Thursday, March 09, 2006

calif textbooks: did reason prevail after all?

mar 9th

got this mail from vishal. it looks as though it is in fact a qualified win for the good guys, that is, the hindus.

if so, it is a great start, because this means the mullah-missionary-marxist axis, which put all its prestige on the line, has been bested by a group of mostly ordinary hindus who were basically saying "no more mr. nice guy".

witzel, it appears, may have celebrated too soon.

i shall not celebrate too soon, but i cannot contain a certain feeling of satisfaction.

but even if this is a signal win, it is in a way a sad victory. because of the extent to which it is obvious even the immigrant community is infiltrated by traitors.

still, all those academics and holder of chairs and other furniture have taken it on the chin.

this may be the beginning of the end for romila thapar, amartya sen and other self-proclaimed 'great intellectuals' of india..

and the humanities guys have been thrashed *in their own alleged specialties* by a bunch of indian americans, most of whom i suspect are engineers! i feel vindicated, as i predicted in 'fear of engineering' some time ago.

==================

From: "vishalsagarwal" <vishalagarwal@hotmail.com >

Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2006 07:23:20 -0000
Subject: CA State Board's Final decision: 08March06
Contrary to pompous claims being made by Professor Witzel, it is his
side that has been 'defeated'.

The board passed the final motion today to accept the document
recommended for approval on Feb 27 but with FOUR amendments:

1. On One Supreme Being: President Glee Johnson directed that
wherever the words 'gods' or 'goddesses'
have been used in the texbooks, they will be replaced either
with 'deities', OR with 'Gods' and 'Goddesses' (with upper case G).
This establishes that the Board now recognizes the fact that in Hindu
Dharma, we believe in One Supreme Being that manifests in many forms.
It is false propaganda on the part of FOSA etc to say that VF/HEF
were trying to inject 'monotheism' into Hinduism, when a cursory look
of the textbooks would indicate that they already acknowledge the
fact that Hinduism talks of one Brahman and that various 'gods'
and 'goddesses' are 'parts' or 'aspects' of that Brahman (many
textbooks actually have entire sections explaining the concept of
Brahman). This amendment proposed by Dr Johnson, and the accompanying
edits merely reinforce the existing narrative of these textbooks, and
also highlight the best of Hindu traditions.
2. AIT as a Controversial theory: President Glee Johnson directed all
publishers to add the note that AIT is a controversial theory that is
not accepted by many scholars.
3. Respect for Hindu Holy Books: All sentences
where 'poems', 'stories' etc are used for the Vedas will modified and
the word 'scripture' will be used instead.
4. Resolving Contradictions: Glee Johnson acknowledged that there
were contradictions on the recommendations made by the Board, and
these will be resolved. From the indications available from her in
the form of media interviews etc., (which I need not elaborate upon
because we should wait for their official final document), this may
result in approximately 12-15 additional edits resolved in an
acceptable/favorable manner. This should take care of a lot of
material in the textbooks that unnecessarily relate the origin of
Hinduism and varna system to the hypothetical Aryan invasion theory.

In sum, Dr Bajpai had earlier accepted more than 90% Hindu edits.
Witzel led CRP accepted only 37%. On Feb 27, the SBE accepted
completely or adequately 70-75% of Hindu edits (depending on how one
counts them). And finally, with these four amendments, we expect that
overall up to 80-82% of Hindu edits will be accepted (again, the
range indicates that the actual acceptance percentage involves
subjectivity in calculations).

So it is clear who has 'lost', and who has 'won'. I will do an
analysis to show later that Witzel's claim notwithstanding, the
coverage women rights and Dalit rights in these textbooks have not
improved to any significant extent due to his intervention. If
anything, his intervention has robbed Emperor Ashoka of his famed
religious tolerance, and has allowed the textbooks to retain
caricaturist and innaccurate definitions of Ayurveda, Yoga etc.
Contrary to his claims that he has defended the Dalits, I have shown
that he accepted 6/7 Hindu edits related to untouchability. Likewise,
of the 3 edits related to women, he accepted 1 completely (which
removes the negativity from one book completely), and 2 with
modifications (that considerably tone down the original text anyway).
Hindu edits relating to women rights actually did not touch most of
the material of the textbooks anyway. A complete correction of these
books was impossible in the first place due to the restrictive nature
of edit rules. Finally, Witzel CRP rejected one of the edits of HEF
but agreed to a text according to which the 'regional languages of
India are derived from Sanskrit'. This robs the independent status of
Tamil (HEF edit 44) and it is a pity that 'scholars' have overlooked
this important fact.

It appears that the Board became acutely aware that the group of
Dalits representing even Evangelist and Sikh organizations were
actually trying to back-project today's issues into India's past.
This is why it has decided to stick to its decision to approve 6/7
edits related to untouchability (and thereby approve Dr Witzel's
agreement with Dr Bajpai also in these 6 cases), and has mandated the
use of the word class for 'varna'. This group of Dalits came today as
well and delivered in many cases the SAME speeches that they had made
last week.

