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California Education Board approves of richer content on Hinduism and ancient India in the curriculum

The new framework is all set to have the mention of philosophies and teachings originating from Hinduism, information about the Bhakti saints and Vedic sages

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Education board in California include richer content on ancient India and Hinduism for the first time. Image source: www.indialivetoday.com
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  • The new framework has been accepted after several public hearings and objections, which kept pouring in for the past two years
  • The updated curriculum will also have a richer content on topics like art, culture, dance and scientific contributions of India to the world
  • Earlier, Congressman Tulsi Gabbard and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom had also voiced their support for the cause

California education board has finally approved a new curriculum that will have rich content on Hinduism and ancient India. The board has also decided to remove text that depicts Islam in a bad light.

The new framework has been accepted after several public hearings and objections, which kept pouring in for the past two years.

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Brimming with optimism, Sandeep Dedage, director, Hindu Education Foundation USA said, “While much needs to be done to bring content on Hinduism and Indian civilisation on par with other religions and civilisations, we believe that great progress has been made in the last two years,” quoted The Indian Express.

Earlier, Congressman Tulsi Gabbard and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom had also voiced their support for the cause.

Tuksi Gabbard. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Tulsi Gabbard. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The new framework is all set to have the mention of philosophies and teachings originating from Hinduism along with pieces of information about the Bhakti saints and Vedic sages.

According to a report in The Indian Express, the updated curriculum will also have a richer content on topics like art, culture, dance and scientific contributions made by India to the world.

The statement released by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson read as: “It will give our students access to the latest historical research and help them learn about the diversity of our state and the contributions of people and groups who may not have received the appropriate recognition in the past.”

The statement also revealed that the new texts would also include more information about voter education, contributions made by the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) American group, genocide, financial education and about the people with disability.

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While there was a group of top academicians who demanded that ‘ancient India’ to be renamed as ‘South Asia’ in the texts, was followed by a big round of heated debate, and the board eventually decided in favour of India.

Barbara McGraw, convener of the Social Sciences and Religion Faculty Group said, “We have a long way to go. But we are on our way to a bright future for a more equitable representation of Hinduism in California textbooks.”

Though there has been a victory on many fronts Hindu American Foundation senior director Samir Kalra wasn’t too satisfied with the decision because she felt that the board did not show similar “empathy” to Hindus as it showed to the “activists representing Islam and Muslims” by agreeing to depict them in a better light.

– prepared by Bulbul Sharma, a staff-writer at NewsGram. 

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  • AJ Krish

    This change clearly shows that when people raise their opinions, they will be heard

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15 Amazing facts about Indian National Song: Vande Mataram

The National song of India, Vande Mataram is considered as the foundation of encouragement to the people in their struggle for freedom.

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Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote the lyrics of Vande Mataram. Wikimedia Commons
Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote the lyrics of Vande Mataram. Wikimedia Commons
  • Vande Mataram was originally written in 1876 and appeared in Anandamath in 1881
  • Well before the Congress’ Varanasi session on September 7, 1905, Vande Mataram was adopted as the `National Song’ and won India’s heart as its war cry of freedom
  • Poet Sarala Devi Chaudurani sang the national song in the Benares Congress Session in 1905

‘Vande Mataram’, is no less than an epic for our country and holds a special place in the heart of every Indian. The first two words of the title itself are sufficient to induce a great feeling of patriotism.

It would be a surprise for many to know that September 7, 2006, was not the centenary of Vande Mataram. On the contrary, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote the lyrics of Vande Mataram well before he penned Anandamath, his novel, which described unified Bengal’s sanyasi uprising against tyrannical Muslim rule in the 1770s.

For better clarification, Vande Mataram was originally written in 1876 and appeared in Anandamath in 1881.

The National song was a part of Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s most famous novel Anand Math. Wikimedia Commons
Vande Mataram was a part of Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s most famous novel Anand Math. Wikimedia Commons

Thus, 2006 was not the 100th year of Vande Mataram, but the 129th anniversary of the `National Song”, which was first recited at the Indian National Congress session of 1896.

Also Read: 10 Must Knowing Facts about Indian Flag

Well before the Congress’ Varanasi session on September 7, 1905, Vande Mataram was adopted as the `National Song’ and won India’s heart as its war cry of freedom.

On January 24, 1950, it was brought at par with the National Anthem officially by the Constituent Assembly.

The protest against Vande Mataram because of its ‘idolatrous’ content began in the 1890s. The Congress party surrendered before Islamic opposition at its Kakinada session in 1923 not only on the Vande Mataram issue but also to all symbols and values held national.

The recent HRD ministerial diktat to compulsorily sing the song throughout the country occupied much media space and ignited a debate on India’s national song’s journey over the last 130 years.

Also Read: 15 Amazing Facts About The Revolutionary Bhagat Singh

The song served as a source of immense strength and inspiration for freedom fighters before India gained freedom.

The Sangh Parivar, better known as the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) celebrated the 125th anniversary of the song in 2002. Wikimedia Commons
The Sangh Parivar, better known as the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) celebrated the 125th anniversary of the song in 2002. Wikimedia Commons

Take a look at some of the glorious facts related to our National song, ‘Vande Mataram’.

  1. The National song, ‘Vande Mataram’ was written by the great Bengali poet and writer, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee.
  2. On January 24, 1950, it was adopted as the National Song of India.
  3. The National song of India, Vande Mataram is considered as the foundation of encouragement to the people in their struggle for freedom. The National song of India is versed in the Sanskrit and Bengali languages, in the novel ‘Anandmath’ by Bankim Chandra Chatterji.
  4. The former President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, on January 24, 1950, came up with a declaration in the Constituent Assembly that the song Vande Mataram, which had played a significant part in the historic freedom struggle held in India, should be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and must give equal status to it.
  5. The National song was a part of Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s most famous novel Anand Math (1882) which is set in the events of Sannyasi rebellion.
  6. The first translation of Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s novel Anand Math, into English was done by Nares Chandra Sen-Gupta, in 1906.
  7. In the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress, it was the first political event when the National song was sung. On the same occasion, the national song of India was first sung by the Rabindranath Tagore.
  8. Poet Sarala Devi Chaudurani sang the national song in the Benares Congress Session in 1905.
  9. The Iron Man of India, Lala Lajpat Rai, published a journal called Vande Mataram from Lahore.

    Dr. Rajendra Prasad, on January 24, 1950, came up with a declaration that Vande Mataram should be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and must give equal status to it. Wikimedia Commons
    Dr. Rajendra Prasad, on January 24, 1950, came up with a declaration that Vande Mataram should be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and must give equal status to it. Wikimedia Commons
  10. Vande Mataram was recited in the first political film made by Hiralal Sen in 1905.
  11. The Sangh Parivar, better known as the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) celebrated the 125th anniversary of the song in 2002.
  12. Two stanzas of the original song have been officially declared as the National Song of India in 1950 after the independence of India.
  13. The song was originally written in two languages, Sanskrit and Bengali, in the novel ‘Anandmath’.
  14. It was also sung by the Dakhina Charan Sen in 1901 after five years during another Congress meeting at Calcutta.
  15. India’s first political film Hiralal Senmade, made in 1905 ends with the chant Vande Mataram.