[Assam] California school textbooks and chair on Hinduism at Harvard
jaipurschool at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 27 19:07:02 EST 2005
See results below about the angst of the Hindus promotin changes.
If Hindus in USA really want US and other Western univs to show Hinduism in a proper light it will be only if Western Univs do an indepth research with regular feedback of Hindu point of view. This is possible only if like Christian studies prorams there are chairs at various univs set up with funding by Hindu groups. Let the Western academics see te truth for themselves.
Without a dailogue there will never be a change in outlook. Universities are te best place for dialogue. California Hindus are supposed to be very rich so why not raise funds to set up a chair on Hinduism studies right at Harvard Divinity School just like the recent twenty million dollar chair on Islam bein set up there from Saudi funding.
Hindu Press International <hpi.list at hindu.org> wrote:
December 26, 2005
Final Actions of California Curriculum Commission Published on Internet
Educator's Society Calls For Support On Textbook Issue
Hindus Take Aim At Harvard Professor
"Harvard Don Denigrates Hindus"
1. Final Actions of California Curriculum Commission Published on Internet friendsofsouthasia.org
CALIFORNIA, USA, December 26, 2005: HPI Note: There have been several articles and documents to appear on the Internet dealing with the California textbook controversy. See HPI, here, for an early December update. The following document is posted by friendsofsouthasia.org, a group supporting Prof. Witzel in the debate, and says it is the final decision of the California Curriculum Commission on the proposed edits to the Hindu sections of the 6th grade social studies books. It looks authentic and is in keeping with information already available. HPI consulted Hindus in California involved in the issue. They have not received a copy of this document, which is only supposed to be released following the next Curriculum Commission meeting in January when the December minutes are approved. The bottom line here is that out of 153 edits proposed by the Hindus, only 16 were altered as a result of the act ion of Prof. Witzel's group. This they considered a great setback and appear to be
petitioning the California Board of Education to overturn Curriculum Commission decision -- a highly unlikely possibility, we are told.
This is the introduction to the document, and what follows goes item by item through the 153 edits with the recommendations of the Hindus, the evaluation by Dr. Shiva Bajpai, the recommendations by Prof. Witzel's group and the final decision. It is interesting reading.
Final Actions of the Curriculum Commission, December 2, 2005, regarding the edits proposed by the Hindu Education Foundation and the Vedic Foundation.
The following document has 4 columns:
* Column 1 contains the edits proposed by the Hindu Education Foundation or the Vedic Foundation
* Column 2 contains the edits recommended by the Ad Hoc committee on the basis of Prof. Shiva Bajpai's recommendations
* Column 3 contains the r ecommendations of the panel of historians (Witzel, Wolpert and Heitzman). They are referred to as the CRPs (Content Review Panelists). These recommendations were endorsed by the Department of Education's Curriculum Framework and Instructional Resources Division (CFIR). The head of CFIR is Tom Adams.
* Column 4 contains the final action of the Curriculum Commission on December 2, 2005.
Gray shading on the document indicates which recommendation the Curriculum Commission chose to follow. A gray entry is the edit chosen by the Commission.
The document is divided into 2 parts. Part 1 lists all of the changes proposed by the Hindu Education Foundation, in alphabetical order by publisher. Part 2 lists all the changes proposed by the Vedic Foundation in alphabetical order by publisher.
There are a total of 153 edits requested.
Of that total:
* 97 edits where the Commission endorsed the recommendation of the Ad Hoc committee (Shiva Bajpai advising).
* 34 edits where the Ad Hoc (Shiva Bajpai) and Final CFIR/CRP Recommendation (Witzel, Wolpert, Heitzman) were in agreement and endorsed by the Committee.
* 16 edits where the Commission endorsed the Final CFIR/CRP Recommendation (Witzel, Wolpert, Heitzman advising).
* 6 edits where the Commission made its own edit and used its own language (including 2 where the commission rewrote the publisher's text).
Rest of document is available at "source" above.
2. Educator's Society Calls For Support On Textbook Issue www.eshiusa.org
USA, December 25, 2005: HPI Note: This press release is from Educator's Society for the Heritage of India:
Namaste. As you may know, the California textbook review process is still ongoing. We do not know the final outcome, but we have some early indications that the joint efforts of several community organizations, parents/community members and academics, have succeeded in convincing the CBE to accept a large portion of the changes/edits/corrections desired by the Hindu groups. However, this is just the beginning. It has been a tough learning experience. We will keep you informed about the final outcome of the CA efforts.
