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

Aśauca, āśauca literally means ‘uncleanness’.

Birth and death occurring in a family were believed to bring about aśauca (also spelt as āśauca) or ceremonial impurity not only on all its members but also on the near relatives. Though the dharmaśāstras have dealt with this subject in great detail, the exact reason, why such aśauca is to be observed, has not been clearly indicated.

Two types of aśauca are as follows :

  1. At birth it was called as ‘janmāśauca’
  2. At death it was called as ‘mṛtāśauca’

Sutaka’ was another general term applied to both, but more for the latter than for the former. The period of aśauca varied from one month to one day, there being no unanimity among the writers. Ten days, three days or one day seem to be more common. During these days of aśauca, the members of the family were practically treated as untouchables, and they temporarily lost their religious privileges. After the completion of the period they were to bathe, change clothes and perform certain śāntis or propitiatory religious rites.

People occupying important places in society, whose duties and works were essential for the general welfare of the community, were exempted from the observance of aśauca : for instance, the doctor, the craftsman and so on. The king had the power to grant such exemptions to anyone, using his discretion.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore