Hindu American Foundation Comments on Indian-American Response to California Textbooks in India Abroad

January 23, 2006

Source: Hindu American Foundation


On January 23, 2006 the Hindu American Foundation's Suhag A. Shukla composed a letter to the editor of India Abroad regarding the current controversy over the content of history textbooks for Californian sixth graders. "While attacks [on the textbook contents] from non-Hindu academics with no expertise in Hinduism, and whose careers have been consumed by advocating pre-modern theories now engulfed by debate, were expected, I have personally been shocked by the unshakable obsession of so many Indian-Americans to view every effort in this country through the prism of their own political ideologies from India... I am also astounded by the absurd suggestion of some that instead of focusing on the positive aspects of all world religions that have been a source of inspiration to billions, that the texts should not be 'banal' and should instead highlight how religion has been misused to perpetuate social evils. Are we forgetting that the target audience of these books is innocent and impressionable eleven and twelve year olds? Knowing that for many sixth graders, these units on Hinduism will most likely be their first and last introduction to Hinduism, should the focus of the texts be on social evils and on what outsiders over the centuries have found 'exotic,' or should the six or seven page unit focus on Hindu philosophy and the religion’s contributions to world civilization as do the units on Christianity, Judaism and Islam?"