Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name India

India is a place name turned female first name. Of course we’re all familiar with the South Asian country of India, the seventh largest nation on earth and the second most populous after China. But where did the word “India” come from exactly? Indians refer to their country in the Hindi language as Bhārat Gaṇarājya (भारत गणराज्य) which roughly translates to the Republic of India, Bharata being a legendary emperor of ancient India. It was the ancient Greeks who began referring to the ancient Indians as “Indoi” (Ἰνδοί), meaning “people of the Indus River Valley” (the Sanskrit equivalent being “Sindhu” which was the local native term for the Indus River). Although the Indus River flows mainly through Pakistan and small parts of northwestern India, it was home to the original Indian people, so the ancient etymology of “people of the Indus” makes perfect sense when naming the Indian subcontinent. The Indus River Valley, together with Egypt and Mesopotamia, are the oldest civilized societies known to man. As a female given name, India’s usage dates back to the mid-19th century when India became part of the British Empire (known as “the jewel in the British crown”). India was most commonly given to baby daughters belonging to the English aristocracy with ties to Colonial India, for instance former British fashion model India Hicks (b. 1967) is the granddaughter of the 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, the last Viceroy of India (1947) before India achieved her independence. India is also a character name used by Margaret Mitchell in her iconic novel “Gone with the Wind” (1936). See literary references below.

All About the Baby Name – India



The number one personality is a leader - strong and competitive. They are willing to initiate action and take risks. One personalities work hard toward their endeavors and have the ability to apply their creative and innovative thinking skills with strong determination. They believe in their ability to succeed and are too stubborn to be hindered by obstacles. Ones meet obstacles head-on with such mental vigor and energy that you better step aside. They resent taking orders, so don't try telling them what to do either. This is an intensely active personality, but they are also known as starters rather than finishers. They have a propensity to become bored and will move quickly to the next project if not properly challenged.  They are the ones to think up and put into action new and brilliant ideas, but they are not the ones to stick around and manage them. This personality has an enthusiastic and pioneering spirit. They are distinctly original.



India is a female name that’s been around in America since the 19th century. Although only used with the mildest of moderation, India would eventually fall off the naming charts in 1911. Her hiatus would last for nearly 60 consecutive years (1912-1969). Even though India returned to the charts during the 1970s, her usage was sporadically low at best. The name did finally stick to the charts in the mid-1980s and showed some respectable promise from the late 80s up through the early 2000s. In fact, the highest position India ever achieved on the U.S. Top 1000 was at spot #297 in 2001. For whatever reason, however, India abruptly reversed her course and very quickly dropped like an anchor. Ten years later and this lovely moniker fell from fashion and off the charts completely in 2011. Why the sudden distaste for India? The answer isn’t clear. All we know is that, at the very worst, American parents are shunning this name, and at the very best, they’ve simply forgotten about it amidst all the Madison and Savannah noise. India is a cool name in our opinion, and one of our favorite place names turned given names.

Quick Facts













People of the Indus River Valley









Cultural References to the Baby Name – India

Literary Characters


India Wilkes is a character in Margaret Mitchell’s, best selling 1936 novel, Gone With The Wind, and was played by Alicia Rhett in the 1939 movie classic. Scarlett O’Hara, with her usual self-serving finesse, has blithely stolen away the object of India’s affection, the childish and innocent Charles Hamilton. As if that weren’t enough, poor India is described as “plain”. Scarlett is everything that she is not, and there is no surer formula for brooding resentment. And we all know what that does for one’s looks. Her only suitor dies in the Civil War, which does nothing to improve her temper, and India spends most of her time finding ways to undercut Scarlett, more or less successfully. Scarlett, of course, is hopelessly (and oh so wrong-headedly) in love with India’s brother, Ashley, and this leads to her undoing and to India’s hollow victory. Blue-blooded Southern lady to the last, India remains a spinster in the shadow of the lively, thrice-married Scarlett. To give her her due, India does apologize to her sister-in-law, Melanie, on her deathbed, for the havoc she has wreaked. Pointedly, she does not apologize to Scarlett. Probably the cruelest cut of all is that Scarlett hardly cares. Poor India!

India Bridge is the title character in Evan S. Connell Jr.’s 1959 novel, Mrs. Bridge (and its twin novel, 1969’s Mr. Bridge), as well as appearing in the 1990 movie, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, where she was portrayed by Joanne Woodward. In her time and place (Midwest of the 1930s and 40s), India Bridge appears to have it all – the successful businessman husband, the three children, the nice suburban home. Meals are preceded by cocktails and served on time; parties are given and attended, and everyone knows his or her place. Except when they don’t. Except when the times – they are a-changing. India Bridge is an essentially good and decent woman who tries to abide by the rules as she was taught them. Why, then, the vague sense of missing something? Why the increasing distance from the children who are growing away from her? Why the lack of intimacy with the husband who himself abides by the rules? All questions that we know well, and Ms. Betty Friedan would supply some of the answers in 1963 with her groundbreaking The Feminine Mystique. Alas, too late for India Bridge.

Childrens Books


We cannot find any childrens books with the first name India

Popular Songs


Voyage to India
a song by Stevie Wonder

Taste of India
a song by Aerosmith

Song of India
a song by Tommy Dorsey

Little India
a song by Deacon Blue and Ricky Ross

India Rubber
a song by Radiohead

a song by The Psychedelic Furs

In The Times of India
a song by Jethro Tull

Famous People


India Hicks (English royalty and fashion model)
India de Beaufort (British actress/musician)
India Bush (First Cat, pet cat of President George W. Bush)

Children of Famous People


We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name India

Historic Figures


We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name India