Meaning of Hindu

The word Hindu is not a religious word. It is a secular in origin. It is derived from the word Sindhu,which is the name of a major river that flows in the north western regionof the Indian subcontinent. The ancient Greeks and Armenians used to referthe people living beyond the river Sindhuas Hindus and gradually the name struck. When the Muslims came to the subcontinent they called the people living in the region as Hindustanis to distinguish them from the foreign Muslims. Subsequently when the British established their rule, they started calling the local religions collectively under the name of Hinduism. 

It is interesting to note that the word is neither Sanskrit nor Dravidian anddid not originate in India. It was not used by Indians in their descriptions or writings till the 17th century. If we go by the original definition of the word Hindu, any one who lives in the subcontinent is aHindu and whatever religion he or she practices is Hinduism. The word Hindu is a secular word and literally translated it means Indian and the word Hinduism denotes any religion or religions that are practiced by themultitude of people living in the land beyond the river Indus.