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Hindustani people, or Hindavi people, are a panethnicity primarily living in the Hindi belt region of India, which is located in the Indus-Gangetic Plain of North India, between the Himalayas and the Vindhyas, identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds.
Traditionally, the Hindustani or Hindavi identity is primarily linguistic, with Hindustanis or Hindavis being those who have the Hindustani language (Hindi/Urdu) or, in a broader sense, a variety of Hindi as their primary language, mainly residing in the present-day Indian states of Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and western Bihar. The original Urdu speaking Muhajir people (immigrants) of Pakistan are from the same Hindustani roots.
Although the word "Hindustani" refers to people, it is historically important to understand the complex history, culture, ethos and demography of the subcontinent. Certain groups of Hindustani people have multiple identities, with a more localised prioritised ethnic orientation, for example the Awadhi people, Bhojpuri people, Bagheli people, Brajbhashi people, Bundeli people, Chhattisgarhi people, Garhwali people, Haryanvi people, Kumaoni people, Malvi people, Pahari people, Marwari people, or Rajasthani people, in addition to further tribal, village, and/or religious identities. However, whenever used, it is used to generally denote people whose native language is Hindustani language and in a broader sense a variety of Hindi and belong to certain parts of North India (i.e. the Hindi belt).
Use of term in media and culture
The term "Hindustani people" is used in many patriotic songs and films, made during the British era and even after independence, wherein it applies to persons belonging to India or Hindustan as a whole and is not restricted to apply only to persons of the Hindi belt.
One famous film using the above definition was Hum Hindustani made in 1960 and another was Hum Hindustani (television serial) directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee in 1986. Hindustani, as a surname, was used in the film Raja Hindustani where the lead character was known by this name.
The word "Hindustani people" is also used in a national sense, in the broad sense of culture, heritage and the customs of Hindustan.
- Hudson, John C., ed., Goode’s World Atlas 20th Edition Chicago, Illinois, USA:2000—Rand McNally Map Page 203 Major Languages of India—map of the ethnolinguistic groups of India
- Hidu writers constitute an overwhelming numbers of Hindustani people. Along with Urdu writers, they serve inhabitants of Bihar, U.P., Delhi, Madhya Bharat Marxist Cultural Movement in India: 1947-1958 by Sudhi Pradhan Page 40
- In Hazaribagh, Hinudstani people are found but in west and south people are mainly aboriginal.The Indian encyclopaedia: biographical, historical, religious.., Volume 3, edited by Subodh Kapoor. Page 724
-  The People of India by Herbert Risley, 1999.
- HINDUSTANI SPEAKING-PEOPLE Annual report of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church Methodist Episcopal Church. Missionary Society Free eBook, 1857
-  The Sikhs and Afghans, in connexion with the India and Persia, immediately after death of Rajit Singh By Shahāmat ʻAlī
- The Orient and its people by Jeannette L. Hauser, Isiah L. Hauser published by I. L. Hauser & company, 1876. Page 50-57, Page 164