Skip to main content

Caste discrimination not to be included in California school books? US NRIs keep close watch on eve of "final vote"

By Our Representative
The California’s State Board of Education is all set to vote on new textbooks, includes 6th/7th grade history textbooks, amidst a major controversy having broken out in the US' NRI community on whether to include caste as a form of slavery in the chapters that teach South Asian civilization.
While the South Asian Histories for All (SAHFA), a multi-faith, inter-caste coalition, has urged the state of California to "approve only those textbooks that tell a neutral and factual history of South Asia", with one of its senior office bearers, Praveen Sinha, insisting, “We wouldn’t censor slavery in our textbooks. So why erase caste?”, American Hindutva Hindu lobby groups have apparently been successful in seeking to erase caste.
According to SAHFA, the effort has been to "hide basic historical facts -- including erasing the history of caste oppression", quoting American Dalit Dolly Arjun as pointing out that "erasing caste impacts California students and parents", pointing out how in India her parents "faced caste-based atrocities.”
SAHFA feels http://www.southasianhistoriesforall.org that the need for insisting on calling caste a form of slavery is particularly important, as "in 2016, the Board agreed with on many key points while approving the official curriculum framework", but "failed to enforce its own guidelines as publishers developed textbooks."
Accorsding to SAHFA, "Now every proposed textbook covering ancient South Asia has major errors, including hiding the history of caste oppression", giving examples of how this is being done.
For instance, the official guidelines of Discovery Education Social Studies Techbook (section 6.2, page 2) said “A person belonged to a particular…[caste]…primarily by birth.” But the textbook publisher talked of “an ideal set of social classes based on…natural abilities”.
The official guidelines of the National Geographic World History Ancient Civilizations, California Student Edition (unit 2, chapter 6, section 1.3, page 149) described the "Dalit people" as: “In addition, by 500 CE or earlier, there existed certain communities outside the jati system, the Dalits.” But the textbook publisher wrote: “At the bottom were slaves, laborers, and artisans…Many centuries later, another group developed that was considered even lower.”
The official guidelines National Geographic World History Ancient Civilizations, California Student Edition (unit 4, section 2.2, page 273) said, “Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak, a social reformer who challenged the authority of the Brahmins and the caste order.” But the textbook publisher did not mention Sikh opposition to caste or Brahmin authority.
The official guidelines for Pearson California History -- Social Science my World Interactive (Lesson 4.1, Page 132) referred to the “Indus Valley Civilization”, the standard name used by scholars and academics, but the textbook publisher wrote a controversial alternate name preferred by many Hindutva theorists: “Indus Saraswati civilization“.
The official guidelines for the California Studies Weekly – Social Studies (week 24) said, “A person belonged to a particular…[caste]…primarily by birth", but the textbook publisher wrote: “Someone’s position in society was based on his or her nature, or attitude”.
The official guidelines for Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt Social Studies World History: Ancient Civilizations, California Edition (grade 6, module 6, page 180) said, “Although ancient India was a patriarchy, women had a right to their personal wealth…but little property rights when compared to men, akin to the other ancient kingdoms and societies”, the textbook publisher wrote:“In ancient India, women had most of the same rights as men”.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Ummm - no - not true.

All of the textbooks retain information on caste discrimination. The frameworks were adhered to. The only thing that was included was that there were Hindu movements against caste and that many modern Hindus do not practice caste discrimination. This was important because the previous textbooks made it seem that one could not be a hindu without practicing caste discrimination.

Caste being determined by birth is noted in all of the text books. the part about natural ability talks about the origin of what would have been the varna system in the vedic era as opposed to the jaati system which was occupation based. Both became conflated / intertwined and ended up becoming the modern day caste system. However, you only took part of the original sentence of the entire passage

With regards to the comment "In ancient India, women had most of the same rights as men”. You left out the main part of the sentence which was "akin to other ancient societies, men had more rights than women"

You have to look at the final edits in total. Don't just use ellipses to gloss over things that don't support your argument.



























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































ALSO READ

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Hyderabad-based Urdu university "bars" entry of its new chancellor, who had "initiated" reforms in institute

Counterview Desk
In an unusual controversy, Aslam Parvaiz, vice-chancellor of of the Hyderabad-based Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) has restricted the entry of its newly appointed Chancellor, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, allegedly because he was trying to initiate reforms, including setting up of a Maulana Azad Center for Composite Culture and Progressive Studies, Model Madrasa, Center for Empowerment of Muslim Women, Course for the Development of Legal Vocabulary and Legal Consciousness in Urdu, and so on.

Poor response to tenders for Gujarat's bid for the world's tallest statue, no international firm shows interest

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government’s claim that its decision to build the world’s highest statue in the world, in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, would attract “tremendous” response top international construction companies, has gone phut. The state government floated international tenders in August to build the statue, which is slated to be 182-metres high. Despite the “international” character of the tenders and big claims, well-informed Sachivalaya sources close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi say, “not one international firm has come up to offer to carry out the construction activity.”