the people living along the Indus river. But, at present, it is widely being used to refer to the people following 'Sanathana Dharma' (or Hinduism). This might possibly because of the Muslim invaders who came to India from middle east Asia, who were used to mentioning the people as Hindus.

Over the course of time, the name stuck and is still in existence. It might cause confusion to newcomers if it is mentioned by a name not known widely. Besides, there is already a site coming up with the name 'Sanathan Dharma/Hinduism'. It may well be merged with our site if we get to the next phase quickly. May be, we can decide the final name then. Until then, it is good to continue with the same name.

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    can you please provide a reference to the historical facts which state that various HINDU KINGS fought against their supremacy I would like to know about writers who used the term HINDU KINGS first. Just asking out of curiosity
    – DroidDev
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 5:17
  • I have read any historical manuscripts and so I don't know who used the term HINDU KINGS first. But, I assume that as soon as the muslim invasion started in India, the then ruling kings were called so by the invaders. Have you ever heard about Chatrapthi Shivaji and why he opposed the Mughal rulers? The main reason why he fought them was to re-establish Hindu rule in India. In the very beginning of Muslim invasion, the invaders like Ghazni and Ghori had to fight the Hindu Rajput kings. You can find Wikipedia article about shivaji here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chhatrapati_Shivaji... Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 6:15
  • ... and about Rajput resistance to muslim invasion here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajput_resistance_to_Muslim_conquests. An article about Mughal-Maratha wars is here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mughal%E2%80%93Maratha_Wars. Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 6:18
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    Thanks a lot for detailed clarifications, now i can fully agree with your point that word HINDU existed before Britishers
    – DroidDev
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 6:20
  • The word Hindu existed long way back - The Sanskrit name for Indus river is "Sindhu" and with the coming of Arabic speakers to India around 1000 CE the term "hindu" first appeared. The difference is 'Hindu' was used to refer Geographical location and 'Hinduism' termed by britishers.
    – Mohit
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 4:18
  • I will persistently petition to change the site name, because "Hinduism" is such a misnomer. I think, "vedic culture" is the best, but "sanatana dharma" is also good and "Bharata" is still better than "hinduism".
    – MKaama
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 11:21

Remember, this is primarily an English speaking network, so the site names are in English as well. Japansese.SE is "Japanese Language and Usage", not "Nipponjin ...". The same goes for Judaism.SE: While its site brand/name is "Mi Yodeya" (who knows?), the site domain is "Judaism.SE" (I think that it's "yehudah" in Hebrew). Besides that, a lot more people (including many Hindus!) know the word "Hindu" and not the word "Santana Dharma" -- "Hindu" has crept into most of the vernacular languages. Which means that we have more visibility if the site name is "Hinduism".

If/when the site graduates, we may be able to get a site brand (similar to "mi yodeya") that reflects this.

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    That would be great. My other concern is that hindu/hinduism has always been a culture and not a religion but the site description says 'Hindu religion'. its better if we enlighten young generation about hinduism being a culture and no need to get involved in religion fights.
    – Mohit
    Commented Sep 8, 2013 at 6:10

"Hinduism 'was' not a religion before britishers came to Bharat?" Now also Hindusim(Sanathana Dharma) 'is' not a religion, it is a CULTURE. Still most of us call it as a religion, this has to be changed and this S.E site will surely helps in redefining this.


There is a difference between 'Dharma' and Religion. Dharma means "duty in accord with the cosmic order" and Religion means "The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods". Hence there is a huge gap between Sanatana Dharma and Hinduism.

Sanatana Dharma had scientific explanation for what believed and they proved it but Hinduism which had Mughal and British influence is filled with lot of misconceptions and superstitions which has no scientific evidence but can give some logical explanation.

So before the British rule there was Sanatana Dharma and after their rule it's Hindu religion.

  • "dharma" literally means "stability" or "stabilizing agent". "dhar" means "to hold", "to support". So, sanatana dharma rather means "eternal peace" or "eternal order". We need this site to explain that to the larger public.
    – MKaama
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 11:27

The issue here is largely one of language. This will be an English language site and it only stands to reason that the best terminology to use are the mostly widely used English terms.

