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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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Star ICC Asks Anonymous Accuser Of Sexual Assault Charges To Step Forward

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were "clear instructions" given to make the sales team fulfil the targets.

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Star ICC
#MeToo: Star India internal panel writes to anonymous accuser to come forward

The Internal Complaints Committee of Star India on Sexual Harassment (Star ICC) has written to the anonymous accuser — who had alleged “sexual exploitation” of women employees — asking her to reach out to the committee or its external member on allegations made by her in tweets.

In a Twitter post on Friday, Star ICC, formed under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 said it had reached out to the accuser through two emails on the ID provided by her through her tweets. The committee’s external member is Veena Gowda, a Mumbai-based woman rights lawyer.

The accuser, who tweeted through handle @ApurvaS17 — saying she would remain anonymous — had made sexual harassment allegations against the company’s officials in an open letter.

Star ICC
Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt.

Asked to comment on the allegations, a Star India spokesperson said in a statement that despite no response by the anonymous accuser to the messages sent, the Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy” in respect of the allegations.

“We strongly urge any genuine complainant to approach the Star ICC. At Star, we stand with women in drawing the line on any behaviour that violates human dignity or the ability for women to pursue their dreams with respect and freedom. We have a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment,” read the statement in response to an email query by IANS.

It also said that the anonymous tweet shared on October 13 raised an allegation that “runs completely counter to everything we believe in and the norms and values that we deeply embrace.”

The statement further said: “Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt to malign and defame the reputation of the company and the CEO.” It said that Star reserves its right to initiate appropriate legal proceedings in this regard.

Star ICC
The Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy.

The accuser in her tweets had said that the #MeToo movement had encouraged her to come forward and that she had quit her job at Star India in the Airtime Sales section after 26 months and nine days and was now a homemaker, “taking care of my baby and hubby in a beautiful country, far away from Mumbai.”

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were “clear instructions” given to make the sales team fulfil the targets in case they want to continue with their employment contract, “for which even if you have to take the clients to a hotel room and sleep with them for days.”

She said there were many instances when she and three of her female colleagues (interns) had clear instructions to reach a hotel after office hours for a private party hosted for influential friends.

Also Read: India’s Junior Foreign Minister M.J. Akbar Quits Following #MeToo Harassment Allegation By Women

She says the influential friends were “mostly bureaucrats and sometimes politicians and foreign nationals” who were “all ready to violate you, force you to dance against your wishes, drink with them, make drink(s) for them, exchange your numbers and even quietly accompany them to their respective rooms if they want you to”.

Veteran writer-director Vinta Nanda, who earlier this month accused actor Alok Nath of sexually violating her 19 years ago, wrote on Twitter: “I’m neither shocked nor surprised. I salute your courage to have come out and spoken out. The rot runs deep.” (IANS)