Hindu Research Foundation
is an international, non-profit, humanitarian foundation founded and chaired by most Hindu SADHU, SANTAS and belevers. HRF runs and sponsors Hindu schools, women's vocational training programs, a medical clinic, orphanages/gurukuls, frequent free medical health camps, "Clean, Green and Serene" programs, organic gardening programs, Cow-Care programs, an extensive rural development program, and innumerable other humanitarian projects.
The word Hindu is derived (through Persian) from the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historic local name for the Indus River in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent.[note 11] According to Gavin Flood, "The actual term 'hindu' first occurs as a Persian geographical term for the people who lived beyond the river Indus (Sanskrit: Sindhu)". The term 'Hindu' then was a geographical term and did not refer to a religion.[note 12]
The word Hindu was taken by European languages from the Arabic term al-Hind, and refers to the land of the people who live across the River Indus. This Arabic term was itself taken from the Persian term Hindū, which refers to all Indians. By the 13th century, Hindustan emerged as a popular alternative name of India, meaning the "land of Hindus".[note 13]
The term Hinduism was later used occasionally in some Sanskrit texts such as the later Rajataranginis of Kashmir (Hinduka, c. 1450) and some 16th to 18th-century Bengali Gaudiya Vaishnavatexts including Chaitanya Charitamrita and Chaitanya Bhagavata. It was usually used to contrast Hindus with Yavanas or Mlecchas. It was only towards the end of the 18th century that European merchants and colonists began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus. The term Hinduism was introduced into the English language in the 19th century to denote the religious, philosophical, and cultural traditions native to India.
Diwali (English pronunciation: /dɪwɑːli/) also called the "festival of lights", is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn every year. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair. The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartik. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November.