Mobilization to Stop Saffronisation of Indian History in California Textbooks
Nov 9th 2017 Public Hearing, Sacramanto, CA, USA
India’s history is diverse and inclusive. Such diversity and inclusiveness is not only a major challenge but also a serious threat against the project of Hindutva and hence they are attempting to subvert the history by replacing history with mythology and Indian philosophy with Hindu theology. Hindutva forces have been working actively on this front for a several decades.
The forces in the USA involving to saffronize education in California are Hindu American Foundation, Vedic Foundation and Uberoi foundation et al. They are the different arms of the Hindu fundamentalists organizations whose commanding organization is the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). The aim and objective of the RSS is to establish the hegemony of the Brahmanism in particular and upper castes in general. Dr. Ambedkar writes, “With Brahmanism, religion is a cloak to cover and hide its acquisitive politics“. Whenever the Brahminism and its hegemony is challenged the Hindu fundamentalists are diverting the vast majority of the people that Indian culture is challenged. It holds with Islam too like whenever sharia law and Islam fundamentalism are challenged the very Islam fundamentalists diverting the issue that Islam is challenged.
When the secular forces want the students of California to study and discuss the caste system as it is, the Hindutva forces says that it’s an attempt to malign the image of India! Such a propaganda is naturally possible in the USA since the upper castes’ influence is well extended beyond India and especially in the USA. They are the early educated migrants to the USA since the Indian independence because these very castes completely monopolized the education especially the professional and technical education in India in those days. This is the epitome of the California text book issue.
In 2006, when the History and Social Science(HSS) framework curriculum became the battleground between secular and divisive forces in the USA, at the very time Hindu fundamental organizations back in India challenged National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) school curriculum in India through a Public Interest Litigation(PIL) by proposing the edits against the existing framework.
This very PIL was filed by Dinanath Batra, an RSS ideologue and who also served as general secretary of Vidya Bharati(VB), the school network run by the RSS. Vidya Bharati schools are bastions of the RSS ideology which rejects and deviates from the syllabus proposed by the NCERT, an autonomous organisation of the Government of India. Gita school which was started by none other than the RSS chief M.S. Golwalkar in 1946 is the progenitor of Vidya Bharati school network. Current, VB school network is India’s largest private school network with 12,364 schools, 42 colleges run with 146,643 teachers and 3,452,615 students!
Whatever the secular forces won with a series of debates and public hearing in 2006 are attempted to be reversed by the Hindutva forces in 2016 through lobbying and intimidation. Public hearing for the new curriculum took place in May 2016 has been in very much favor of the secular forces and Hindutva edits on caste have been mostly rejected and the California text book framework on History and Social Science is quite balanced with a few exceptions especially on caste. Such framework is an outcome of IQC (Instructional Quality Commission) of CDE (California Department of Education). Having been defeated in the public hearing and in the transparent process, now it’s alleged that the Hindutva forces lobbied the publishers not to reflect what is given in the IQC framework. Some of the text books have not followed the framework of the IQC.
Such a lobbying is possible with their rich cash reserve. Hindu American Foundation’s annual budget is close to 1,000,000 USD and substantial amount of money is being spent on California Text Book issue. They raise such funds through HAF Gala/Dinner. Having fully understood the influence and the money power of the Hindutva organizations in the USA and their money and political power back in India, AKSC determined to stand by the truth to fight till the end to make the right curriculum available to the students. AKSC is resolute in challenging Hindu fundamentalists attempt to make California syllabus as Vidya Bharati syllabus.
Books on History and Social Science will be revised once in 6 years in California. If we don’t register our protest against the publishers who have not followed the IQC framework the students of California especially in grade 6 and 7 will be grossly misled on Indian history for the next 6 years.
AKSC would like to request IQC to make the below changes in the IQC framework and request to exhort the book publishers to make the corrections according to the framework.
- In grade 6 framework, please remove ‘Today many Hindus, in India and in the United States, do not identify themselves as belonging to a caste’, or change as ‘Today majority of the Hindus, in India and in the United States, identify themselves as belonging to a caste with a very few exception.’
- In grade 7 framework, please elaborate how the caste system become irreparably rigid during the Gupta dynasty (3rd and 6th Century CE) by stopping sub caste, Jati, mobility. It’s during Gupta’s period Brahmins firmly established their social status by monopolizing education, art and culture. Sati as practice, widows were forced to burn themselves on the funeral pyre of their husbands, was introduced. According to Dr B.R Ambedkar it’s during this very period ‘Untouchability’ was introduced by making cow killing as sin and beef-eating as an offence. As secular Indian historians put that during the rule of Guptas Indian society becomes Aryan Patriarchal Society.
- Studying of ancient history remain incomplete without studying ‘Mauryan Empire’ (322 BCE and 187 BCE) and how the counter-revolution staged against this empire by a Brahmin general Pushyamitra through an assassination of Brihadratha, the last Mauryan king. Please include about ‘Mauryan Empire’ and its unparalleled contribution to ancient Indian society.
AKSC would like to invite all anti-Hindutva forces to register their voices in the public hearing on Nov 9, 2017 in Sacramento, CA.