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Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 13, Slice 4 "Hero" to "Hindu Chronology"

But Hindo is also often heard in India


[1] "Hindostan" is a Persian word, and in modern Persian is pronounced "Hindustan." It means the country of the Hindus. In medieval Persian the word was "Hindostan," with an _o_, but in the modern language the distinctions between _e_ and _i_ and between _o_ and _u_ have been lost. Indian languages have borrowed Persian words in their medieval form. Thus in India we have _sher_, a tiger, as compared with modern Persian _shir_; _go_, but modern Pers. _gu_; _bostan_, but modern Pers. _bustan_. The word "Hindu" is in medieval Persian "Hindo" representing the ancient Avesta _hendava_ (Sanskrit, _saindhava_), a dweller on the _Sindhu_ or Indus. Owing to the influence of scholars in modern Persian the word "Hindu" is now established in English and, through English, in the Indian literary languages; but "Hindo" is also often heard in India. "Hindostan" with _o_ is much more common both in English and in Indian languages, although "Hindustan" is also employed. Up to the days of Persian supremacy inaugurated in Calcutta by Gilchrist and his friends, every traveller in India spoke of "Indostan" or some such word, thus bearing testimony to the current pronunciation. Gilchrist introduced "Hindoostan," which became "Hindustan" in modern spelling. The word is not an Indian one, and both pronunciations, with _o_ and with _u_, are current in India at the present day,

but that with _o_ is unquestionably the one demanded by the history of the word and of the form which other Persian words take on Indian soil. On the other hand "Hindu" is too firmly established in English for us to suggest the spelling "Hindo.". The word "Hindi" has another derivation, being formed from the Persian _Hind_, India (Avesta _hindu_, Sanskrit _sindhu_, the Indus). "Hindi" means "of or belonging to India," while "Hindu" now means "a person of the Hindu religion." (Cf. Sir C. J. Lyall, _A Sketch of the Hindustani Language_, p. 1).

[2] Sir C. J. Lyall, _op. cit._ p. 9.

[3] This and the preceding paragraph are partly taken from Mr Platts's article in vol. xi. of the 9th edition of this encyclopaedia.

[4] In some dialects of W.H. weak forms have masculines ending in u and corresponding feminines in _i_, but these are nowadays rarely met in the literary forms of speech. In old poetry they are common. In Braj Bhasha they have survived in the present participle.

HINDOSTANI LITERATURE. The writings dealt with in this article are those composed in the vernacular of that part of India which is properly called Hindostan,--that is, the valleys of the Jumna and Ganges rivers as far east as the river Kos, and the tract to the south including Rajputana, Central India (Bundelkhand and Baghelkhand), the Narmada (Nerbudda) valley as far west as Khandwa, and the northern half of the Central Provinces. It does not include the Punjab proper (though the town population there speak Hindostani), nor does it extend to Lower Bengal.

In this region several different dialects prevail. The people of the towns everywhere use chiefly the form of the language called _Urdu_ or _Rekhta_,[1] stocked with Persian words and phrases, and ordinarily written in a modification of the Persian character. The country folk (who form the immense majority) speak different varieties of _Hindi_, of which the word-stock derives from the Prakrits and literary Sanskrit, and which are written in the Devanagari or Kaithi character. Of these the most important from a literary point of view, proceeding from west to east, are _Marwari_ and _Jaipuri_ (the languages of Rajputana), _Brajbhasha_ (the language of the country about Mathura and Agra), _Kanauji_ (the language of the lower Ganges-Jumna Doab and western Rohilkhand), _Eastern Hindi_, also called _Awadhi_ and _Baiswari_ (the language of Eastern Rohilkhand, Oudh and the Benares division of the United Provinces) and _Bihari_ (the language of Bihar or Mithila, comprising several distinct dialects). What is called _High Hindi_ is a modern development, for literary purposes, of the dialect of Western Hindi spoken in the neighbourhood of Delhi and thence northwards to the Himalaya, which has formed the vernacular basis of Urdu; the Persian words in the latter have been eliminated and replaced by words of Sanskritic origin, and the order of words in the sentence which is proper to the indigenous speech is more strictly adhered to than in Urdu, which under the influence of Persian constructions has admitted many inversions.

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