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Misrepresentation of Hinduism irks parents

The latest review of social studies textbooks has upset the Indian community in California.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, New York
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2007 02:29 PM IST

The latest review of social studies textbooks for middle schools in California has upset the Indian community, which has accused the board of education of spreading misleading information about Hinduism.

A group of parents, under the umbrella of the California Parents for the Equalization of Educational Material (CAPEEM), had filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in California against the California State Board of Education (CBE) last year.

The CBE reviews and adopts new textbooks every six years. The current review/adoption process for the sixth grade social studies textbooks started in 2005 and concluded in March 2006.

CAPEEM alleged that for decades the California public school system has presented "insufficient, inaccurate and misleading information" about Hinduism and India's history that has prejudiced the minds of young Americans. It sought that these issues must be addressed urgently.

Hindu parents in California say the proposed textbooks contain factually incorrect information about ancient India and Hinduism while repeating "derogatory, colonial-era clichés and perpetuating Euro-centric and Biblical views".

Rather than considering their viewpoints, the CBE solicited the advice of hostile academics "who carry political and ideological baggage against Hinduism and India and whose knowledge of ancient Indian history and Hinduism is both limited and prejudiced", according to information posted on CAPEEM's website.

CAPEEM scored a legal victory last year when a US states district court ruled that CAPEEM's lawsuit on the textbook adoption process can proceed and rejected the CBE's arguments that CAPEEM lacked standing to bring the lawsuit.

To take the case further and meet the legal expenses, CAPEEM is asking ethnic Indians here, particularly Hindus, to donate generously for the cause.

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