California Curriculum Commission Accepts Most Hindu Changes to Textbook

December 4, 2005

Source: Hindu Press International

On December 4, 2005 Hindu Press International reported, "California Hindus breathed a sigh of relief after the December 2 meeting of the State Board of Education Curriculum Commission. The Vedic Foundation and Hindu Education Foundation worked for months through the California Department of Education (CDE) procedures suggesting improvements for the sections of California textbooks that deal with India and Hinduism. Their 170 corrections (edits, as the CDE calls them) were initially reviewed by an 'Ad-Hoc Committee which included renowned Indologist, Dr. Shiva Bajpai, who had been hired by the Commission, and CDE staff. But then at the intervention of Dr. Michael Witzel of Harvard University, a last-minute 'Content Review Panel' was set up to go over the changes approved by Dr. Bajpai's committee again. Witzel claimed the changes were motivated by 'Hindutva forces and would 'lead without fail to an international educational scandal if they are accepted by the California's State Board of Education.' [Witzel's panel] rejected 58 of the proposed Hindu edits, especially those dealing with an 'Aryan Invasion' of India in ancient times... Hindus despaired as they believed the Curriculum Commission would accept the Witzel panel recommendations in their entirety. This is not, however, what happened. Near the beginning of the meeting on Friday, Commissioner Dr. Stan Metzenberg, a professor of biology at California State University Northridge, made a motion to accept all of the original recommendations of the Hindu groups as approved by Dr. Bajpai's committee, with the provision to go through the Witzel panel rejections of 58 one by one. This motion passed. The Commission then went through the 58 rejections, ultimately accepting only about a dozen."