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

Pitṛpakṣa literally means ‘the fortnight dedicated to the forefathers’.

Occurence of Pitṛpakṣa[edit]

The 15 days of the dark fortnight of the month Bhādrapada are called ‘Pitṛpakṣa’ or ‘Mahālayapakṣa’ and the new-moon day as ‘Mahālaya Amāvāsyā’. These days are considered to be extremely auspicious for performing the obsequal rites to the departed ancestors.

Legend Behind Pitṛpakṣa[edit]

The story goes that Karṇa, the great hero of the Mahābhārata, could not get any food to eat when he went to the higher region after his death, though he could get plenty of silver and gold there. This was because he had donated plenty of gold and silver but not food. Distressed much by this, he prayed to Yama, the god of death and through his grace returned to this earth during this Mahālayapakṣa, gifted plenty of food and then returned. Hence, annadāna or giving food to the hungry is an important duty enjoined in the observance of these days.

Rituals of Pitṛpakṣa[edit]

On all the fifteen days, offerings are made to the departed manes, including those whose names or manner of death are not known. Men of the family generally observe some austerities during this period, like not shaving the hair or the beard, not paring the nails and so on. Feeding the priests with khīr or pāyasa[1] during this period is considered to be highly pleasing to the pitṛs or manes.


  1. Pāyasa means the pudding.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore