ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Debate on Indian History

The recent controversy over "correcting" depictions of ancient India in history school textbooks in California, has been largely posited in terms of a "secular vs saffron" debate; however, it has wider ramifications. While Indian Americans' vision of an "ideal" state of being in ancient India is influenced by their own physical separation and cultural isolation in the US, any unitary rewriting of ancient Indian history would have repercussions for India, and could tarnish its ideals of secularism.

Revising Textbooks in California

A huge controversy is currently raging among academicians, scholars, political and religious activists, Indians and Hindu Americans about drastic changes proposed by the Vedic Foundation, the Hindu Education Foundation and some Indian Americans, in the history textbooks for the state of California in America. The correction process assumed contentious hues due to the far-reaching nature of the alterations recommended in the portrayal of the caste system in India, the role of Hinduism in perpetrating the caste hierarchy, and the status of women in ancient India. In addition, the corrections went as far as to depict Hinduism as a monotheistic religion neglecting several other strands of philosophy such as the Advaita, Visishtadvaita, Dwaita, Non-Vedic Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Tantra, seeking as it were, to impose a pan-Hindu identity on ancient India.

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