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Hindus are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism. Historically, the term has also been used as a geographical, cultural, and later religious identifier for people living in the Indian subcontinent.


  • The symptom of the kings being the protectors of religion is this:- When they see a Hindu, their eyes grow red and they wish to bury him alive; they also desire to completely uproot the Brahmans, who are the leaders of kufr and shirk and owning to whom kufr and shirk are spread and the commandments of kufr are enforced…
    • Ziauddin Barani, Tarikh-i-Firuzshahi. citing Shykh Nuruddin Mubarak Ghaznavi . Quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India. ISBN 9788185990231
  • The Hindus believe with regard to God that he is one, eternal, without beginning and end, acting by free-will, almighty, all-wise, living, giving life, ruling, preserving; one who in his sovereignty is unique, beyond all likeness and unlikeness, and that he does not resemble anything nor does anything resemble him.
    • Al-Biruni, Alberuni's India, vol. I, p. 27, quoted in James W. Laine, “The dharma of Islam and the dīn of Hinduism: Hindus and Muslims in the age of Śivājī”, International Journal of Hindu Studies, vol. 3, no. 3, 1999.
  • The Hindus believe that there is no country but theirs, no nation like theirs, no king like theirs, no religion like theirs, no science like theirs.
    • Al-Biruni, Alberuni's India, quoted from K.S. Lal, Indian Muslims who are they, 1990
  • The Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions, and like a tale of old in the mouth of the people.
    • Alberuni's India, vol. I, p. 22. Also quoted (in part) in Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts.
  • A Hindu is a born mystic, and the luxuriant nature of his country has made him a zealous pantheist.
  • The PM said the Hindus were a foul race ... and he wished Bert Harris could send some of his surplus bombers to destroy them.
  • Eventually, the Moslems will become master, because they are warriors, while the Hindus are windbags.
  • Were we to wash our hands of all responsibility and divest ourselves of all our powers, as our sentimentalists desire, ferocious civil wars would speedily break out between the Moslems and the Hindus. No one who knows India will dispute this. But that is not the end. The Brahmins know well that they cannot defend themselves against the Moslems. The Hindus do not possess among their many virtues that of being a fighting race. The whole south of India is peopled with races deserving all earnest solicitude and regard, but incapable of self-defence. It is in the north alone that the fighting races dwell. Bengal, for instance, does not send from her forty-five million inhabitants any soldiers to the native army. The Punjab is a place where fighting races dwell|, on the other hand, and the Pathans, together with the Ghurkas and the Sikhs, who are entirely exceptional sects of Hindus, all dwelling in the north, furnish three-quarters of the entire army in the time of peace, and furnished more than three-quarters of it in time of war. There can be no doubt therefore that the departure of the British from India, which Mr. Gandhi advocates, and which Mr. Nehru demands, would be followed first by a struggle in the North and thereafter by a reconquest of the South by the North, and of the Hindus by the Moslems.
  • At least by the time of Albiruni (early 11th century), the word Hindu had a distinct religio-geographical meaning: a Hindu is an Indian who is not a Muslim, Jew, Christian or Zoroastrian. (...) A Buddhist, a Jain, a tribal, they were all included in the semantic domain of the term Hindu. Though the early Muslim writers in India had noticed a superficial difference between Brahmins and Buddhists, calling the latter 'clean-shaven Brahmins', they did not see an opposition between 'Hindus and Buddhists' or between 'Hindus and tribals', nor did later Muslim rulers see an opposition between 'Hindus and Sikhs'. On the contrary, Albiruni lists Buddhists among the idolatrous Hindu sects. (...)
    India's Constitution does not give a definition of the term Hindu, but it does define to whom the 'Hindu Law' applies. It has to do this because in spite of its pretence to secularism, the Indian Constitution allows Muslims, Christians and Parsis a separate Personal Law. .... Article 25 (2)(b) of the Constitution stipulates that 'the reference to Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing the Sikh, Jain or Buddhist religion'. The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 goes in greater detail to define [the term 'Hindu' in legal terms], by stipulating in Section 2 that the Act applies:
    '(a) to any person who is a Hindu by religion in any of its forms and developments, including a Virashaiva, a Lingayat or a follower of the Brahmo, Prarthana or Arya Samaj,
    '(b) to any person who is a Buddhist, Jain or Sikh by religion, and
    '(c) to any other person domiciled in the territories to which this Act extends who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion.
    This definition of the 'legal Hindu', though explicitly not equating him with the 'Hindu by religion', is exactly coterminous with the original Islamic use of the term Hindu: all Indian Pagans are legally Hindus.
