Below are some quotes on the words "Hindu" and "Hinduism." These references are not intended as academic or scholarly proofs or arguments used to win a debate.
Because they are only offered as a most general overview, source information is not included.
A comparison that should clarify the situation is to consider that "Hindu" has historically related to a geographic region.
When the Muslims came to the sub continent they called the people living in the region as Hindustanis to distinguish them from the foreign Muslims.Subsequently when the British established their rule, they started calling the local religions collectively under the name of Hinduism.""'Hinduism' refers not to an entity; it is a name that the West has given to a prodigiously variegated series of facts.To say that one is a 'golfer' says something rather clear, but to just say he is an athlete says virtually nothing without acknowledging that first and foremost, he is a golfer. While there are surely people who think of themselves as Yogis and Hindus, with one being part of the other, this is not a necessity or generally accurate. In my own tradition, Swami Rama has made it quite clear that ours is a meditative tradition of the Himalayan caves, emphasizing Yoga, and has nothing to do with any of the institutions in the plains of India.He has written clearly of these points in Living with the Himalayan Masters, Enlightenment without God, and A Call to Humanity.The Indic history is one of tremendous diversity of principles and practices, and has only recently in history been invented into the concept of a single, homogenized "religion" called "Hinduism".
If there is, in fact, no unified religion known as Hinduism, then it can hardly be accurately claimed that Yoga is part of that religion, much less that Yoga itself is "a religion". Arvind Sharma on an Indic contribution towards understanding the word "religion")*Please note that the explanations given here are with great respect, admiration and love for the Hindu people and culture, as well as acknowledging that there are a wide range of indigenous spiritual or religious views and practices within the geographic region.
Even if there is such a thing as 'Hinduism' it is an illogical confusion to say that the part is the whole, in this case that Yoga is Hinduism. You do not merely ask for a fruit and then quietly hope for an apple.
Is it proper to refer to a tennis player, a golfer, a cricket player, or a football player only as an 'athlete', while ignoring the particular sports skill that one possesses and practices? The category 'fruit' is irrelevant when what you specifically want is an apple.
Through one's own research and reflection, each person can draw his or her own conclusions about the meanings and uses of the words "Hindu" and "Hinduism," as well as the words "Dharma" and "Sanatana Dharma." (Scroll down to the bottom for a list that is in date order, as well as a Wikipedia description.)"That even an atheist may be called a Hindu is an example of the fact that Hinduism is far beyond a simple religious system, but actually an extremely diverse and complicated river of evolving philosophies and ancient traditions.""The word Hindu is not a religious word. It is derived from the word Sindhu, which is the name of a major river that flows in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent.
The ancient Greeks and Armenians used to refer the people living beyond the river Sindhu as Hindus and gradually the name stuck.
This is addressed in the article Modern Yoga versus Traditional Yoga.