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Tulsi Gabbard asks California education board to describe Hinduism accurately, urges to include the ‘positive contributions’ made by Hindu women

Being the first and only serving Hindu-American member of Congress, Gabbard claimed that she has dedicatedly worked towards encouraging equality, pluralism and diversity

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Tulsi Gabbard. Image Source: nbcnews.com
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  • In a letter head of their final hearing, on July 8, Gabbard has insisted that the board should ensure both the identity and the history of the religion are restored
  • In addition she also asked the education board to include the key roles women have played in ancient history and Hindu society at large
  • She has also asked the education board to depict the caste-system positively

Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu ever elected to U.S. Congress, has urged a California based education board to define Hinduism accurately in their text books and give the religion its due credit.

The 35-year-old Hindu-American politician and the representative of Democratic Party from Hawaii since 2013, has asked the board not to describe the religion in the wrong light as ‘religions of ancient India.’

Californian education board is in its last phase of revising and updating the K-12 History-Social Science syllabus for public schools.

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In a letter head of their final hearing, on July 8, Gabbard has insisted that the board should ensure both the identity and the history of the religion are restored.

She has stressed that all inaccurate and wrong references related to Hinduism like the phrase, “religions of Ancient India, including but not limited to early Hinduism” must be removed.

In the letter Gabbard said, “Replacing Hinduism with the term ‘religions of Ancient India, including but not limited to early Hinduism’ is not only inaccurate, but it will cause confusion for students and teachers alike,” reported DNA.

Tulsi Gabbard administering the oath of office on Bhagvad Gita. Image Source: The Hindu
Tulsi Gabbard administering the oath of office on Bhagavad Gita. Image Source: The Hindu

In addition, she also asked the education board to include the key roles women have played in ancient history and Hindu society at large.

She wrote, “While it is important to discuss the existence of patriarchies in ancient civilisations, it is also critical to discuss the positive contributions and unique roles played by women in those societies,” she noted.

“In the context of Ancient India, Hindu women were able to perform their own religious rites and also authored the Vedas, Hinduism’s sacred texts,” Gabbard added.

She has also asked the education board to depict the caste-system positively and added that though caste-based discrimination is a reality but the present description “goes against the essence of Hindu teachings and scriptures, which posit that divinity is inherent in all beings.”

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Being the first and the only serving Hindu-American member of Congress, Gabbard claimed that she has dedicatedly worked towards encouraging equality, pluralism, and diversity.

Meanwhile, around two dozen Indian-American organizations have also sent a letter to the board, requesting it no teach Hinduism in an “outdated, inaccurate and stereotyped manner.”

– prepared by Bulbul Sharma, a staff-writer at NewsGram. Twitter handle: iBulbul_

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  • Aparna Gupta

    Hinduism is practised by million people. To show positive attitudes will increase followers of Hinduism.

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Insurance Claims From California’s Wildfire At $9 Billion

State and federal officials are currently removing hazardous household materials from the damaged properties.

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California, Insurance
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones talks about the costs of recent wildfires during a news conference in Sacramento, California. VOA

Insurance claims from last month’s California wildfires already are at $9 billion and expected to increase, the state’s insurance commissioner announced Wednesday.

About $7 billion in claims are from the Camp Fire that destroyed the Northern California city of Paradise and killed at least 86 people, making it the deadliest U.S. wildfire in at least a century. The rest is from the Woolsey and Hill fires in Southern California.

Collectively, the fires destroyed or damaged more than 20,000 structures, with the vast majority in and around Paradise. On Tuesday, state and federal authorities estimated it will cost at least $3 billion just to clear debris.

“As the claims get perfected, as individuals get access to their former homes and neighborhoods, as they dialogue with their insurance companies and share more information about the scope of their loss, we expect these numbers to rise,” Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said of the $9 billion estimate.

California, Wildfire, Insurance
Jennifer Christensen sorts through items found in a safe at the remains of her home Dec. 5, 2018, in Paradise, California. VOA

Over 28,000 claims

There are more than 28,000 claims for residential personal property, nearly 2,000 from commercial property and 9,400 in auto and other claims for the fires.

That’s well above the number of claims filed following a series of fires that tore through Northern California’s wine country last year. Losses from those fires were initially pegged at $3.3 billion but eventually grew to $10 billion.

While the Camp Fire destroyed about double the number of structures as the 2017 fires, home values in Butte County are far lower than those in Sonoma County. That’s part of the reason total claims may seem low compared to the 2017 figures, Jones said. Median home values in Sonoma County are more than double those in Butte.

Jones advised home owners to be cautious of “fraudsters and scam artists” trying to take advantage of vulnerable communities.

California, Fire prevention, wildfires, Insurance, rain
A controlled burn ignites pine trees on the “Rough Fire” — which closed camps east of Fresno at Hume Lake as it crossed Highway 180 — in the Sequoia National Forest in California, Aug. 21, 2015. VOA

He also said its time for California to start rethinking how and if it builds in fire-prone areas. Ken Pimlott, outgoing director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told The Associated Press this week the state should consider banning construction in vulnerable areas.

Jones said local governments may not be fully considering the long-term impacts of building in areas at high risk of fire, floods and rising sea levels.

“That’s going to be a hard conversation. Everybody likes to build new, people obviously want to rebuild their communities,” he said. “We’re in a new era where these risks are so bad I think we’ve really got to take a look at how we’re making these decisions.”

Cause of fire remains unknown

Authorities are still determining what caused the fire.

Pacific Gas & Electric told regulators that a high-voltage power line malfunctioned at the time and spot that investigators believe the fire started on Nov. 8.

California, Fire prevention, wildfires, Insurance
Joe Balog, a workforce management director at Travelers, examines weather, social media and other data from recent natural disasters inside the company’s catastrophe response command center in Windsor, Connecticut. VOA

The San Francisco-based utility told the California Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday that several miles away workers found a fallen power pole and equipment with bullet holes.

86 deaths linked to fire

A number of fire victims have filed lawsuits alleging that PG&E’s equipment started the fire that destroyed the town of Paradise and killed at least 86 people.

The cleanup costs for last month’s fires will far surpass the record expense of $1.3 billion the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers spent on debris removal in Northern California in 2017.

California Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci said the state will manage cleanup contracts this time. Last year, hundreds of Northern California homeowners complained that contractors paid by the ton hauled away too much dirt and damaged unbroken driveways, sidewalks and pipes.

The state OES spent millions repairing that damage.

California, School
Trees reflect in a swimming pool outside Erica Hail’s Paradise, Calif., home, which burned during the Camp Fire. VOA

Lesson learned

Ghilarducci said the state OES will hire auditors and monitors to watch over debris removal in hopes of cutting down on the number of over-eager contractors.

“We learned a great number of things,” last year, Ghilarducci said.

Also Read: Insurance Company’s Response To Wildfire Claims Better Due to Technology

He said the U.S. Corps of Engineers was asked to lead the effort last year because state resources were stretched thin after responding to more than a dozen wildfires. This year, he said state officials can manage the cleanup and costs will be shared among state, federal and local authorities.

Cleanup is expected to begin in January and take about a year to complete. State and federal officials are currently removing hazardous household materials from the damaged properties. (VOA)