    • Constitution of India, Hindu Marriage Act, cited in Paras Diwan: Modern Hindu Law, Ch.1., and quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism. ISBN 978-8185990743
  • The word Indian will be used in this Book as applying to India in general; the word Hindu, for variety’s sake, will occasionally be used in the same sense, following the custom of the Persians and the Greeks; but where any confusion might result, Hindu will be used in its later and stricter sense, as referring only to those inhabitants of India who (as distinct from Moslem Indians) accept one of the native faiths.
    • Will Durant (1963). Our Oriental heritage. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  • The Arya Samaj's misgivings about the term Hindu already arose in tempore non suspecto, long before it became a dirty Word under Jawaharlal Nehru and a cause of legal disadvantage under the 1950 Constitution. Swami Dayananda Saraswati rightly objected that the term had been given by foreigners (who, moreover, gave all kinds of derogatory meanings to it) and considered that dependence on an exonym is a bit sub-standard for a highly literate and self-expressive civilization. This argument retains a certain validity: the self-identification of Hindus as 'Hindu' can never be more than a second-best option. On the other hand, it is the most practical choice in the short run, and most Hindus don't seem to pine for an alternative.
    • Elst, Koenraad (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism. ISBN 978-8185990743
  • As a term introduced by Persian-speaking outsiders, “Hindu” is not an identity to which one has to subscribe in order to be included in it. To the Arab and Turkic invaders, it simply meant “any Indian who is not a Zoroastrian, Jew, Muslim or Christian”. The term is not limited to any specific sect or caste, nor does it require espousal or rejection of any specific set of beliefs, but it denotes the whole commonwealth of mutually interacting Indian religious traditions. It is an ongoing conversation between many different viewpoints, and Hindus will deem you a member of the club once you take part in the conversation, as an accepted member of any of the subsets of the conversing society. It is only a matter of course that as a participant located at a specific point in the broad spectrum of viewpoints, any Hindu voicing an opinion would thereby disagree with a great many other Hindus... To its original Muslim users, the term “Hindu” definitely included Buddhists, tribals, later on also the Bhakti (devotional) sects, such as the Nanak Panth now known as Sikhism, and independent Bhakti poets like Kabir.
    • Koenraad Elst, The Argumentative Hindu (2012), Chapter: Humour in Hinduism
  • The word “Hindu” is a very general term encompassing every Indian form of Pagan religion no matter how old.
    • Elst, Koenraad. Hindu dharma and the culture wars. (2019). New Delhi : Rupa.
  • It is not necessary to live in India to be a Hindu. In fact one must live in harmony with the land where one is located to be a true Hindu.
    • David Frawley, How I Became A Hindu - My Discovery Of Vedic Dharma
  • In this way I can speak of an American Hinduism and call myself an American and a Hindu – an American connected with the land and a Hindu connected with the spirit and soul of that land. Hinduism has helped me discover the forces of nature in which I live, their past and their future, their unique formations and their connections with the greater universe and the cosmic mind.
    • David Frawley, How I Became A Hindu - My Discovery Of Vedic Dharma
  • The Hindu as a rule is a coward.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, The source quoted is "Hindu-Muslim Tension: Its Cause and Cure", Young India, 29/5/1924; reproduced in M.K. Gandhi: The Hindu-Muslim Unity, p.35-36. Young India, 1924-1926. S. Ganesan. 1927. pp. 32-36.
  • All I can say at present is that by the time the Islamic sword swept over the South, and the Vijayanagara Empire took shape, the word “Hindu” was no more a hated word for the natives as it was for the foreign invaders... Thus by the middle of the fourteenth century, the word “Hindu” had dropped the derogatory associations imposed on it by the ancient Iranians and the Islamic invaders, and acquired a lot of lustre in the eyes of our own countrymen. Native heroes such as MahãrãNã Kumbhã, and Krishnadevarãya, who defeated the Islamic onslaught, were hailed as Hindu heroes in subsequent centuries. Padmanãbha uses the word “Hindu” for glorification of the Chauhãn harm of Jalor in his epic poem, KãnhaDade Prabandha, which he composed in AD 1455. It will not be long before MahãrãNã Pratãpa SiMha of Mewar becomes renowned as hindu-kula-kamala-divãkara, the Sun which brings bloom to the lotus that is the Hindu nation. Chhatrapati Shivãji, who turned back the tide of Islamic invasion and inaugurated the war of liberation from Islamic imperialism, will be hailed all over Bhãratavaršã as the saviour of Hindu Dharma and protector of its significant symbols - gaubrãhmaNa, šikhã-sûtra, devamûrti-devãlaya, and so on. So also Guru Gobind Singh, and Mahãrãjã Chhatrasãl.
