California Lt Gov and a group of 40 top academicians have sought “accurate and fair” representation of Hinduism in school text books in the US state, which is currently in the process of revising.
“I strongly encourage you to consider the perspective of young Indian-American and Hindu-American students and whether the proposed framework accurately and fairly portrays that students history. If you agree that it does not, I hope you will consider making the appropriate modification,” California Lt Gov Gavin Newsom said in a letter to the California State Board of Education.
Newsom’s letter is considered to be big boost for the cause of Hindu-American parents who are seeking fair and accurate representation of Hinduism and removal of negative portrayal of the religion.
The California Board is scheduled to have its last meeting later this week ahead of revising and updating the K-12 History-Social Science Framework for public schools.
In another letter, 40 top academicians complained to the California State Board of Education that the balanced, age-appropriate approach for which they advocate has been largely achieved for the other religions, while the treatment of Hinduism is unduly negative and, as a result, presents Hinduism as being especially prone to historical wrongs and social problems compared with other religions – which is wholly inaccurate.
“However, to make the negative the main focus of India-Hinduism and to suppress the positive, while barely referencing other religions’ negatives and promoting their positives, is not only inequitable, but also does not fulfill the Board’s Standards for Evaluating Instructional Materials for Social Content,” they wrote.
“We should all be working for a representation of India and Hinduism that is consistent with the manner in which other civilisations and religions are portrayed and is age appropriate, rather than singling out India and Hinduism for especially critical treatment,” the academicians wrote.
The convener of the academicians who has written the letter is Barbara A McGraw, Professor, Social Ethics, Law, and Public Life Saint Mary’s College of California.
In another letter, Hindu American Foundation (HAF) expressed concern that sections of the proposed text books portray Hinduism “inaccurately, unobjectively, and in a prejudicial manner”, and if adopted, will promote misrepresentations of fact and a discriminatory bias against Hindu students in instructional materials and in the classroom.
Yesterday, Tulsi Gabbard, the first ever Hindu elected to the US House of Representatives, had asked the Californian educational board to give Hinduism its due place in school text books and not to describe it inaccurately as ‘religions of ancient India’.