History of Indus River (Names and etymology)
Names and etymology
The Sanskrit word Sindhu means river, stream or ocean, probably from a root sidh meaning "to keep off". Sindhu is still the local appellation for the Indus River.
In the Rigveda, "Sindhu" (Sanskrit: सिन्धु) is the name of the Indus river. Sindhu is attested 176 times in the Rigveda, 95 times in the plural, more often used in the generic meaning. In the Rigveda, notably in the later hymns, the meaning of the word is narrowed to refer to the Indus river in particular, as in the list of rivers of the Nadistuti sukta. This resulted in the anomaly of a river with masculine gender: all other Rigvedic rivers are female. This is not just a grammatical designation: the other rivers were imagined as goddesses and compared to cows and mares yielding milk and butter.
The word Sindhu became Hinduš in Old Persian. The Ancient Greek Ἰνδός (Indós, borrowed in turn into Latin as Indus) is a borrowing of the OldIranian word. The name Indós is used in Megasthenes's book Indica for the mighty river crossed by Alexander based on Nearchus's contemporaneous account.
The ancient Greeks referred to the Indians (present-day India beyond the Indus River) as Ἰνδοί (Indói), the people of the Indus.
In Urdu, the official language of Pakistan, the Indus is known as درياۓ سِندھ (Daryā-e Sindh). In other languages of the region, the river is known as सिन्धु नदी (Sindhu Nadī) in Hindi, سنڌو (Sindhu) in Sindhi, سندھ (Sindh) in Punjabi, સિંધુ નદી (Sindhu) in Gujarati; اباسين (Abāsin, lit. "Father of Rivers") in Pashto, رود سند (Rūd-e Sind) in Persian, نهر السند (Naḥar al-Sind) in Arabic, སེང་གེ།་གཙང་པོ (Sênggê Zangbo, lit. "Lion River") in Tibetan, and Nilab inTurki.