    • Sita Ram Goel in Shourie, A., & Goel, S. R.(1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. (Second Enlarged Edition) [2] (Appendix 3)
  • It was only in the nineteenth century that Western Indologists and Christian missionaries separated the Buddhists, the Jains, and the Sikhs from the Hindus who, in their turn, were defined as only those subscribing to Brahmanical sects.... Nowhere in the voluminous Muslim chronicles do we find the natives of this country known by a name other than Hindu. There were some Jews, and Christians, and Zoroastrians settled here and there... The chronicles distinguish these communities from the Muslims on the one hand, and from the natives of this country on the other. It is only when they come to the natives that no more distinctions are noticed; all natives are identified as ahl-i-Hunûd-Hindu!... In all their narratives, all natives are attacked as Hindus, massacred as Hindus, plundered as Hindus, converted forcibly as Hindus, captured and sold in slave markets as Hindus, and subjected to all sorts of malice and molestation as Hindus. The Muslims never came to know, nor cared to know, as to which temple housed what idol. For them all temples were Hindu but-khãnas, to be desecrated or destroyed as such. They never bothered to distinguish the idol of one God or Goddess from that of another. All idols were broken or burnt by them as so many buts, or deposited in the royal treasury if made of precious metals, or strewn at the door-steps of the mosques if fashion from inferior stuff. In like manner, all priests and monks, no matter to what school or order they belonged, were for the Muslims so many “wicked Brahmans” to be slaughtered or molested as such. In short, the word “Hindu” acquired a religious connotation for the first time within the frontiers of this country. The credit for this turn-out goes to the Muslim conquerors. With the coming of Islam to this country all schools and sects of Sanãtana Dharma acquired a common denominator - Hindu!... Once again, it goes to the credit of the Muslim conquerors that the word “Hindu” acquired a national connotation within the borders of this country.
    • S.R. Goel in Shourie, A., & Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. Vol. II
  • 'These protagonists of separatism argue that these 'tribals' worship things like trees, stones and serpents. Therefore they are 'animists' and cannot be called 'Hindus'. Now this is something which only an ignoramus who does not know the ABC of Hinduism will say. (..) Do not the Hindus all over the country worship the tree? Tulasi, bilva, ashwattha are all sacred to the Hindu. (...) The worship of Nâg, the cobra, is prevalent throughout our country. (...) Then, should we term all these devotees and worshippers as 'animists' and declare them as non-Hindus?'
    • M.S. Golwalkar: Bunch of Thoughts, p.471-472. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism. ISBN 978-8185990743
  • HINDOO, A person of Indian religion and race. This is a term derived from the use of the Mahommedan conquerors... In the following quotation from a writer in Persian observe the distinction made between Hindu and Hindi :
    c. 1290.— "Whatever live Hindu fell into the King's hands was pounded into bits under the feet of elephants. The Musalmans, who were Hindis (country born), had their lives spared."— Amir Khusrow.
  • You know the nobleness of Hindus. They fear not death or destruction. In affairs of honour and fame we would place ourselves upon the fire like roast meat, and upon the dagger like the sunrays.
    • Jayapala, In a letter to Sabuktigin, in Misra, Indian Resistance to Muslim Invaders up to 1206 A.D., 33. quoted in Balakrishna, S. Invaders and infidels: From Sindh to Delhi : the 500- year journey of Islamic invasions. New Delhi : BloomsBury, 2021.
  • The Hindu happens to be a (wretched) slave in all respects.
    • Amir Khusrow, Nuh Siphir quoted in Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 4. also quoted in Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Amir Khusrau, Nub Sipehr, Wahid Mirza ed., Calcutta, 1998, Sipehr II, pp. 89, 130-131.
  • ‘In no part of the world has a religion ever existed more unfavourable to the moral and intellectual health of our race.’ [The Hindus had] ‘an absurd system of physics, an absurd geography, and absurd astronomy’. ... ‘Through the whole of the Hindoo pantheon you will look in vain for anything resembling those beautiful and majestic forms which stood in the shrines of ancient Greece. All is hideous, and grotesque and ignoble.’
  • In India today there is an Islamic culture as also an Indian culture. Only there is no Hindu culture. This word is now an untouchable (apãñkteya) in civilised society. They very word Hindu is now on the way to oblivion. Because many people believe that this word symbolises a narrowness of mind and a diehard communalism.
