Saturday November 25, 2017

India or South Asia – The HAF campaign

“Early Civilizations of India” or “Early Civilizations of South Asia”

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There’s an ongoing debate in California over how to portray ancient India in academic curricula for grades 6 and 7. Some want it to be South Asia while others are insisting on renaming it to India. However the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) wants the whole region to be called as India.

  • The debate is all about whether the region which comprises of modern-day India, Pakistan and Nepal should be referred to India or as South Asia.
  • This debate over Indian subcontinent is evolving into a strong fight. Depicting the fastest-growing Asian population in the United States this can be seen as a reflection of ongoing transformation in California’s population.
  • Various petition drives and social media campaigns such as #DontEraseIndia have been triggered by this raging issue. Students believe that anything other than India will be like erasing their Indian heritage.
South Asian culture, Wikimedia commnons
South Asian culture, Wikimedia commons
  • Tom Admas (Deputy Superintendent of the California Department of Education) said that they want children of California to understand all the religious groups.
  • Mentioning to the fact that in universities such as Harvard the term South Asia is used for the academic unit dealing with the Indian subcontinent, Political scientists (current scholars of India) have preferred to use the term South Asia rather than India.
  • Nathan Glazer (one of the sociologist professors at Harvard) said “They could not conceive of it as South Asia. They knew it as a distinctive civilization, stretching from the Indus to the Ganges, from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean, with its own ancient languages, and classic texts and religions descended from them. He further elucidates that South Asia is being used to avoid offending to Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • Hindu American Foundation (HAF) wants the whole region to be called as India and insists on explaining the caste system as a part of the region, not as a Hindu practice. According to them, the caste system is not universally accepted in India.
  • However, a group of scholars has challenged HAF the historical accuracy of their view. According to the former group, HAF is trying to sanitize any link between Hinduism and Castes. Therefore, they want it to be renamed as South Asia.

Related article :Top 10 TV series showcasing Indian culture

  • Vidhima Shetty (a high school student) further says names are what define us people and using the term South Asia is like asking us to change our name. Removing India as a term from the textbooks leaves Indian-American children with no ethnic or cultural identification to turn to. When we acknowledge ourselves as South Asians, us Hindus are forced to re-identify ourselves as something we are not
  • Almost 2.5 million Indian Hindus live in the United States. This textbook debate arose when the United States Instructional Quality Commission introduced a new framework for the Kindergarten to the Class 12th social science curriculum.
  • Intellectuals are worried because the textbooks that are made on California’s framework are followed elsewhere as well. The commission has also heard from Filipino, Korean and Mexican advocates.
South Asia definition, Wikimedia commons
South Asia definition, Wikimedia commons
  • Suhag Shukla, an executive director of the HAF who also initiated the social media campaign said “Early Civilizations of India” could be “Early Civilizations of South Asia”. This is an issue not only about accuracy but also cultural competency. HAF was not trying to deny the fact that caste exists, but arguing only that tying it to Hinduism was unfair. Every religion has some form of caste and discrimination
  • Another statement came from Mr. Hansen that “This group has a lot of interest in calling everything Hindu and Indian so that it can equate modern-day India with historic roots. But it’s absurd. It would be like calling Ancient Rome Italy. Our duty is to make sure that the history is keeping with the scholarly research rather than give into what a particular group wants “.
  •  Recently a statement came from Mr. Adams that “In the midst of the back-and-forththe commission is trying to strike a balance.

Prepared by Pritam

Pritam is a 3rd year engineering student in B.P. Poddar institute of management and technology, Kolkata. A simple person who tries to innovate and improvise himself. Twitter handle @pritam_gogreen

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Dalai Lama says that India and China have great potential

The spiritual leader feels that both the countries are doing compassionate works

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Dalai Lama talks about India and China
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai says that India and China can work together. VOA

New Delhi, Nov 19

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday said India and China have “great potential” and they could work together at a “practical level”.

