In Textbook Dispute, Both Sides Claim Victory

September 2, 2006

Source: Inside Bay Area

On September 2, 2006 Inside Bay Area reported, "A Superior Court judge ruled Friday that the state Board of Education is not required to throw out copies of sixth-grade social studies textbooks, but agreed that the process used to adopt the books was not a fair and open one. The decision was based on a lawsuit brought against the Board of Education by the Hindu American Foundation in March. The suit claimed that the procedure used to revise and approve the textbook's sections about Hinduism 'was not conducted under regulations required under the California Administrative Procedures Act.' The foundation first challenged the textbooks in 2005, opposing the representations of the role of women, the caste system and divinity and migration theories in Hinduism. The group ultimately filed suit after some revisions were approved by the Board of Education. In his ruling, Judge Patrick Marlette agreed that the process in which the textbooks were 'adopted' was illegal, but at the same time he refused to have them withdrawn from California curriculum. Mihir Meghani, president of the Hindu American Foundation and a Fremont resident, had mixed feelings about what he described as a 'mixed victory'... Shalini Gara, a member of the Friends of South Asia Organization, which did not support the lawsuit, also claimed victory Friday evening. 'The judge has upheld that the texts will stay as they are, and that is good news for us because we thought they were historically accurate and we were bothered that the (Hindu American Foundation) wanted less importance to be given to negative aspects of Hinduism,' she said. 'It is important to have a history of oppressed people as well, such as women and the lower castes. The judge validated that history needs to be talked about and children need to learn.'"