I have been observing that the words Sanatan Dharma and Hinduism are used by many well intentioned writers and bloggers almost interchangeably.
And while I am ready to accept that modern usage doesn’t always honour meanings of words, and indeed, changes meanings of words, I tend to agree with our ancient Grammarians that while the speech of clarity brings blessings and prosperity, misleading speech (such as that of our politicians & advertisers) does not. Sanatan Dharma and Hinduism are not the same. Far from it. My purpose here is neither to define Sanatan Dharma nor Hinduism, but to demonstrate a clear difference in meaning.
I often read that the translation the traditional Hindu might provide for Hinduism would be Sanatan Dharma, or that the traditional Hindu expression Sanatan Dharma could be translated as Hinduism.
The word Hinduism is often used today, both inside and outside of India, as more of an identifier of the indigenous religion of India and even I use it for the sake of simplicity and economy of expression. But let’s consider for a moment the difference between the words, with a bit of history, and in terms of the metaphysics of the words themselves.