Monday, July 14, 2014

"The History of Hindu India"

KAUAI, HAWAII, July 1, 2014: The editorial team of Hinduism Today is pleased to announce the release of its professional documentary film, "The History of Hindu India" (Part 1), developed in collaboration with Dr. Shiva Bajpai, Professor Emeritus of History, California State University Northridge. More than a year in the making, the movie ( provides an authentic presentation of the history of India and Hinduism to non-Hindus for use in American 6th grade social study classes. It is equally useful for Hindu temple study groups and to introduce the Hindu religion to general audiences.

The film was received with enthusiasm at its first public showing to 350 people gathered at the "Meet the Publisher and Editor of Hinduism Today" on June 29.

One young lady summed up the audience reaction, "Wow! I have to tell you, this is the first time I have ever seen my religion presented in a way that touched me so deeply. Tonight I feel proud to be a Hindu."

Bhavna of the Hindu temple in Santiago Chile, who watched the Spanish-subtitled version, called it "a wonderful presentation."

Tushar Agarwal of Dinodia Photo agency in Mumbai declared it "fabulous."

At a pre-release showing in San Jose, California, members of the audience immediately requested a copy for local classes in Hinduism at temples and public schools.

The film was directed by Sushma Khadepaun and narrated by Roger Narayan. Both also served as producers for the movie which included filming at the 2013 Prayag Kumbha Mela and at temples in Chennai, India. Most funding for the project was granted by the Uberoi Foundation Institute for Curriculum Advancement. Subtitles are provided in five languages: French, Spanish, Balinese, Hindi and Tamil. It is available for free on YouTube in multiple resolutions at or

The documentary is based on the first chapter of our 2011 textbook, The History of Hindu India. The first section of the film, "Origins of Hinduism," includes much new material on the Indus Valley civilization, especially its parallels with subsequent Hindu culture of India, such as yoga, Shiva, the namaste greeting and more.

Section two, "Hindu Scriptures," introduces the Vedas, Puranas, Ramayana and Mahabharata, while section three, "Hindu Society," covers the caste system and the roles of men and women. The great achievements of early Indian empires such as those of the Guptas are described, including early advancements in medicine, mathematics and metallurgy.

Section four, "Hindu Belief, Practices and Saints" (one of the longest parts) explains the basic beliefs and practices of Hinduism as found today, including scriptures, Gods, Goddesses, saints, temples, pilgrimages and more. It presents the concept of dharma and the related practice of ahimsa as expressed in the lives of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez and Nelson Mandela. Karma is taught through an amusing animation of "What goes around, comes around." Hindu forms of worship are described as they are experienced at home and in the temple, along with spiritual practices such as japa and meditation. The section concludes with descriptions of Hindu saints, swamis and gurus, both men and women.

The final section, "Hindu Festivals," features spectacular footage of Diwali celebrations in India coupled with footage from the 2009 observance of Diwali at the White House by President Barack Obama. This is followed by video from the 2013 Kumbha Mela in Prayag, India.

The documentary concludes on this upbeat note, "Hinduism has persisted for thousands of years because the dharma, faith and culture have instilled in each Hindu a unique and strong sense of identity, family and spiritual purpose. It endures because it is a dynamic religion which gives complete freedom of practice accepts that there are many ways to worship God and provides festivals, temples, pilgrimages, gurus and scriptures to illumine the path, thereby celebrating life itself."

The movie is intended for use in middle schools, either in 6th or 7th grade, when the history of India is taught as part of ancient history. The film covers the standard US curriculum for ancient India, beginning with Indus Valley and continuing through the Gupta period, plus a religious overview, as is taught for other religions that same school year. Parents and community activists can bring "The History of Hindu India" to the attention of local schools as a means to offset the largely negative presentation of India and Hinduism which is otherwise being given. Additional resources for parents and teachers, including a complete set of lesson plans for the book, are available at:

Subtitled versions:

Note to website managers: You are welcome to embed the movie in your site, but to do so you will need to use the YouTube URL and not the shorter one above.


rk said...

Unfortunately, this video is parroting a lot of colonial rubbish. AIT/AMT for one. Age of Vedas as 2000 BC. Where is the proof? Vedas are eternal. Indians are still suffering from slavish mentality and Macaulay education.

jayasree said...

Yes, this is not a correct version. I found a similar version on vedic origin in a book released by a Vedic school in South India. The reason they gave was that any dating must be supported by archeology or other proofs. So far nothing seems to be pre-dating Harappan civilization. In such a scenario, if they write that Vedas are more than 5000 years old or many many thousands years old, their work may be rejected as rubbish. I think this video is also prepared with that obsession.

This video starts from Harappan civilisation as saraswathi civilisation and shifts to gangetic basic later. But before harappan, where were they is the question. At best I expect the Hindu history writers to deal with archeological findings that support Rama, Krishna and Parashurama. They could have taken up the west coast marine archeological findings in Konkan coast ( matches with reclamation of the west coast in Parashurama's times. This region is dated at 8000 years BP.

They could have taken up Setu bund which is dated at 7000 years BP. They could have taken up Dwaraka findings dated at 5000 years BP or Byt Dwaraka findings dated at 3500 years BP. Byt Dwaraka submergence coincides with the end of Indus- sarawathi civilization. They could have discussed them and left an open end to all that, showing a need to research more and the probability of historicity of avatars.

I noticed 2 mistakes in the presentation. (1) adding srilanka in Bharata varsha which is not correct. Lanka was not part of Manu's people. It was occupied by asuras (shurapadma) and then by Rakshasas (Ravana after confiscating it from Kubera his half brother). Until Mahabharata times it was under the rule of Vibheeshana's descendants. It was regarded as a swarga bhumi, but that did not make Rama to accept it as his bhumi. It was different from Manava bhumi of Bharata varsha. Read my old article here:-

(2)The note on tribals and untouchables. They were part of the varna system only as I explained in Munda series. The untouchables were made so after Muslim invasions. If the makers of this video had done some research atleast on census records they would have known how untouchables were formed.

Another thing. The varna system was present in Shaka dweepa Indonesia & Malaysia) and Kusha dweepa (Africa) according to Mahabharata. That needs an analysis. Perhaps it shows the genetic trail of people from Africa to south east Asia before coming to India. As such varna system and Vedha matham had existed for too long starting from Africa to SE Asia before coming to Bharata varsha as it is today. The first entry in Bharat varsha is through Dwaraka into Saraswathy. Harappan culture is post Mahabharata. I have explained these in other articles.

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