Two Hinduphobic Books Rejected – Hindu Americans Win Historic Victory in California Textbooks

Sacramento, CA (November 10, 2017) — After more than a decade of constructive civic engagement with the California Department of Education, the Hindu American community won a significant victory yesterday in its quest for an accurate, equitable, and culturally competent portrayal of Hinduism and India in California textbooks.

In its final public hearing, the Department’s State Board of Education (SBE) voted unanimously to reject two deeply problematic textbook programs from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Grades K-6 and Grades 6-8) for adversely reflecting on Hinduism and other diverse communities.

UPDATES

Review of Drafts Submitted for 2017 History Social Science Textbook Adoption

SOME GREAT MINDS ABOUT HINDUISM

In the great teaching of the Vedas, there is no touch of sectarianism. It is of all ages, climes and nationalities and is the royal road for the attainment of the Great Knowledge

Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau

The Indian teaching has a simple and grand religion… It teaches to speak truth, love others, and to dispose trifles.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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What has changed in California textbooks?

For the first time, many textbooks have added some content on Hindu festivals in the section on Hinduism. Although not all textbooks have content on Hindu festivals as yet, this is a very good beginning. Kudos to all Hindu parents, children and community members who had to struggle for each bit of this to go into the textbooks.
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Textbooks currently used by school districts (before new books are adopted) have very derogatory pictures of Hinduism and India. We give below pictures from the three different religions from the old textbooks currently being used in many school districts. While Hinduism is represented with pigs and trash, we can see other cultures represented with aesthetic paintings and images of magnificent structures. It has been reported in a bullying survey that Hindu children were called "dirty ass Hindu" and other expletives hurled at them after the lesson on Hinduism and ancient India was taught.

The new books may not fix everything but such blatantly prejudiced portrayal will have been removed.
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What has changed in the California textbooks?

Children will no more have to endure this deplorable picture of pig and trash supposedly depicting Hinduism and India, that existed in old sixth-grade textbooks. The old books singled out Hinduism and India for such negative and racist portrayal while using aesthetic paintings and images for other cultures and religions. Once the old books are replaced in school districts, this picture will become history. Kudos to all those who participated in the movement for textbooks free of prejudice.
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