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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in Russian, a term used to designate the main population of Hindustan, which includes the northern Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, the city of Delhi, the eastern part of Rajasthan and Haryana, and the western part of Bihar.

Hindustanis can be divided into many regional groups, which share a common ancestry and have similar languages, cultures, and customs; the boundaries between the groups are not clearly defined. The various groups of Hindustanis are united by a single literary language, Hindi; they speak numerous dialects of Hindi, including Khari Boli (from which literary Hindi developed), the Western Hindi dialects of Bangaru, Braj, Kanauji, and Bundeli, and the Eastern Hindi dialects of Awadhi (Avadhi), Bagheli, and Chhattisgarhi. The groups are gradually being consolidated into a single ethnic community. According to a 1975 estimate, there are approximately 170 million Hindustanis.

The Hindustanis’ principal occupation is land cultivation: nearly 75 percent are engaged in agriculture. The main crops are wheat, millet (bajra and jowar), barley, and legumes. In the south, the principal crops are rice, oil-bearing plants (Brassica campestris, mustard, and sesame), sugarcane, and cotton. Some Hindustanis are industrial workers. Handweaving is widespread and includes the manufacture of cotton cloth (especially muslin), cotton goods (saris and dhotis), carpets (daris), and art silk fabrics. Hindustanis produce pottery and stamped and incised vessels.

In the countryside Hindustanis live in pisé huts with roofs of straw or leaves; urban dwellings are made of stone. Clothing is of the type found throughout India: men wear a loincloth (dhoti) or narrow, white trousers; a shirt; and a kind of long tunic buttoned up the front. A turban or white cap is worn on the head. Women wear a sari and blouse.

Most Hindustanis profess Hinduism. Caste distinctions have been retained, particularly in the rural areas.


Narody Iuzhnoi Azii. Moscow, 1963.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Hindustani migrants have been crucial to the development of two trades in Singapore--washer-men (dhobis) and dairy farmers (doodhwallahs)--in which they occupied an important, if not the dominant position for much of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, until the advent of washing machines, imported packed milk and state policy against the use of scarce land resources for farming activities made these 'vanishing' trades.
As is the case in historical studies of subordinate migrant communities, sources on Hindustani migration and settlement in Singapore are fragmentary and widely dispersed.
The attempt to classify Indians based on birthplace, however, did not work well for Hindustani migrants as respondents were simply called on to 'enter the province of birth' but those from UP were wholly unfamiliar with provincial labels.
It was only in 1931 that Hindustani migrants were most accurately appropriated into the colonial census for British Malaya (Table 2).
However, in an attempt to '[avoid] the more obvious errors' in the 1921 classification, a crucial omission was made: the category 'Hindustani' was removed from the list of principal north Indian communities altogether (Table 3).
(28) Consequently, the typical social composition of sepoys in the Bengal Army at the time was three-fourths Hindustani Hindus of high caste, i.e.
Despite caste restrictions and taboos against crossing the ocean, Hindustani sepoys were agreeable to overseas postings as the Company took measures to safeguard their high-caste status.
Even so, information on the Hindustani sepoys can be found in the accounts of local historians such as Munshi Abdullah.
A difficulty arose for me because I did not understand Hindustani and when I wished to converse with the soldiers we could only gesticulate like dumb people ...
Whilst the economic 'push' factor accounts for migration from this region in the late 1800s, the question arises whether the presence of the early Indian military garrison and the convict colony had any bearing on subsequent Hindustani migration to Singapore.
The sample of Hindustani migrants in Singapore clearly shows the preponderance (more than 50 per cent) of high-caste Hindus--Bhumihars, Brahmins and Kshatriya--in the community, a proportion akin to that of the early military garrison.
Similar occupation patterns linked to the convict colony can be made with Hindustani government servants who continued to be tied to the prison service.