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Textbook Reform Initiative
Inaccuracies in Textbooks

Below are a few examples of factually inaccurate and demeaning quotations taken directly from the textbooks that have been adopted for use in California for use in 6th grade history-social studies classes until 2012.  Such gross inaccuracies span multiple topics on Hinduism and India and are widespread in all of the textbooks adopted. Althought the California State Board of Education mandated some changes to improve the textbooks' coverage of these topics, it will not be known until the books become available in the fall exactly how the publishers have worded the corrections.

The following original textbook quotations are followed by a brief statement that corrects the quotes and gives an accurate description.

Hinduism and Description of “gods” in Hinduism
“Hindus worship many gods and goddesses. Unlike Vishnu, Shiva is not concerned with human matters. (Shakti) is both kind and cruel.”
Textbook: History Alive! Teachers’ Curriculum Institute, p. 115-116.
“Durga and Kali are terrible and extremely bloodthirsty forms of this goddess.”
Textbook: The Ancient South Asian World, Oxford University Press, p. 92.
“Hindus believe yoga exercises help free the soul from the cares of the world.”
Textbook: History of Our World, Prentice Hall, p. 118.
God in Hindu scriptures is described as eternal, omnipresent, all-Blissful, all-Gracious, all-kind and all loving Divine personality. There is one single God Who represents the various aspects of His unlimited Blissful charm through many forms. “God is one. He Himself is within everything that exists. He is omnipresent.” (Shvetashvatar Upnishad – 1/10). Humble, loving and wholehearted self-submission to any personal form of God evokes the Grace of God and frees the soul from the bondage of the material world. “Those who self-submittedly, selflessly and continuously worship God and adore Him with unfailing faith, they cross the mayic realm.” (Mundakopnishad – 3/2/1)

Hindu Scriptures
“According to the Vedas, Agni the fire god enjoyed sacrifices of horses, bulls, male buffalo, goats, sheep and sometimes even human beings ...”
Textbook: The Ancient South Asian World, Oxford University Press, p. 81.
“Historians think several different authors wrote it (the Mahabharata) and that it was written down around 100 B.C. ... Like adventure movies of today, the Mahabharata tells thrilling stories about great heroes.”
Textbook: Discovering Our Past – Ancient Civilizations, Glencoe-McGraw Hill, p. 265-266.
Katyayan Sutra specifically says that the materials used in the Vedic yagyas must be purely vegetarian. References from the scriptures – “The evil person who kills or eats the meat of a horse or a cow deserves to be terminated.” (Rig Ved – 10/87/16); “In the Vedic yagya, killing of an animal or eating meat is totally prohibited.” (Poorv Mimansa – 12/2/2). The Mahabharat reaffirms this fact – “It is only the evil-minded hypocrites who started telling that Vedic yagyas involve intoxicants and meat eating; it is not in the Vedas.” (Mahabharat Shanti Parv – 265/9)
The Mahabharat was produced by Sage Ved Vyas soon after the Mahabharat War that took place in 3139 BC between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. Besides numerous astronomical references that are given within the epic itself, other geological, inscriptional, scriptural, circumstantial and documentary evidences unquestionably prove the date of the Mahabharat and that of the epic (“The True History and the Religion of India,” H.D. Swami Prakashanand Saraswati, 2003 edition).

Sanskrit and Early Indian Civilization
“Sanskrit belongs to a language group called the Indo-European languages ... The languages listed – and many others – developed from a lost language called Proto-Indo-European.”
Textbook: World History - Ancient Civilizations, Holts, p. 148.
“500 B.C.E. – Sanskrit language is first written down.”
Textbook: History Alive!, Teachers’ Curriculum Institute, p. 179.
“In about 1500 B.C., a group of Indo-Europeans called the Aryans traveled east into India. In contrast to city-dwelling Harappans, the Aryans were herders.”
Textbook: World History – Ancient Civilizations, McDougal Littell, p. 228.
Sanskrit, the language in which the Vedas, Upnishads, and hundreads of Hindu scriptures are produced, the language which exhibits six unique features that cannot be found in any other language of the world is undoubtedly the world’s first language. The word “Arya” in Sanskrit refers to noble characteristics of an individual and is not a reference to a group of people. To introduce the idea that Sanskrit was an outside language, Sir William Jones and other European orientalists, created a fiction of Aryan invasion in the 1800s and extensively promoted it during the British rule over India. None of the thousands of Hindu scriptures even once mention any such invasion or migration. If there is any mention of migration in the scriptures it is an outward migration from India. “Ambitious chatriyas (kings) of Bharatvarsh (India) went abroad to the neighboring countries to establish their new kingdoms ...” (Manu Smriti – 10/43)
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