A brief rebuttal to ugly liberal cum dravidianist propaganda/myth that there was no such term as Hindu (And hence no religion as Hinduism) before british invented it in 19th century
One extremely well perpetrated myth by the liberals and Dravidnists is that there was no existence of word “Hindu” anywhere in Indian literature to identify themselves as distinct religions before British coined that word for the Hindus in 19th century
Since there was no such term as Hindu before 19th century, Liberals argue that before 19th century Hindus never perceive themselves as a part of single pan Indian religion & Hinduism is infact not the most ancient but the most modern & artificial religion of the world!
Jihadi Evangelical nexus of dravidianists further argue that since there was no Hinduism before 19th century, Tamils were never Hindus & if anything Islam &Xtianity came to the Tamil lands before Hinduism making them more legitimate religions for Tamilians than Hinduism
In reality however if one examine the medieval Indian literature & inscriptions, there are numerous mentions of word Hindu used in a sense of person belonging to the particular faith of Hinduism. Let me point out few
Speaking of Dravidian lands itself, interestingly one of the most well known reference to the word Hindu comes from the Vijayangara. For eg in this 14th century inscription Bukka raya, one of the earliest emperor of Vijayanagar identifies himself as “Hindu Raya Suratrana”
This tradition started by Harihara and Bukka raya was carried forward by all the mighty emperors of Vijayanagar including Krishnadeva Raya who proudly proclaimed themselves as “Hindu Raya Suratrana”.
It is hard to say the exact meaning of the title. Liberals further claim that word Hindu here was used in political sense & not in religious sense. In other words, word “Hindu” in those inscription simply means Indian and not someone belonging to Hindu faith.
But even if we take their argument into account it makes it abundantly clear that Vijayanagar emperors were clearly trying to distinguish themselves as Indians in contrast to the neighbouring Muslim rulers whom they perceived as foreigner/ non Indians ruling India.
Another important reference comes from the Gaudiya Vaishnava literature of Bengal where word “Hindu” appears frequently, many a times with clear aim to distinguish it from Muslim. Here’s the sample of some words that appear in medieval Gaudiya Vaishnava literature.
One of the most important verse mentioning the word Hindu in pre British era is from Chaitanya Charitamrita where Chaitanya Mahaprabhu while refuting the Muslim Qazi states that no Hindu indulges in cow killing because it is clearly prohibited by Vedas.
This verse by Chaitanya makes three things very much clear 1) There was Hindu identity long before the 19th century. 2) Vedas were accepted as prime authority by all Hindus. 3) Govadh was (& is) strictly prohibited for Hindus.
Reason why Gaudiya Vaishnavites had to consciously invoke their Hindu identity was that they were living in a time dominated by bigoted jihadi rulers which clearly becomes apparent from same scriptures.
“Bathing in the Ganga is prohibited” says Jayananda in his Chaitanya Mangala while describing pitiful situation of Hindus in 15th CE
It is but irony that Bhadralok from the same Bengal today would make mockery of someone if he/she asserts the same thing as Chaitanya proudly proclaimed couple of hundred years ago!
But Bengali Hindus weren’t the only one. Around the same time period in 15th century in neighbouring Mithila KAvi kovil Vidyapati had the same compulsion to show how Hindus are completely different from Muslims while complaining about their atrocities.
Another reference comes from MArathi Bhakta Kavi Eknath (1553 – 1599) who penned down the work called Hindu Turk Samvad (Dialogue between Hindu and Muslim). Turk/Turushka was how Hindus referred to Muslims at that time). An excerpt from the book.