Attempts to saffronise California history curricula fails

As posted by me earlier, there was a raging battle between a coalition of interfaith groups the South Asian History for All and Hindutva groups on the revision of  California  school history curriculum. It was a high stake battle as many other American states follow Californian curricula. 

The “saffronising” of textbooks isn’t limited to Gujarat or Karnataka, or even just India. The American Hindu groups in the California battle include the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), whose founding members have links to the Sangh Parivar; the Hindu Education Foundation, a project of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, and the religious research group Uberoi Foundation. They want to rename the Indus Valley Civilization “Sindh-Saraswati”, delete any mention of Guru Nanak’s challenging of caste, and further what SAHFA calls the “oppressor Muslims vs persecuted Hindus’ narrative of Hindu nationalism”. In one of their most controversial moves, they’ve tried to get the term ‘Dalit’ deleted from the South Asian history taught in school curriculum. One of the Uberoi Foundation’s comments among the edits says, “Dalit is not a term from Sanskrit, nor from Hindu social history but a contemporary political construct to gain leverage mostly in elections and for economic concessions.”

Now the officials in California has come to, it seems, a just and rational decision.

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Battle to re-write California history text books

What should history text books in California call the area of Asia, which includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka ? Should they call it India or South Asia ?  How should those text books portray caste system? Should they mention family of birth is the most important factor deciding caste or should it say professional excellence also play a big role in it ?

There is a raging battle going on in California on these questions.

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Wage gap as wide as ever

Generally the family driver is best paid while the maid is only paid around half of what the driver makes. The driver also trumps nanny salaries, suggesting people are willing to dish out more to take care of their cars than their kids.

Findings of a recent study on wage gap among domestic workers in India brings no surprise. If you are a male, you will be paid more regardless of the importance, severity or duration of work.

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Sadly there is no sign of any end to this gender discrimination.

India and Europe goes tougher on tobacco

In a welcome move, courts in India and European Union has upheld the usage of big pictorial warnings on cigarette packs.

Report from India:

The Supreme Court told tobacco companies on Wednesday they must adhere to a new central rule requiring much larger health warnings on cigarette packs, in a major setback for the $11 billion industry that opposes the new policy.
The Supreme Court turned down a plea to stay implementation of the new rules introduced from April 1, which require health warnings to cover 85 per cent of a cigarette pack’s surface, up from 20 per cent earlier.
In a packed courtroom, a two-judge bench rejected the industry’s plea to extend a stay it had obtained from a Karnataka court but agreed to a request to move the rest of the appeals to the Karnataka court.
“You have duty towards the society,” the judges told a team of industry lawyers, which included some of the most expensive advocates in the country.
The industry “should not violate any rule prevailing as of today”, they said.

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A band with a difference

“Why are you begging on the street ? Why can’t you do a proper job ? ”

This question is often asked at Hijras of India. The answer is always this.

“Who will give me a job?  Who will give people like us jobs ?

Hijras are transgender women of India. They are shunned by society at large. Usually they are disowned by families and are forced to live in ghettos under a leader (Guru). They earn money by begging on the streets and trains. They also get some money by singing and dancing during certain ceremonies and many end up in sex work.

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A drought of marriage

Mohan Yadav is 32. For five years now his family has been trying to find him a bride. Villagers say there are nearly 60 men like Mr Yadav who face the same crisis in the village.

“People refuse to get their daughter married to me saying there is a water crisis in my village and after marriage they would have to walk miles to fetch water. I want to get married,” says Mr Yadav. He wants the government to help. “Solution to the water problem is possible, if government makes a dam,” he adds.

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