In this case "Hinduism" is a widely used and known label to English language speakers and will have the most understood label to use. The existence of a more accurate term used internally is irrelevant to the correctness of the more general term. For that, a trip to a dictionary or encyclopedia is evidence enough.

Tell you what: lobby Wikipedia and half a dozen reputable English language dictionaries and Encyclopedias to change their terminology, then SE would be happy to follow suit.


You are referring to the native term. Even if the word Hinduism was invented by Brithishers, there was no term before in English language, and now that term is well rooted and commonly understood. The proposal is in English language, so it's better to stick to the term that is commonly understood by English-speaking audience.

I understand your drive to correct the 'invalid' language terms, but sometimes it's just not working that way. Consider you are German. Well, you are not, because there's no such nationality as German. There are Deutsche. And poor beasts, in every language they are called other way. Should they fight to correct 'invalid' term 'Germany'?


Hinduism got its origin from Aryans, that existed almost 4000 years ago. Thats what is told about the forefathers of Hinduism, Krishan (Prophet for Hindus; whom they call avatar of Lord Vishnu) was born in 3228 BC(If I am not wrong). That makes sense, just to clarify that Hinduism was existed before the forefathers of Britains were even born.

You start calling it Hinduism that doesnot make sense in changing the religion. The religion is same, you just use names to call it! What matters is the belief.

Also brother, thats just what they like to call you! Its not what you want yourself to be called. You can call yourself what ever your want yourself to be called as.

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    There is a clarification to be made.There are no prophets for Hindus. A lot many avatars are there before Krishna. For example Sreerama was born a lot and lot years before Krishna in Thretha yuga. I agree with you on your other views. Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 20:45
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    Well I know Hindus don't have any prophet, so I have added the word Avatar. I have a girlfriend who belong to Hindu religion, so I know much what about you guys :D But still you guys would know alot about yourself. Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 22:08

The name was coined by "Britishers". Hinduism is not just a religion. It is practise of life, how to live, why to live, and it is a dharma. It is Snatana Dharma which means a practise of life which does not have an origin. It is from time immemorial. We can not reduce it to an ordinary term "Religion" which means belief in god. The site is ok, but it must be renamed to "sanatana Dharma(Hinduism)"


You already have an accepted answer to your question, but still I would like to enlighten you with my limited knowledge with the aid of an article I came across few months back

Situating the Gentoo in History

This article would walk-through you, as to how, Vasco da Gama on reaching Calicut, were able to identify the two tribes, one who were non natives but wealthy, into profession like traders, sailors and traders, and the other were the native inhabitants, whom he thought practiced a peculiar form of Christianity and called them Gentios. Like Portuguese, the Early English adopted the name for the local inhabitants to be Gentios but little variations were adopted where it finally ended up to be Gentoo. Later, when the Englishmen realized that the local natives were actually following a separate religion not a form of Christianity, and divided the inhabitants into three categories. The Idolators, the Indian Nestorians and the Indian Christians. The Idolators were sub-dived furthers into sects, the primary being Bramhins. NB Halhred was the first European to assume, the religion of Bramhins was Hindu. In 1773, East India Company's President and the Council ordered to compile the Gentoo and Mohammedan Code of Law and in March 1774, NB Halhred was commissioned for the task which he completed in 1776. In that book he used the term Gentoo to depicts the class of people who knew the laws and used the term Hindu to express the religion of those people. The Book was titled, Gentoo Laws


I don't think that we should say Hinduism wasn't a religion before British Empires, it was always, yet the way of saying should be different. We never new before there is anything like religion, or there are other people around this world with different ideologies and ways of living. When Mughals came here they named us Hindus on the bases of there Ideologies and we accepted that name, leaving 'Sanatan Dharma' behind.

From then the distruction of Gurukul system started, hence weakening about our knowledge about the world, the GOD and even our own 'Sanatan Dharma', embarking new rotten thinking among us like caste system, and sati system.

These small problems our culture make Hinduism some what different than Sanatan Dharma, yet both are same, just changed through time.

Saying that it wasn't before britisher would be rude.

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