    • R. C. Majumdar, Kamala Lectures delivered at the University of Calcutta in 1965, quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India. ISBN 9788185990231
  • The Hindus’, Mills wrote, ‘are full of dissimulation and falsehood, the universal concomitants of oppression. The vices of falsehood, indeed they carry to a height almost unexampled among the other races of men.’.. ‘No people … have ever drawn a more gross and disgusting picture of the universe than what is presented in the writings of the Hindus.’.... ‘In truth the Hindu, like the eunuch, excels in the qualities of a slave … the Mahomedan is more manly.
  • The Hindus worship only one God. At any religious function, the Hindus utter the dominion of one God and to Him they direct the offerings of every religious ritual or observance whatever be its form. It is only fools who call the Hindus as idolators on the ground that they offer their devotion through some image built of stone or wood.
  • The Hindus… in the rapidity of their movements exceeded the wild ass and the deer, you might say they were demons in human form.
  • Amir Khusrau, in his Nuh Sipihr, wrote that Prataprudra made a lengthy speech, in the course of which he said,
    The relation between Turk and Hindu is that of a lion and antelope, and the Turks whenever they please, can seize, buy, or sell any Hindu.
    • Prataprudra quoted in Amir Khusrau, in his Nuh Sipihr, in Elliot and Dowson Vol. III, also in Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Episodes from Indian history.248
  • A Hindu is most intensely so, when he ceases to be Hindu; and with a Shankara claims the whole world for a Benares ... or with Tukaram exclaims: 'The limits of the universe - there the frontiers of my country lie'.
    • V.D. Savarkar: Hindutva, quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 478
  • Every person is a Hindu who regards and owns this Bharat Bhumi, this land from the Indus to the seas, as his Fatherland as well as Holyland, i.e. the land of the origin of his religion (...) Consequently the so-called aboriginal or hill tribes also are Hindus: because India is their Fatherland as well as their Holyland of whatever form of religion or worship they follow.
    • V.D. Savarkar: Hindu Rashtra Darshan. p.77. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism. ISBN 978-8185990743
  • In expounding the ideology of the Hindu movement, it is absolutely necessary to have a correct grasp of the meaning attached to these three terms. From the word " Hindu" has been coined the word "Hinduism " in English. It means the schools or system of Religion the Hindus follow. The second word " Hindutva " is far more comprehensive and refers not only to the religious aspects of the Hindu people as the word " Hinduism " does but comprehend even their cultural, linguistic, social and political aspects as well. It is more or less akin to " Hindu Polity " and its nearly exact translation would be " Hinduness ". The third word " Hindudom " means the Hindu people spoken of collectively. It is a collective name for the Hindu World, just as Islam denotes the Moslem World.
    • V.D. Savarkar quoted from B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)
  • It is this psychology, not just etymology which leads the Standard Twentieth Century Dictionary, Urdu into English, to set out the meaning of Hunood as: ‘Hindu: Slave Thief Adj. Black’; and of Hindustani as, inter alia, ‘Basic Urdu...bastard form of Urdu written for Sanskrit script’. But it would be, to risk a malapropism, sacrilegious for a secularist to see any of this.
    • Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins) quoting Standard Twentieth Century Dictionary, Urdu into English, compiled by Professor Bashir Ahmed Qureshi, revised and enlarged by Dr Abdul Haq, Educational Publishing House, Delhi, 1995, p. 678.
  • [A Hindu] may be a theist, pantheist, atheist, communist and believe whatever he likes, but what makes him into a Hindu are the ritual practices he performs and the rules to which he adheres, in short, what he does.
  • The practices of the Andaman islanders and the (pre-Christian) Nagas are as Hindu in the territorial sense, and Sanâtana in the spiritual sense, as classical Sanskritic Hinduism.
    • Shrikant Talageri in S.R. Goel (ed.): Time for Stock-Taking, p.227-228. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism. ISBN 978-8185990743
  • Every Hindu may not be conscious of the finer points of his faith, but he has been raised in the tradition of its assumptions and doctrines, even when these have not been explained to him. His Hinduism may be a Hinduism of habit rather than a Hinduism of learning, but it is a lived Hinduism for all that.
  • Mark me, then and then alone you are a Hindu when the very name sends through you a galvanic shock of strength. Then and then alone you are a Hindu when every man who bears the name, from any country, speaking our language or any other language, becomes at once the nearest and the dearest to you. Then and then alone you are a Hindu when the distress of anyone bearing that name comes to your heart and makes you feel as if your own son were in distress.

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