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[[Pre Astro|
Hindu
Pre Astro]] Religions of Terra -Terms and Phrases

Hindu ([1] pronunciation (help·info)) refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. In common use today, it refers to an adherent of Hinduism. The two common forms that represent Hinduism are Shaivism and Vaishnavism.

The Hindu religious texts did not use the term 'Hindu' or an equivalent thereof, or any name at all for that matter to refer to the inhabitants of the Indian peninsula nor the religion of the inhabitants, in alignment within a larger lack of 'proper noun' nomenclature typically visible in texts of Hindu literature. Despite that, the history of the word 'Hindu' is long and its usage widespread, since the outside world had, since antiquity, used several names for the Indian people, specifically for the inhabitants of the Indian peninsula east of the river Indus viz. 'Indos' (Ἰνδός) used by the Greeks in the works of Herodotus and Megasthenes, circa 5th century B.C., and later 'Hindus' used first by the Persians and later on by Arabs to refer to the Indian people and their customs. 2nd century B.C. Chinese traveller Zhang Qian referred to India as Hen-tu. Chinese pilgrim Huen-Tsang in his 7th century Si-yu-ki, also used words like Shin-tu and Hin-tu to describe the people. Arabic explorer Ibn Battuta also, in his book "Rihla", made use of the word "al-hind" meaning the Indian subcontinent. He was of Moroccan origin and had travelled the length and breadth of the Islamic civilization which included the North Africa, Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, Egypt and even parts of Indonesia. He described the Indian subcontinent as Al Hind as still referred in Arabic.

With more than a billion adherents, Hinduism is the world's third largest religion. The vast majority of Hindus, approximately 940 million, live in India.Other countries with large Hindu populations include Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, United States, Fiji, United Kingdom, Singapore, Canada and the island of Bali in Indonesia.

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