I would like to thank dozens of Hindus who laboriously and with great
dexterity, provided copies of authoritative books and journal
articles to the Board members very promptly, and this surely made
them decide in our favor, despite the innuendos of politicians
masquerading as academics. As a Hindu, I would also like to thank
more than 100 academics that wrote to the Board in our favor
repeatedly, even as recently as this week. Their dignified and
scholarly letters elaborating on academic matters related contentious
matters in this controversy were in marked contrast to the rhetorical
garbage that the Board received from the other side. Credit is also
due to the hundreds of parents who sent in their support to Hindu
edits to the Board. Per my information, more than 250 parents sent
their approval signatures in just the 10 days before the Feb 27
meeting. This demonstrates the extent of support in the community and
the fact that our opponents (whose names we see often in connection
with political activities) are a fringe group, despite their
characteristically high decibel campaign. Frank Pallone and Kumar
Barwe wrote in our support, as did many mainstream Indian American
organizations such as the National Federation of Indian Associations
(NFIA) to my knowledge.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that the fight was on our community
edits, and the opponents of Hindu Americans had nothing to lose. It
was a 'war of attrition' for us. Hence, anything less than 100%
acceptance of our edits is a loss to us. Therefore, I would fully
support the HAF in case they do decide to go with a lawsuit. The fact
does remain that the entire process was derailed by the gratuitous
intervention of a group academics, some of whom have made very
prejudiced remarks against our community. The Board should not have
been a party to this calumny, and even when they realized it finally,
it was already too late. The Board must officially acknowledge their
errors or must be made to acknowledge the same so that our community
is saved from discrimination on other states in future.

The speech of Steve Farmer today too was
very hilarious (worse than that of Feb 27), and the last laugh will
be made by someone else :-)

The Board members nicely stated that textbooks cannot be perfect, and
that parents will henceforth play an important role in educating the
teachers and their county officials. My personal recommendation is
for parents to approach their children's school teachers, and request
rejection of certain textbooks such as those of 4 publishers namely
McGraw Hill Glencoe, McGraw Hill MacMillan, Holt and OUP because
these are worst. Teacher's Curriculum Institute and Pearson-Prentice
Hall books are the best.

Alan Bersin acknowledged that the heritage and culture of India is
very rich, and no textbook could be perfectly correct in representing
our rich and diverse civilization. He stated (as did another Board
member), that the entire controversy made them learn a lot about
Hinduism, and I think we should thank HEF and VF for spreading
awareness of Dharma amongst the Board members. It is the light of
Dharma alone that can dispel the darkness of falsehool, and as the
national motto of India, quoting the Mundaka Upanishad, says -
 'satyameva jayate' ('Truth alone triumphs').

Let us however take this controversy as just a beginning, because
justice and fairness in describing Hinduism in textbooks should be
the norm in all states of the great nation that we have chosen to
reside in. Those who are threatening that 'Texas will be a greater
mess 2 years from now', will face even tougher opposition there
because the Hindu American community of TX has already started
gearing up for quite some time now, and has been historically very
well organized for over a decade. In fact, CA Hindus should
acknowledge the very valuable help extended to us by them even in
this controversy.

Just two days ago, three of the greatest current scholars of Tamil
grammar in Tamil Nadu, India faxed a long handwritten letter to the
SBE supporting the efforts of HEF/VF. It is individual acts of love
such as these that has helped us tide this situation to a great
extent. But again, this is just a beginning, and we need to multiply
our efforts to spread awareness, and the light of Dharma so that each
community in this land of the free can enjoy their freedom, and
appreciate each other's heritage as if it were their own.

Sincerely,

Vishal Agarwal

6 comments:

Kalyani said...

Good.A thousand mile walk starts with the first step.

Why don't you repost the one on 'Fear of Engineering'.

Congratulations!May we have many more reasons to feel vindicated and satisfied too!!

Abhi said...

CA textbook is going to be replicated all across the United States. I wonder who is going to fund the Witzer's trip to all states :) Just wait and watch the tamasha now. Califronia was just the beginning.

virat0 said...

this may be the beginning of the end for romila thapar, amartya sen and other self-proclaimed 'great intellectuals' of india..

This guy amartya is too influential, NDTV could go to any extent to accomodate Brinda, but for amartya they would find audience behaving like sisya.

Vishal is intresting, he doesn't have the pretence of intellectuals, but gives much more info than them. Some of the cherished academic arrogance of amartya has to be discussed and ripped apart by one such non-pretentious fellow to force amartya to give more respect to hindus.

DarkStorm said...

Fear of engineering.. hmm.. very true Rajeev.

See how marxist authors like Praful Bidwai (who might be a BA without honours from some noname Brit univ dominated by leftists) trash engineers as cybercoolies.. hehe.. the fear actually shows.

Also, see how most of the trolls target the profession of the posters here rather than countering with facts. Ad hominem attacks.. attack the messenger instead of the message.

Kalyani said...

Thank God DarkStorm is back!And I am happy! I was getting worried,seriously.

Sabarish Sasidharan said...

I have a suggestion.

Despite all this we should publish our own true story in a form understandeable by children in a very easy to use and understand website of our own. For each edit that has not been allowed or has been modified, we should post our own versions of errata in a well accessible internet website that our children and ourselves can point to when somebody questions us about them. The website could have a textbook skin as well to make the children feel more comfortable.