Every group has a right to defend their heritage, and we all should support each other in putting the history aside and look forward to a new beginning where we don’t sow hatred and ill-will in the hearts of our children.
Within a decade, there will not be a school, playground, college, restaurant, theater or a work place where people of different faiths, races, ethnicities and national origins work, interact, play, live and marry together.
Given that possibility, we need to coach the next generation to respect the otherness of others 'as they are' and not 'as their ancestors were'. These kids will be working together in teams and co-workers, if we poison their minds towards each other, they will have difficult times enjoying their life, and perhaps go home bitching about their fellow workers. That is not the life we want to advance.
History is an important part of every one's heritage, however if that history creates and causes bias towards others, as a responsible society, we need to consider its value in education.
I was in two conferences about education recently, and if I get the time, I may, or you may come up with the recommendation to the United Nations to form a commission to study school books around the world. It is a shame what the kids are taught - the Kids around the world are subtly taught to look down upon others.
A study conducted by Lantos foundation showed that some Pakistani text books subtly denigrate Indians and Hindus, and as of now, I don't know if Indian text books teach the same to Indian kids. How do you expect those kids to behave towards each other when they grow up as adults? Respecting each other?
The California School text books controversy came to my mind, which more or less does the same. The fellow American kids may look down upon their school mates with Indian origins. I was in Israel, the story is same - the Palestinians and Israelis poison their kids against each other, and blame their religions for it, instead of blaming themselves for uploading ill-will in the hearts and minds of their innocent children. I did meet with an Israeli educator who was going to study the text books and see if she can do something about it.
I am proud of the curriculum of my Middle school's social studies book in the mid fifties; the medium of instruction was in the Urdu language. My social studies book had two pages dedicated to each one of the religious leaders; Krishna, Buddha, Mahavir, Jesus, Moses, Nanak, Muhammad that I can remember. My nephew told me a month ago, that the same books are taught in Urdu schools even today, and I said thank God for that. We also studied a bit about each religion. I am sure the curriculum was similar in Kannada and other language schools in my state Karnataka. Almost all of my Hindus friends are like me; respectful of other people.
Next time I visit India; I will go to the RSS Schools and the Madrasas and see what they teach to produce hateful men and women. We don't need to poison our kids, and we cannot leave a legacy of apprehension to the next generation, let them enjoy their lives working together without apprehension of each other.
I am for scraping any teaching that creates bias towards fellow beings, what the fallible men did in the past should not be dumped on you and me and our kids.
We must support what the Hindus groups are doing in California and I have written about it year ago. No child should face embarrassing moments.
The Hindu America Foundation should defend their heritage, but not denigrate others. Promoting hatred towards others does not gain them any brownie points or even make them look good. Of course the Moderate Hindus may not support such ventures.
The next round of fixing the text books happens in the next five or six years, and I urge the Muslims in the next round to work for the common goodness of all Americans. Let’s stand up against any education that builds ill-will towards another human being.
Here is a note from Khalid Azam, and I commit today, God willing to work on the next revision cycle and I welcome all the volunteers from all faiths. We cannot let any faith be denigrated.
Now the results are in. Not only have the HAF and its affiliated "Hindu coalition" organizations (Uberoi Foundation from which HAF received $30,000 for lobbying on the textbooks and Hindu Education Foundation, a long term ally of HAF) managed to push for an upper caste, elitist version of Hinduism in the textbooks, but they have also pushed more Islamophobia into these school texts that our kids in California will be studying for the next 6-7 years. From the hundreds of edits that were submitted, below is a sampling of Islamophobic edits that HAF and allies attempted to push into the history school syllabus.