California Textbook Debate Seen As First Major Test of Hindu Political Clout in the US

February 27, 2006

Source: Los Angeles Times,0,5072695.story?coll=la-story-footer

On February 27, 2006 the Los Angeles Times reported, "When Abhijit Kurup began learning about Hinduism at his Claremont middle school, he could barely recognize his own religion. Textbooks portrayed the 6,000-year-old tradition as a religion of monkey and elephant gods, rigid caste discrimination and oppression of women, he said... Kurup has joined other Hindus in a campaign urging the state board of education to correct those portrayals in new sixth-grade history textbooks, which will come under review by a board committee today... Their efforts have sparked a heated counter-campaign by scholars and others who accuse the groups of trying to fabricate history and gloss over the treatment of women and minorities in India, where Hinduism is the dominant religion... As a result, what began as a quiet academic exercise has exploded into a vitriolic debate stretching across the globe, with partisans exchanging charges of religious bigotry and promoting right-wing political agendas... Indeed, the issue is seen on both continents as the first major test of Hindu political clout in the United States and showcases the growing influence and political savvy of Indian Americans, now one of the nation's fastest-growing ethnic groups."