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[A region of Asia, lying between lat. 6° and 350 N., and long. 680
40' and 920 E. Bounded, N., by the Himalaya Mountains; ; E., by the Burrampooter and the Bay of Bengal ; S., by the
Indian Ocean; and W., by the Indian Ocean, the Indus, and the Solimaun Mountains.]
Under the classical appellation of India, the an. cients appear to have comprised the whole of that vast region of Asia stretching east of Persia and Bactria, as far as the country of the Sinæ ; its northern boundary being the Scythian desert, and its southern limit, the ocean. The name is generally supposed to have been derived from the river Indus, which waters its western extremity, and which signifies the Blue or Black River. The extensive application of the word renders it, however, more probable, that it was em. ployed to denote the country of the Indi, or Asiatic Ethiops ; answering to the Persian Hindoo-stan, or the country of the Hindoos.* By the Brahmins, the
: * The Greeks gave the appellation of Indians both to the southern nations of Africa and to the Hindoos, using the words Indian and Ethiop as convertible terms. Herodotus describes the eastern Ethiops, or Indians, as differing from those of Africa by their long hair, as opposed to the woolly head of the Caffre. Virgil speaks of the Abyssinian Ethiops under the same name. (Gcorg. iv. 293. Æn. vi. 794.) See Vincent's Periplus, Prel. Dis. 10, 11. Sir W. PART I.
country is denominated Medhyama, or MedhyaB'humi, the central land, * and Punyab’humi, the land of virtue ; appellations vague and unmeaning: it is also called Bharat-khand, the kingdom of Bharat, who is fabled to have been its first monarch. Taken in its most extended application, as denoting the countries inhabited by the Hindoos, it comprises a considerable territory west of the Indus; and part of Affghanistan, as well as Tatta and Sinde, must be included within its limits. By the Mohammedan writers, the term Hindostan is restricted to the eleven provinces lying to the north of the Nerbuddah river, which belonged to the empire of the Mogul sovereigns of Delhi. This is now usually distinguished as Hindostan Proper. I
Jones's Works, 4to, i. 114. Bryant's Anal., iv. 272, et seq. No such words, Mr. Wilkins says, as Hindoo or Hindostan, are to be found in the Sanscrit dictionary. The name, however, which seems to have originated with the Persians, is as ancient as the earliest profane history extant. ** The appellation, Middle land, is said to have been given to the country from its occupying the centre of the back of the tortoise that supports the world. The Chinese, however, in like manner, call their country Chung-we, the central kingdom, and Tchon-koo, the centre of the world. This geographical place of honour has been claimed by many semi-barbarous nations.
+ “ Whether Sind, westward of the Indus, belongs properly to Persia or to India, is, perhaps, as doubtful a circumstance as the appropriation of Egypt to Asia or to Africa. Strabo and Arrian, after Eratosthenes, declare India limited by the Indus westward; yet, in this direction, our modern Sind extends considerably beyond the river, while it is generally assigned to Hindustan by the Eastern writers.”-OUSELEY's Travels, vol. i. p. 149. The Orientals distinguish, perhaps arbitrarily, between Sind and Hind: they apply the latter word to India, (as Bahr al Hind, the Indian Sea,) the former to the Persian side of the Indus. D'Herbelot says, that the Persians call the Abyssinians Siah Hindou, black Indians. Can Sinde be a contraction of the two words?
+ " Strictly speaking, the name ought to be applied only to that part which lies to the north of the parallels of 210 or 22°. The Some modern geographers consider the limits of Hindostan as co-extensive with those of the Hindoo religion. “ This delineation,” Mr. Hamilton remarks, “ has the advantage of being singularly well defined on three sides by strong natural barriers. - According to this arrangement, Hindostan is separated, on the north, from the table-land of Tibet, by the lofty chain of the Himalaya mountains, which commences at the Indus about the 35th degree of N. latitude, and passing Cashmere in the same parallel, extends thence in a south-easterly direction to an unascertained distance beyond the limits of Bootan. To the south, Hindostan is every where bounded by the ocean, and on the west, by the course of the river Indus. To the east, its limits are more difficult to define; but the most distinct are the range of hills and forests that skirt the Bengal districts of Chittagong and Tiperah, and stretch north to the Brahmaputra, near to where that immense river, after having long flowed almost due west, makes a sudden sweep to the south. In this north eastern corner, the Hindoo religion is irregularly diffused, as it extends, far beyond the limits assigned, into Assam and Cassay, while that of Buddha prevails in Bootan, and protrudes into the Brahminical regions on the banks of the Teesta.”*
The extent to which the Hindoo or Brahminical
Nerbuddah river is, indeed, the reputed southern boundary of Hindoostan, as far as it goes; and the southern frontiers of Bengal and Bahar compose the remainder of it. The countries on the south of this line, according to the Indian geographers, go under the general name of Deccan, and comprise nearly one half of the tract generally known by the name of the Mogul empire. But, as the term Hindoostan has been applied in a lax sense to this whole region, it may be necessary to distinguish the northern part of it by the name of Hindoostan Proper.”—RENNELL’s Memoir, p. xix. • Hamilton's Description of Hindostan, vol. i. p. xviii.
faith has prevailed, can hardly be admitted, however, as fixing the geographical boundary of the country, which must be determined either by its natural or by its political limits. The latter, after undergoing perpetual changes, have, by the conquests of the British, been extended eastward into the Buddhic states ; and neither the course of the Indus nor that of the Ganges has at any time served to circumscribe the faith or the power of India, or to protect her frontier from in. vasion. Rivers may serve as lines of demarcation between territorial subdivisions or petty principalities, but they are ill adapted to constitute the permanent barriers of empire. Under the appellation of UltraGangetic India, some writers have improperly com. prised the whole groupe of countries lying between the Bay of Bengal and the Chinese Sea. This is the Lesser India of Marco Polo, which he distinguishes by that term from the Greater India, extending from Cape Comorin to Sinde. Besides these two Indies, he mentions a third, which he calls the Middle or Second India, comprehending Abyssinia and the Arabian coast as far as the Persian Gulf.* According to
" * Marsden's Marco Polo, p. 717, and note 1454. " The division termed the Greater India,” according to the Venetian Traveller, or extends from Madbar” (the Coromandel coast) " to Kesmacoran” (Kej-Mekran), « and comprehends thirteen large kingdoms." He professedly notices only the provinces and cities that lje upon the sea-coast. Among these are enumerated, the province of Maàbar (so called from a word signifying a passage or ferry, in allusion to Rama's bridge); the kingdom of Murphili or Mousul (Masulipatam, the Mesolia of Ptolemy, anciently Telingana); the province of Lac, Loac, or Lar (conjectured to be the central Carnatic or district of Arcot); the kingdom of Koulam (Cochin); the province of Kumari (Comorin); the kingdom of Dely (Dilla, now Canara); the kingdom of Malabar (which he places N. of this, in the Concan); the kingdom of Guzerat ; that of Kanan (or Tana ; the true reading and meaning are doubtful); the kingdom of Kama