Keeping India in Schools

Apr 5, 2016 by

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) is launching a new campaign called #DontEraseIndia, urging lawmakers, scholars and students to correct all inaccurate representations of India or Indian culture in schools.

In May, the California State Board of Education is voting to either keep or remove several key Indian and Hindu references from textbooks.

How will it affect curriculum?

There are 33 places in sixth and seventh grade curriculum where it will be removed or replaced, including:

  • “Early Civilizations of India” will be replaced with “Early Civilizations of South Asia”
  • “In this unit students learn about ancient societies in India” will be replaced with “In this unit students learn about ancient societies in South Asia.”
  • “A flourishing urban civilization developed in India from as early as 3300 BCE along the Indus River” will be replaced with “A flourishing urban civilization developed in South Asia from as early as 3300 BCE along the Indus River.” All research on this area says that it was India at that time.
  • “Enduring contributions of ancient Indian civilization to other areas of Afroeurasia will be changed to enduring contributions of South Asian culture and civilization to other areas of Afroeurasia”

#DontEraseIndia—Hindu American Foundation Launches New Social Media Campaign

Campaign urges Americans to keep Hinduism and India in California textbook frameworks, calls for the correction of inaccuracies

SAN FRANCISCO—April 6, 2016— The Hindu American Foundation (HAF), an advocacy organization for the Hindu American community, is announcing a campaign to keep Hindu and Indian history included and accurate in California textbooks. The campaign will begin with the April 6 launch of the social media hashtag #DontEraseIndia, and will end with the State Board of Education’s hearing on May 11-12 when a decision will be made on whether to erase or misrepresent several references to Hinduism and India in the textbook frameworks. HAF will also release an anti-bullying report in May, in which Hindu and Indian-American youths will speak out about the bullying they experience as a result of cultural stereotypes and a misunderstanding of their heritage and religion.

“My classmates and teachers think that we Hindus still believe in primitive and unjust practices…the experience I had [in sixth grade] clearly shows that my class was not helped to become aware or accepting of my heritage, nor was I allowed to remain secure in my beliefs,” said 9th grade Pleasanton student, Akanksha Maddi, who recently testified before CDE’s Instructional Quality Commission (IQC). “I don’t want my friends to look down upon me and my culture because of my textbook. It’s unfair…What I ask is for fairness and dignity. Is that too much to ask for?”

Since 2014, HAF has been fighting to update the textbook framework put forth by the California Department of Education (CDE), which continues to reinforce cultural stereotypes and historical inaccuracies. This effort is largely motivated by a desire to eliminate any bullying of Indian and Hindu youths in California schools caused or exacerbated by these inaccuracies. Other groups, including the Hindu Education Foundation and Uberoi Foundation, along with several scholars, such as University of San Francisco Professor Vamsee Juluri and Saint Mary’s College of California Professor, Barbara McGraw, have also been heavily involved in the process to ensure an accurate representation of Hinduism and India in the framework.

“For many years the American perception of Hinduism and India has been wrong, in part due to the content of California textbooks,” said Samir Kalra, Esq., Senior Director and Human Rights Fellow of the Hindu American Foundation. “HAF is dedicated to correcting these inaccuracies. The hearing is important on many levels, but mostly to prove that the state is making it a priority to correctly understand and accurately portray the cultural and religious heritage of its citizens—in this case, the approximately one million Hindus that call California home.”

Recently, a small group of South Asian studies faculty members got involved and reversed some positive changes and proposed other changes that would essentially write India out of California textbooks and that would, again, misrepresent the fundamentals of Hinduism. Their recommendations also contradicted previous submissions by a larger group of scholars of religion and history who had called for greater nuance and sensitivity in regards to Hinduism and Hindu history. The IQC accepted a few of the changes brought by this group, and will send a final set of recommendations to the State Board of Education. In May, a final decision will be reached, and a final draft of the framework will be created.

Beginning on April 6, HAF will deploy a social media campaign with the hashtag #DontEraseIndia to raise awareness of HAF’s efforts to revise the CDE textbook framework and of the upcoming anti-bullying report that HAF will release following the State Board of Education hearing. The anti-bullying report will be released in May 2016, and will include testimonies and data surrounding the effects of the textbook inaccuracies on school-aged children.

Not coincidentally, April 6 marks the 86th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s Salt March, which marked the start of the civil disobedience movement to protest British rule in India.

For more information on HAF, please visit www.hafsite.org.

About the Hindu American Foundation

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) is an advocacy organization for the Hindu American community. The Foundation educates the public about Hinduism, speaks out about issues affecting Hindus worldwide, and builds bridges with institutions and individuals whose work aligns with HAF’s objectives. HAF focuses on human and civil rights, public policy, media, academia, and interfaith relations. Through its advocacy efforts, HAF seeks to cultivate leaders and empower future generations of Hindu Americans.  The Hindu American Foundation is not affiliated with any religious or political organizations or entities. HAF seeks to serve Hindu Americans across all sampradayas (Hindu religious traditions) regardless of race, color, national origin, citizenship, caste, gender, sexual orientation, age and/or disability.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

3 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Devendra

    BAN HAF , it is extremist organisation of Hindu upper caste . Upper caste made slaves to dalits in India . Today they are suffering bcz of such organisations.

  2. Avatar
    Ned

    We really need to STOP the FOREIGN money in U.S. education!
    It’s getting to be ridiculous.
    Common Core is so dumbed down it is ridiculous.
    Focus on NORMAL math, writing, accurate history, remove the race and class warfare hatred in history, teach them cursive so they can read our Founding documents and write, teach them SOUND science instead of propaganda and it goes on and on and on. Soon we won’t even make the top 30 worldwide.

  3. Avatar
    Ned

    WHY are we focusing so much on RELIGION?
    BTW how come Christianity is hardly mentioned in Common Core?
    Judeo Christian principles is what the U.S is founded on.
    Is that why Common Core doesn’t want to cover it and insists on cover all these other religions? I really get tired of educrats trying to erase and deride Christianity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.