Hindu History as it is reconstructed in school and college textbooks, suffers from both commissions and omissions. It presents the Hindu civilization as the illegitimate offspring of an “Aryan race” that came into India from somewhere outside, as it inter-mixed with the “native Dravidian” or Aboriginal population of India. This illegitimacy of the Hindu is a foundational presumption of most western scholarship on Hinduism. Hindus note with dismay the severe distortions, errors, misrepresentations, commissions, and omissions in the reconstructed History, which are nevertheless presented as uncontestable historical truth, certified by the western expert. More often than not, a Hindu cannot recognize their own civilization in the contemporary presentation of Hindu History. Before we embark on a positive reconstruction of Hindu history, it is necessary to confront the challenges posed by the already existing western reconstructions.
This 1-credit course will (a) expose the student to the problems and issues in the five major frameworks used by outsiders to reconstruct present-day narratives, (b) build the foundations used to challenge the existing narratives, and (c) present an evidence-based alternative narrative for the deep history of Hindus. The course will be multi-disciplinary, and touch upon linguistics, astronomy, genetics, archeology, climate-records, and other related areas.
This course is for the person who wants a rational, logical understanding of ancient Hindu history, and wants to understand the evidence from multi-disciplinary fields. The pre-requisite for the course is a basic degree, in order to allow students to follow a college-level discourse. The background required to understand the various subject areas will be covered in the course itself.
Course Learning Objectives:
In this course the student will be able to:
- Explore the problems in the frameworks used for the contentious narratives of Hindu history.
- Discover how linguistics, genetics, astronomy, climate-studies, geology, and other areas can be used to evaluate narratives on Hindu history.
- Evaluate the evidence from these fields that have a bearing on the narratives.
- Acquire critical evaluation skills to analyze alternative narratives.
The Instructor will provide a strong understanding of the evidence from these areas, and how that contributes to a strong, bold, inspiring, factual new narrative on the Hindu civilization.
The course outline is as follows, where each topic is expected to run for 75 minutes. Each class will have about 50 minutes of instruction, followed by about 25 minutes of interaction, Q&A. The first 10 topics will be handled in the 1st term, where a strong foundation will be laid for the antiquity of Hindus. The remaining topics will be handled in the second term, where we will address the knowledge systems of the Hindus.
The class is structured into supplement classroom instruction with discussions and self-study each week. While the content being discussed in each class will be concluded within 50 minutes, the discussion time will be free format and can continue for an additional 25 minutes maximum. Quizzes will evaluate students’ understanding of the material. Students will either write a final paper on a topic of their choice from within the course syllabus or take a final exam at the end of each term.
Faculty: Dr. Raj Vedam
Program of Study: Community Education Program (CEP), Certificate Program in Hindu Studies (CPHS)
Area of Study: History & Methods
Start Date: TBD
End Date: TBD
Quarter Offered: TBD