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

Vidyārambha literally means ‘commencement of learning of the alphabet’.

Significance of Vidyārambha[edit]

A child used to be sent to the gurukula for education after the upanayāna ceremony, generally at the age of seven. In the ancient days, the sanskāra or sacrament of teaching the letters of the alphabet used to be conducted at the time of caula[1] itself, usually at the age of five. This sanskāra, known as vidyārambha or akṣarābhyāsa, is quite common till now. It is being performed even at the age of three or four.

Rituals of Vidyārambha[edit]

General tradition recommended the following procedure:

  • Fixing up an auspicious day, preferably in the uttarāyaṇa[2] period
  • Bathing and decorating the child
  • Propitiation of the deities Gaṇapati, Sarasvatī, Nārāyaṇa, Lakṣmī, Bṛhaspati and the family deity
  • Performance of a homa
  • Teaching the alphabet to the child by first writing a mantra such as "Ohm namah siddhāya" and then the alphabet
  • Honoring the teacher

Letters may be written on rice spread over a plate with the index finger. Later a slate and a suitable pen or chalk may be used.


  1. Caula means the rite of hair-cutting for the first time.
  2. Uttarāyaṇa means the northern solstice.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore