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Hinduism History Lesson
Published: 2008/2/22 0:00:00
Read 142894 times

The History of Hindu India
Book, Video and Teaching Resources

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Click Here for News, Analysis and Resources for the On-Going California K-12 Textbook Issue on the Treatment of Indian History and Hinduism

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The Book —History of Hindu India, Part 1

The history of today's Hindus, one-sixth of our human race, extends back beyond recorded history. In The History of Hindu India, we pick up the threads of Hindu practice evident in the Indus-Sarasvati civilization, which was the largest and in many ways the most advanced of the ancient civilizations. From there we trace the development of Hinduism through the early empires of India, a time of great advances in science, architecture, art and literature--during which Europe was experiencing the Middle Ages. Then came the years of trial by invasion, followed by colonization and finally, in the 20th century, independence. Throughout these periods of history, we highlight the people, philosophical ideas and religious practices that are key to the Hindu religion today.

The History of Hindu India is written for sixth or seventh grade world history and social studies classes in US schools. It is intended to correct the highly deficient presentation of India and the Hindu religion in the existing books, all of which reduce Hinduism to a single concept: caste. As it covers Hinduism and Indian history right up to the present day, it is also suitable for high-school world religions and Advanced Placement history classes. The History of Hindu India has even been used in college course work, due to its refreshingly authentic, terse but comprehensive presentation of the world's most ancient faith.

Hinduism Today magazine, published by Himalayan Academy, has long been engaged in an effort with other Hindu organizations to correct the teaching of the history of India and Hinduism in US schools. For detailed information on this multi-faceted effort, click:

The Video—History of Hindu India, Part 1

The July, 2014, release of the 23-minute movie "History of Hinduism, Part 1" represents a milestone in this effort. Years of work to produce a set of professionally prepared grade-school texts has been turned into a video to convey the truth to today's web-facing generation. This video specifically covers the historical time period usually taught in 6th or 7th grade social studies in the US and is an appropriate supplemental resource for such classes. The movie has also been done with subtitles in several other languages. It has been viewed more then 500,000 times on YouTube as of August, 2015.

Below we list links to resources that may be of use to you in your community or school. Many grade-school teachers have discretionary options to choose cirriculum materials for their classes. We encourage you to get these lessons and help correct the decades of ignorance that have plagued the teaching about India and Hinduism in today's schools.

YouTube Links

Note: Narration is in English in all versions

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Buy or Download the Book

All Five Chapters in One Book
Now with Additional Photos and Glossary

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Click here to order hard-bound book (quantity discounts available).

Click here to download in popular epub formats for free.

Download Individual Chapters

Purchase hard copies of the Chapters in bulk.

chapter 1 cover

Chapter One, Hinduism from Ancient Times
The largest civilization in the ancient world developed in the Indus Valley of India over 5,000 years ago. In the thousands of years that followed, India produced many great empires under which science, art and philosophy flourished. Out of this rich history developed the Hindu religion, today the third largest in the world.

Lesson Plan for teachers
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Chapter Two, Hindu India: 300 to 1100 ce
During these eight centuries, empires, religion, commerce, science, technology, literature and art flourished in India. In ways vitally important to Hindus to this day, the Hindu faith was advanced by temple building, the Bhakti Movement, holy texts and great philosophers, saints and sages.

Lesson Plan for teachers
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Chapter Three, Hinduism Endures: 1100 to 1850
By both armed resistance and spiritual resolve, India responded to centuries of Muslim invasion and rule and later British colonization. The country remained overwhelming Hindu despite foreign domination and religious oppression. India is one of very few ancient societies to survive into modern times with its religion and social structure largely intact.

Lesson Plan for teachers
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Chapter Four, India as Colony: 1850 to 1947
The British Crown took over direct control of India from the East India Company in 1858. Economic exploitation increased. A determined and mostly nonviolent freedom movement emerged and finally succeeded, resulting in the formation of modern India and Muslim Pakistan in 1947.

Lesson Plan for teachers
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Chapter Five, 21st Century India
India was suppressed by centuries of Muslim and British foreign rule. But after independence in 1947, its founders succeeded in welding together the ancient land into a strong, united, modern nation. The Hindu religion survived intact and thrives today in the world’s largest democracy.

Lesson Plan for teachers


Hinduism Today has just begun collecting endorsements for this lesson from community leaders, Hindu organizations and academics. Following is a list of those received initially. First is the endorsement of Dr. Shiva Bajpai, the main consultant for the creation of the book. Below you will find luminaries such as Dr. Klaus Klostermeier, Distinguished Professor of the University of Manitoba, Canada, and Dr. Jeffrey Long, Associate Professor at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. Each name is linked to a PDF file of the full review which will download to your computer and open in your PDF viewer.

  • Dr. Shiva Bajpai is a renowned Indologist and the foremost expert on medieval India in the USA. He obtained a PhD in history from the University of London in 1967, and currently is Professor Emeritus at the California State University of Northridge. He is co-author of the monumental work A Historical Atlas of South Asia. The California State Board of Education hired him as a historian advisor on the textbook controversy. He shares his opinion of the final result of his cooperation with Hinduism Today,
  • "I have been closely involved with the production of the Hinduism Today's 16 -page Hindu History Lesson. I have read the manuscript twice and of my additions, suggestions and corrections have been incorporated. While others might do some topics or themes some what differently, it would be extremely difficult to make any significant improvements within the limitations of space and targeted sixth grade audience. There are certain things which even I would like to rephrase or rework differently, and one might have reservations concerning some other marginal points. But the entire 16-page Hindu History Lesson piece is both correct and authentic and definitely the best that I have seen in any school textbook. Hinduism Today deserves our sincere appreciation and gratitude for producing this positive and constructive account of Hinduism and Hindu History for the 6th grade students anywhere in the world.
    In fact, if each Hindu were to learn and remember this 16-page narrative, the Hindu community would be better off in this increasingly overt religiously plural society. The crucial problem with the Hindus has been their inability to succinctly describe Hinduism as a whole or to briefly explain it to others in a complete manner. The Hinduism Today narrative will go a long way in redressing this prevailing disability. I endorse it wholeheartedly and without reservation. It should be a required reading for every Hindu and it should serve as a challenge to improve it further. In fact, I am going to make it a part of the required reading assignments to my students of Modern India, a senior undergraduate and graduate course which I am teaching this semester at CSUN. "
  • Koenraad Elst: "Among social studies textbooks, this book is now the best introduction to Hinduism." [Download the full review by Koenraad Elst.]
  • Hindu Mandir Executives' Conference is a(HMEC) is an annual initiative seeking development of network between the executives of all Hindu mandirs of America. Resolution 3 of their HMEC 2007 conference reads:
    "We, the Hindu Mandirs of America: Agree to adopt and promote within the US school system the Hindu Dharma supplement published by Hinduism Today. An action committee shall be constituted to enhance the dissemination and sustenance of this effort."
  • Dr. Klaus Klostermeier is a researcher on Hinduism and Indian history and culture. He obtained a PhD in philosophy from the Gregorian University in Rome in 1961, and another in "Ancient Indian History and Culture" from the University of Bombay in 1969. He was the Director of Academic Affairs at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies from 1997-1998. He is currently teaching as University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Religion at the University of Manitoba (Canada), where he is also the founder and director of the Asian Studies Center.
  • "I believe it to be a vast improvement over what I have seen so far in this genre. I welcome the idea of presenting Hinduism in a positive and uplifting manner from the perspective of a practicing Hindu scholar."
  • C.K. Hiranya Gowda, M.D., key founding member of the Nashville Ganesha Temple. He is a practicing otolaryngologist and on the faculty of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
  • "I recommend it both to supplement the teaching of Hinduism in our public schools and as a stand-alone lesson for temple classes."
  • Dr. Jeffrey D. Long is Associate Professor of Religion and Asian Studies and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvania.
  • "Hinduism Today has performed an important public service by providing a clear and accessible text which presents Hinduism from a Hindu perspective, a needed counterbalance."
  • The Hindu American Foundation is a human rights group whose purpose is to provide a voice for the two-million-strong Hindu American community. HAF interacts with and educates government, media, think tanks, academia and public fora about Hinduism and issues of concern to Hindus locally and globally.
  • "This booklet presents the essence of Hindu thought and history in a scholarly, sensitive and age-appropriate manner."
  • The Hindu Students Council is America's foremost organization of Hindu students with chapters on dozens of university and college campuses.
  • "...full of explanations of academic vocabulary as well as Hindu symbols, enabling a young mind to navigate through the material with ease."
  • Dr. Arvind Sharma is Birks Professor of Comparative Reliigion at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
  • "This attempt to bridge the gap between the academic and the Hindu community's perception and portrayal of Hinduism must be warmly welcomed."
  • Dr. G.V. Raghu is chairman of the Education Committee of the Hindu Temple of Atlanta. He was temple president from 2003 to 2004. He is also the current president of the Chinmaya Mission of Atlanta.
  • "Reading this material not only makes any Hindu child proud of his/her heritage but it also gives the right facts on one of the major religions in the world. I strongly recommend Hinduism from Ancient Times as a teaching material for ten-year-olds on Hinduism in schools in all states."
  • Swami Chidanand Saraswati, affectionately known as Muniji, is president and spiritual head of Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, one of India's largest and most renowned spiritual institutions.
  • "A clear, lucid, authentic and easily-understandable picture of the Hindu history, tradition and practices. The team of Hinduism Today has prepared the most comprehensive summary of Hinduism's multi-faceted tradition that I have seen to date."
  • Jay Lakhani is the president of Vivekananda Centre UK, part of the Ramakrishna Order.
  • "This lesson is a very clear introduction to Hinduism. It is in line with the requirements of a history lesson and yet manages to put across some of the more subtle ideas inherent in Hinduism in an eloquent and effective manner."

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