Colonial Discourse and the Suffering of Indian American Children Book Cover.webp

In this book, we analyze the psycho-social consequences faced by Indian American children after exposure to the school textbook discourse on Hinduism and ancient India. We demonstrate that there is an intimate connection—an almost exact correspondence—between James Mill’s colonial-racist discourse (Mill was the head of the British East India Company) and the current school textbook discourse. This racist discourse, camouflaged under the cover of political correctness, produces the same psychological impacts on Indian American children that racism typically causes: shame, inferiority, embarrassment, identity confusion, assimilation, and a phenomenon akin to racelessness, where children dissociate from the traditions and culture of their ancestors.

This book is the result of four years of rigorous research and academic peer-review, reflecting our ongoing commitment at Hindupedia to challenge the representation of Hindu Dharma within academia.


From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Śilappadikāram literally means ‘the jeweled anklet’.

Origin of Śilappadikāram[edit]

This is an epic poem in Tamil considered equal in literary quality to the Rāmāyaṇa of Kamban.[1] Assigned to the 5th century A. D, it was composed by Ilaṅkovaṭikal. Nothing is known about him except that he was a prince of the country of Cera.[2]

Content of Śilappadikāram[edit]

The epic poem describes the story of Kaṇṇagi and her husband Kovilan. After living happily with his beautiful wife Kaṇṇagi, Kovilan fell in love with a dancer Mādhavī and so deserted his legally wedded wife. After wasting all his wealth on the dancer, Kovilan returned to his wife Kaṇṇagi who received him warmly. Since they were very poor now, Kovilan took one of the two jeweled anklets of Kannagi[3] to the market in the capital city of Madurai, to sell.

Meanwhile the queen of Neḍuñjeliyan[4] had lost one of her anklets and the soldiers were searching for the thief. When they saw Kovilan trying to sell his anklet, they mistook him for the thief and killed him. When Kaṇṇagi learnt of the tragedy she went to the king and accused him of murdering her husband. Out of shock, the king died on the spot.

Kaṇṇagi cursed the city of Madurai which was now engulfed in fire and then killed herself. The goddess Mīnākṣī of Madurai, however, saved the city from total destruction. Kaṇṇagi was deified and became the patron deity of the city of Madurai.


  1. He lived in 12th century A. D.
  2. Cera means comprising parts of the present Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
  3. It was their only possession now.
  4. Neḍuñjeliyan means the king of Pāṇḍyan dynasty.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore