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

Aparā-vidyā literally means ‘lower knowledge’.

From the most ancient times knowledge has been highly eulogized in the scriptures. Its acquisition and dissemination have been considered as a sacred duty, especially of the brāhmaṇas.

One of the more well-known and earlier Upaniṣads, the Mundaka[1], classifies vidyā or knowledge into two groups :

  1. Parā - The higher
  2. Aparā - The lower

Only spiritual wisdom that gives a direct experience of the imperishable Brahman, the Absolute, is classed as parā and all other branches of knowledge, whether they are sacred or secular, are relegated to the lower plane as aparā-vidyā.

It is interesting to note that even the Rgveda, the most highly venerated scripture tops the list of aparā-vidyās. Other arts and sciences mentioned, include grammar, poetics, and astronomy.

Another Upaniṣad which is equally revered and perhaps even more ancient, the Chāndogya,[2] gives a much longer list starting from the Rgveda and ends with magical sciences. By implication, these vidyās have to be classed under aparā.


  1. Mundaka 1.1.4, 5
  2. Chāndogya 7.1.1-3
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore