It was almost 9.30pm. I was surfing channels in the idiot box to get something interesting. I got a sms. My colleague (whom I always refer as a kid for her enthusiasm) asked me, 'why BHARAT is INDIA in English? I sat back for a moment as I had no concrete answer for that. From the very childhood I thought as British people ruled us they might have given the name. I started rethinking…….then if they have to give a name then why they chose 'India' as the name? Is there any specific reason behind it? Is there anything worth knowing? This prompted me to google few articles and reports on the current blog.
Browsing through the time line, we can find out so many early civilizations like Persian civilization, Indus valley civilization, Harappa civilization etc. The entire Indus civilization denote to the culture that had developed along its valleys of the seven rivers named Indus, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, Jhelum, Beas and the now extinct River Saraswati and the area it covered used to be called Sapta Sindhu i.e. the land of seven rivers (Sindhu means river in Sanskrit).
The Mughals (from Persian civilization) invaded and conquered this valley and kept the name 'INDUS' to identify their conquered region. About 2500 years ago, when the Greeks first reached the river plains of Punjab, they borrowed the name of the region from the Persians and simply modified it to Indos. Indos later morphed into Indus in Latin by which name the river is still known in the West. The Romans began to call the whole land mass after this river and thus the name India came to stay which has been the form used by Europeans over the ages.
The English term is from Greek Indía (Ἰνδία) [About 2500 years ago, when the Greeks first reached the river plains of Punjab, they borrowed the name of the region from the Persians and simply modified it to Indos], via Latin India [Indos later morphed into Indus in Latin by which name the river is still known in the West].
Iindía in Byzantine (Koine Greek) ethnography denotes the region beyond the Indus (Ἰνδός) river, since Herodotus (5th century BC) ἡἸνδική χώρη "Indian land", Ἰνδός "an Indian", from Avestan Hinduš (referring to Sindh, and listed as a conquered territory by Darius I in the Persepolis terrace inscription). The name is derived ultimately from Sindhu, the Sanskrit name of the river, but also meaning "river" generically. Latin India is used by Lucian (2nd century).
The name India was known in Anglo-Saxon, and was used in King Alfred's translation of Orosius. In Middle English, the name was, under French influence, replaced by Ynde or Inde, which entered Early Modern English as Indie. The name India then came back to English usage from the 17th century onwards, and may be due to the influence of Latin, or Spanish or Portuguese.
I hope this will help the readers a bit to get a fair overview of the origin of the word INDIA. Please post your views so that I can tell my colleague about the dilemma of India alias Bharat
Note: The above article is compiled with references from internet (several articles). I do not claim the copyright.