Read a lot on Hindu civilization,how we have progressing and for how long we have been around.The first time, the term Hindu propped up was when..I had to fill a competitive exam form and had to mention my religion.I did mention Hindu,but was uncomfortable,not because I was shy or ashamed,but just that did not find it logical enough to be shared for an exam.
Then ,when my passport was made,I again was identified as a Hindu,instead of "Rahul Upmanyu".So since then,always been wanting to find out the meaning Hindu. Onier WIlliams who compiled famous dictionary from a large range of sanskrit literature,could not find any indigenous root for this word.
The word is said to have been derived from Persian "Hindu". Some Scholars of Hindutva have tried to link the word to Sapta Sindhu which is given is Rig Veda,But the expression used in Rig Veda is Sapta Sindhu but is Saptasaindhavah.
Plus RigVeda is not very clear whether the expression stands for country,people or simply seven rivers of Punjab.Also our countrymen were never known as Hindus in Southeast Asia in the pre-Islamic Era.
Hiuen Tsang,who visited our country between 630 ad- 645 says the word Shintu,could be heard outside our borders,It was unknown outside India.I think we can conclude that the word Hindu was an import -used in Avesta- Ancient Iranians.It was simply the way they could pronounce Sindhu.
However,it is also possible that ancient Iranians might have also used the word in derogatory way.
Though the two people had much in common.It is written that rift appeared with the rise of Zarathustra.
With Archaemind empire Iranians started to looked down upon people of India as wroshippers of Dev,their word of demon.
They were using the word Asura for their own deity.With the spread of Buddhasim,people from India were called But- prast.Infact,the word was picked up by Arab invaders and used quite extensively.