Now we need to work with other large states in the USA (Texas, Florida, New York, and others) so that the history and cultural heritage of India and its contributions to the world are presented fairly in all school textbooks in all states.
ESHI is in a unique position to undertake this work, with the support of the academic community and the authorities like the Indian Archaeological Society, together with parents/community members and community organizations. We are very pleased to express our gratitude towards over 60 professors who, within a very short period of time, gave consent to being signatories to our petition, or who directly wrote letters to the CBE.
We have a formidable task ahead of us. For that we need your immediate support. Don't we owe it to India and her heritage? Please help.
Go to "source" above for more information.
3. Hindus Take Aim At Harvard Professor www.india-forum.com
USA, December 9, 2005: This and the following article both came to HPI's attention today. We do not normally publish such ad hominem material, that is, personal attacks, and do not vouch that any particular piece of information here is verifiable. It is useful, however, for Hindus concerned with the California textbook issue to know about these articles.
This first article, called "Harvard Professor Disparages Hindus" appears on india-forum.com at "source" above and is attributed to Dr. Srinivasan Kalyanaraman.
Recently, in a Communist-leaning political list better known for its uncritical beliefs in myths like Aryan Invasion and its negation of historical facts, Harvard professor Michael Witzel made some startling claims about Hindu immigrants to the USA. One of his acolytes invented the acronym HINA for Hindus in North America. Witzel disingenuously and infamously transliterated it as "hiina" and translate d it as "lost" or "abandoned. " This Sanskrit word has many other derogatory meanings such as "inferior," "insecure," "lowly" and "defective."
It caught my attention that Witzel had described Hindus using the very same phrase - "lost people" - which a rabid Christian fundamentalist and anti-Semite had used to describe the Jews a few years ago.
Rev. Bailey Smith, then-president of the Southern Baptists, had infamously declared:
"God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew" and added, "without Jesus Christ, they [the Jews] are lost."
One does not know whether, or to what extant, Witzel shares Smith's fanatical and bigoted beliefs. But Witzel was instrumental in urging activism against the Hindu initiative, as a result of which his cosignatory urged a Hindu-bashing Christian fundamentalist to mobilize a show of strength against the Hindus of California, as we will see later. Witzel also makes fun of the Hindu custom of cremating their dead:
"[Hindu s immigrants to the USA] have begun ---as an old, very conservative US Brahmin friend pointed out to me already in 1994--building crematoria as well."
Witzel also makes fun of Hindu Gods, rituals and second generation American Hindus:
"Second generation [Hindu] people just understand [Hinduism] as "boaring rituals" (puja, etc. ), temple visits and Indian (mythological) comic books ... All such items add to the heady brew that we have seen emerging here..."
Considering that our Harvard professor has specifically enclosed the words "boaring rituals" within quotes, one cannot but assume that it was intended to make fun of the Hindu God Vishnu, who incarnated as a boar.
Article continues, in the same vein, at "source" above.
4. "Harvard Don Denigrates Hindus" www.dailypioneer.com
NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 25, 2005: HPI Note: The following story appears in The Pioneer, which publishes from Delhi and Lucknow. Most of the article is, as indicated by the title, a personal attack upon Harvard Professor Michael Witzel and apparently based in part on the preceding article by Dr. Kalyanaraman.
The article by Kanchan Gupta begins:
"Boorish comments denigrating India, Hindus and Hinduism by a self-proclaimed 'Indologist' who is on the faculty of Harvard University has unleashed a fierce debate over the increasing political activism of 'scholars' who teach at this prestigious American university.
"Prof Michael Witzel, Wales professor of Sanskrit at Harvard, is in the centre of the storm because he tried to prevent the removal of references to India, Hinduism and Sikhism in the curriculum followed by schools in California which parents of Indian origin found to be inadequate, inaccurate or just outright insensi tive.
Known for aggressively pushing theories forged by Left historians of the Romila Thapar genre that have been long discredited through scientific means, including DNA studies, this 'linguist' is known for promoting himself as a 'historian' in academic circles. His proximity to Left historians in India is no secret."
Article continues at "source" above.
NOTICE: Some source URLs cited in HPI articles are only valid on the date the article was issued. Most are invalid a week to a few months later. When a URL fails to work, go to the top level of the source's website and search for the article.
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