Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Karma and education

At this point it pales in comparison to the Intelligent Design vs. Darwinist debate, but Indian history has made a splash in California public education. Two US-based Hindu groups are pushing the state hard for sixth-grade textbook revisions on Indian History. The two groups support a more nationalist interpretation on the arrival of the Aryans and Hinduism to the Indus River Valley. Most Hindu nationalists reject the notion that Aryan invaders made their way to India by 2600 BCE. They maintain that the culture existed there long before. They reject contemporary interpretations of history as tainted with the British colonial view. Many historians are fighting hard against the revisionists, claiming it will lead to a whitewashing of history. The Christian Science Monitor presents a good read for those interested in education, history, India and intellectual debates all rolled into one.

Having taught seventh-grade social studies in NC for several years, I've boned up on Indian History. It's a fascinating place. With India emerging as a major player on the world stage, it's important not replace history with mythology. At the same time, there is much to respect adn suspect about Hinduism and the culture it created in South Asia. Perhaps a reasonable standoff is in the works.


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