“I think, a great potential… India and China combined are doing more compassionate work… At a practical level also. Imagine two billion people working together,” he told reporters here after inaugurating Smile Foundation’s initiative, The World of Children.

The spiritual leader, who has lived in India in self-imposed exile since 1959, said neither country had the “ability to destroy the other”.

“Whether you like it or not, you have to live side by side,” he said.

Underlining the ancient spiritual connection between the two countries, he said Chinese Buddhist Hsuan Tsang visited Nalanda (now in Bihar) and brought Nalanda Buddhist traditions to China.

“All thinkers of Nalanda are Indian. So Nalanda’s tradition is India’s tradition,” he said.

The Nalanda traditions had turned Tibetans, who were warriors, into more compassionate, peaceful and non-violent nation, he said.

“So sometimes in Delhi, teasing my Indian friend, (I say) if Tibet still remained in the previous way of life, like Mongols, Chinese invasion may not have taken place,” the Dalai Lama said in a lighter vein.

He said nobody in the world wanted violence but it was happening “because our minds are dominated by destructive emotions due to short-sightedness”.

“Nobody wants problems. Yet, many problems are our own creation.”

The Dalai Lama said the existing modern education was oriented to material values. India can take lead in improving the education system by combining modern education with ancient knowledge, he said. (IANS)

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Manushi Chhillar from India Wins the Miss World 2017 Title

India's Manushi Chillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant here, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

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Miss World
Manushi Chhillar has been crowned as Miss World 2017. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

China, November 19: India’s Manushi Chhillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

Chhillar competed against 108 contestants from various countries at a glittering event held at Sanya City Arena here.

Miss World 2016 winner Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle gave away the coveted crown to the winner.

Chhillar, who is from Haryana, had earlier this year won the Femina Miss India 2017.

Miss world
Anti Ageing was the official skin care expert for Manushi Chhillar at the Miss World 2017 pageant. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

India, England, France, Kenya and Mexico grabbed the top five spots at the peagant.

Manushi, born to doctor parents, studied in St. Thomas School in New Delhi and Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonepat.

Her entire family including brother and sister were present and they looked excited watching Manushi grabbing top five spot.

As many as 108 beauty queens from different parts of the world participated in the prestigious pageant. (IANS)

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The major Challenge is to make the Youth of the Country Entrepreneurial and not Job Seekers : Venkaiah Naidu

"The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers," Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government's various initiatives.

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Venkaiah Naidu
Venkaiah Naidu. Wikimedia Commons
  • At a time of tepid job growth and continuing income disparities, the major challenge is to make the youth of the country entrepreneurial and not job seekers, Vice President  Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday.

“Disparities continue to remain in India and so there is a need for inclusive growth… there is the need to take care of the suppressed, oppressed and depressed,” Venkaiah Naidu said at the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust’s (BYST) silver jubilee celebrations here with Britain’s Prince Charles as the chief guest.

“The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers,” Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government’s various initiatives to encourage youth enterprises like Startup India, Standup India and the Mudra financing scheme for underprivileged sections.

Modelled on Prince Charles’ Trust for business startups, BYST, founded by Lakshmi Venkatesan, daughter of former President R. Venkatraman, is engaged in building rural entrepreneurship — “grampreneurs” — as also enterprise among under-privileged sections, which includes business mentoring. The current BYST chairman is Bajaj Group chief, Rahul Bajaj.

“Without mentoring, it would be very difficult to set up startups, with all the business, marketing and other vital issues involved in the first two-three years,” Prince Charles said in his address at the International Mentoring Summit organized by BYST to mark its 25 years.

“What amazes me are the sheer number of jobs these young entrepreneurs had created. The aim of such a project should be to create a virtual cycle of creating entrepreneurs who can then invest in the future of business,” Charles said referring to his trust.

BYST was officially launched in 1992 by Prince Charles and expanded its operations to six major regions of India.

Out of these six regions, four — Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad — run the urban programme while two regions — Haryana and Maharashtra — run the rural programme.(IANS)