The entire Indo-Gangetic plain was referred to as “Hindustan” by the early Mughals (16th century). According to historian Ian J. Barrow, “in the mid-to-late eighteenth century, Hindustan often referred to the territories of the Mughal emperor, which comprised much of South Asia,” in his paper “From Hindustan to India: Naming Change in Changing Names” published in the Journal of South Asian Studies in 2003.
British maps started to use the name “India” more frequently starting in the late 18th century, and “Hindustan” started to lose its link with all of South Asia. India’s Graeco-Roman connotations, lengthy history of use in Europe, and acceptance by bureaucratic and scientific institutions like the Survey may have contributed to its popularity.
“The adoption of India suggests how colonial nomenclature signalled changes in perspectives and helped to usher in an understanding of the subcontinent as a single, bounded and British political territory,” he added.
Nehru made significant references to “India,” “Bharata,” and “Hindustan” in his magnum opus “Discovery of India”: I frequently spoke to my audiences about this India of ours, about Hindustan, and about Bharata, the ancient Sanskrit name derived from the mythological ancestors of the race.