Hindu History In Five Powerful Pieces

WE ARE PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THE completion of the YouTube series History of Hindu India, based on the eponymous book by the editors of HINDUISM TODAY magazine and the late Dr. Shiva Bajpai, Professor Emeritus of History, California State University Northridge. This series provides an authentic presentation of the history of India and Hinduism for use in middle and high school classes and Hindu temple study groups, as well as general presentations on the Hindu religion and history. The movies are presented directly from India, with cultural and historic settings. The explanations are concise and simple enough for a younger audience.

1 Hindu History Part 1, which has almost 3 million hits on YouTube, covers Indian history from the Indus-Saraswati civilization up to the Gupta period, 300 ce. This segment explains the Hindu concept of God, the key concepts of karma, dharma, ahimsa and reincarnation, the practice of temple worship, major saints and the main Hindu scriptures.

2 Part 2 opens with magnificent footage of the famed Kailasanatha Temple in Maharashtra, then presents the political history of India at a time when the country was home to a third of the world’s population. It explores the Gupta Empire, the Huna invasions, the visits of Buddhist monks Faxian and Xuanzang, the initial incursions of Arab Muslim armies in the 8th century, and the rise of the great Chola kingdom of South India. This period also witnessed the beginning of the Bhakti Movement and the construction of thousands of famous Hindu temples, nearly all still active today. This segment describes city and village life, arranged marriage, jati and the joint family structure.

3 Part 3 covers Indian history from ii00 to 1850 ce. From the Arab Muslim invasions to British rule, it was a time of great difficulty for India’s people. This segment recounts the extensive foreign invasions, the plunder of the great Siva temple at Somnath, the establishment of the Mughal Empire by the 16th century in most of India, its subsequent decline by the mid-18th century and the gradual control of India by the British. Presented here are saints of the powerful Bhakti Movement, including Ramananda and Kabir; an overview of the Sikh religion, from its founding in the i6th century by Guru Nanak to formation of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh in the i8th century. There is a brief introduction to Indian music and its basic concepts of tala (rhythm), raga (scale) and improvisation.

4 The fourth movie in the series covers 4 Indian history from 1850—when the British Crown took over direct control of India from the East India Company—to Independence in 1947. Britain’s extreme economic exploitation of the subcontinent resulted in frequent famine and deprivation across the once wealthy land. A determined and mostly nonviolent freedom movement, led by MK Gandhi and other prominent politicians, finally won independence from Britain. Then the country was partitioned into modern India and Muslim Pakistan. The film includes details about Gandhi’s Satyagraha campaigns and a short real-life-footage interview of this great soul. This segment introduces two great saints—Tiruvalluvar, author of the ancient but timeless ethical masterpiece Tirukural, and the 19th-century Swami Vivekananda, exploring their backgrounds, achievements and memorials.

5 The fifth and concluding documentary covers Indian history from 1947 to the present day. Opening with Nehru’s famed ”Tryst with Destiny” speech on August 15, 1947, it describes the formation of the new government and its post-war independence challenges, development of the constitution and of parliament, Pakistan’s invasion of Kashmir, the horrors of partition, with real-life footage, formation of states along linguistic lines, and efforts to uplift the lower classes. This segment discusses the religions of India, religious strife and its causes, and the Hindu tradition of pilgrimage, using Rameswaram as an example. Also presented are India’s ancient traditional medicine, ayurveda; hatha yoga’s worldwide popularity, Bollywood cinema and the ever-popular Indian cuisine.

All this and more contributes to an exceptionally wide-ranging coverage of the history of Hindu India. For more information and for class lesson plans based on the book, visit

Noting that Hindu history has been chronically represented poorly in education systems, we created our own teaching series