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

Kanyā literally means ‘unmarried girl’.

According to the scriptures, an unmarried girl or a maiden of about ten years is referred as a ‘kanyā. She is supposed to be protected by Soma, Gandharva and Agni before her marriage.

The marriage of a girl was primarily the responsibility of her father or brother, in case the father is not alive. She was free to select her husband in case they failed in their duty. The qualifications prescribed for a kanyā or a bride have changed over the centuries. A few of the most common and general qualifications include:[1]

  • Bāndhavam or purity of the family
  • Rupam - beauty
  • Prajñā - intelligence
  • Vittam - wealth

Kanyās without brothers, with awkward names and whose virginity was in doubt were avoided for marriage purposes.


In kanyāśulka system parents of boys gave some fixed amount of rupees to the girl's family. This system existed in ancient times and was also prevalent in many countries. This system was severely condemned by the dharmasutras and nibandhas (digests). The money or property taken by the girl’s father as kanyāśulka from the bridegroom’s family, was to be given back to the newly married couple for their maintenance.

Marriageable Age[edit]

During the period 600 B. C. to CE 200, the age of a girl for marriage was not seriously considered and mostly the marriages happened at an early (pre-puberty)age. Reasons cited by some competent authorities for this trend include:

  • Spread of Buddhism and a cheap kind of monasticism
  • Laxity of morals among the nuns
  • Lack of education among girls

Marriage age for the girls was equivalent to the upanayana age for boys. Hence we can assume the age for marriage of girls was eight years. Generally it was disliked for a girl to remain unmarried and die as a spinster.

Kanyā, A Zodiac Sign[edit]

Kanyā or Virgo is one of the twelve zodiacal signs or constellations (the sixth) in astrology. The Hastā and the Cittā are the main stars in this. Persons born under this sign are:

  • Handsome in appearance
  • Learned in many sciences
  • Wealthy religious by nature


  1. Bhāradvāja Grhyasutras 1.6
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore