If the answer is YES to one or more of the questions below,
then it’s time to take a critical look at Hinduphobia at your school.
Does the study of Hinduism focus primarily on caste? Does the textbook, resource, and/or lesson plan suggest that caste discrimination is foundational to Hinduism?
Is Hinduism referred to as “Brahmanism”? Are students encouraged to “reform Hinduism” to make it more inclusive and equitable?
Is the Hinduism curriculum based on Western scholarship? Is there little to no representation of Hindu scholars or diverse Hindu voices? Is Hinduism studied through a Western lens?
Does the lesson plan, resource, or classroom conversation force Hindu students to “answer to” claims made by others about Hinduism or Hindus? Does it decenter the experiences and knowledge of Hindu students and their families?
Does the lesson plan or resource teach Aryan Invasion Theory and/or suggest that Hindu society is systemically racist?
Does the study of Hinduism focus on negatives (i.e. caste discrimination, sati)? Are significant Hindu achievements or knowledge (i.e. in the sciences, philosophy, mathematics, governance, education, and medicine) diminished or ignored?
Is yoga taught in the school without any recognition of its relationship to Hinduism? Is yoga taught as exercise or stretching? Is yoga mocked? Is yoga not taught because it is considered “Devil worship”?
Are positive aspects of Hinduism attributed to South Asian culture and negative aspects of South Asian society directly blamed on Hinduism and Hindu people?
Are Hindu American students expected to be knowledgable about and answer to popular ideas about Indian politics, in or out of the classroom? Are Hindus’ counter narratives dismissed as “Hindu nationalism” or propaganda?
Are the experiences of Hindu American refugees (i.e. from Kashmir, Bangladesh, Pakistani, Bhutan, Afghanistan) silenced in or out of the classroom?
Hinduphobia can manifest in course materials, syllabi, lesson plans, activities, field trips, school programs, student organizations, even in informal or formal discussions about current events. Remember, these ideas have been baked into Western schools and media for centuries.
To learn more, explore this Navigating Hinduphobia manual, check out the resources at understandinghinduphobia.org, and attend Understanding Hinduphobia 2022.
To report an incident of Hinduphobia, use our Hinduphobia Tracker.
Download this Hinduphobia K-12 Checklist Poster to help you navigate Hinduphobia in your school.