Regardless of the outcome of this lawsuit, it is a tribute to the courage of CAPEEM that they have taken on the might of the academia and powerful politicians.
On February 2nd, 2019, the California Parents for the Equalization of Educational Materials (CAPEEM) issued a Press Release announcing that Judge Charles Breyer had unsealed emails showing the California Department of Education officials solicited and coordinated professors’ anti-Hindu reports on the 2016 drafts of the California-History Social Science Framework and falsely presented them as “public comment.” PGurus has obtained a copy of the unsealed pages and has unearthed a wealth of information that substantiates the claims of CAPEEM.
Their effort to “undermine the legitimacy of Hinduism” manifested itself elsewhere in their draft report when they accused Hindus and Hinduism of appropriating their sacred works and claimed that these texts do not mention the word “Hindu.”
CAPEEM’s claim that Tom Adams, the Deputy Superintendent at the California Department of Education, secretly contacted a group of professors with whom he had worked in the past to create an anti-Hindu curriculum does seem to have merit, when one looks at the Unsealed pages (see Figure 1):
Figure 1. Email communication among anti-Hindu professors calling themselves South Asia Faculty Group (SAFG)
Interestingly, Kamala Visweswaran, who seems to be the lead activist in this effort, states very clearly that their “mission” was to use “smoke and mirrors” to preclude the inputs of Hindu groups. In an email sent to other members of the group of professors, she says, “I know there is still some confusion about our task. We are not to respond directly to the [Hindu groups’] proposals… but… to preclude those recommendations having any traction. This does create a smoke and mirrors situation… So that is our mission.”
Critics point out that the group seems to be dominated by Christians with even Kamala Visweswaran herself being the daughter of a White Christian mother, and Jonathan Kenoyer being the son of Christian missionaries who worked in India.
The SAFG report seems to be an inside job of the Dept. of Education
Two of the members copied in the email written by Kamala Visweswaran, Sudipta Sen and Robert Goldman, are not only part of the anti-Hindu group, but are also listed as contributors to the California History-Social Science Frameworks document, a point highlighted by CAPEEM in its Motion to the court. Other emails obtained by PGurus confirms that another staff member of the Department of Education, Kenneth McDonald, helped coordinate the activities of the SAFG. Combined with the fact that Tom Adams solicited the inputs of this group makes it clear that the report submitted by the group was not “public comment” but an inside job of the Department of Education.
Are these the Subject matter experts?
To claim this group as “Subject Matter Experts” is laughable. Here is an example (Figure 2):
Figure 2. Mis-correction of a mis-spelled word
The second recommendation is ludicrous! The correct spelling is Telugu. That they found Telagu was wrong was indeed right but to say it should be spelled Telegu, beggars belief! Is it mediocrity or ignorance of these professors? Either way, it is an insult to close to 100 million Telugus who live all over the world.
As to the other recommendation, this is contrary to facts. Women were always respected and as a matter of fact, there are matrilineal societies in existence in India, even today (Nairs). These are some examples that go to show that the so-called “expertise” of this group is rather shallow.
Outright hostility towards Hindus
SAFG’s draft report exhibits outright hostility towards Hinduism. Recognizing this fact, Tom Trautmann who is part of the anti-Hindu group wrote to other professors describing their draft report as “inventedness of Hinduism” and went on to state:
“And readers of our report can imagine that it is meant to undermine the legitimacy of Hinduism as a religion (and Hinduism uniquely among religions, at that)… I worry that we are not thinking enough about writing to our readership and persuading them with arguments that will be seen to be reasonable. We need to persuade, not just to inform our readers of the present state of scholarly thinking (i.e. our own!)”
Their effort to “undermine the legitimacy of Hinduism” manifested itself elsewhere in their draft report when they accused Hindus and Hinduism of appropriating their sacred works and claimed that these texts do not mention the word “Hindu.” (see Figure 3). This is a dishonest argument because the word ‘caste’ too does not appear in Hindu texts and originated with the Portuguese, yet, the same professors pushed for its inclusion in a narrative about the ancient world.
It is possible for Bharatvarshis (and anyone who was born there but may have since migrated) to practice any religion but at heart, they are a Sanatani (a follower of the Sanatana Dharma). Technically there never was a religion called Hinduism because it is all Sanatana Dharma. The term Hindoo (Hindu) was a tool used by the British to keep Bharat divided.
Figure 3. A hostile accusation that Hinduism appropriated works such as the Vedas and that the words Hindu or Hinduism are not mentioned.
The draft report also does not hide their motives to attack Hinduism and conflates it with politics in a note which is part of the draft report and says:
“I wonder if it can be suggested that the period 300-1200 in South Asia can be framed as that of religious evolution and mixture all around in which Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam play significant parts at various points in time based on geographical region and the political situation within India. That would disassociate Islam from being political regime first and religion later, and, inversely, highlight the historicity and political contexts of the Hindu-Buddhism developments as well. We are not clear whether this can or cannot be accomplished in the context of the existing narrative.”
One of CAPEEM’s filings with the court points out the hostile nature of the writers of the report and claims that Tom Adams of the Department of Education would advance his anti-Hindu views. According to CAPEEM:
“Adams knew the professors he selected would advance his anti-Hindu views. An excerpt from Visweswaran’s book, the SAFG member with whom Adams spoke, makes the bigoted and bizarre assertion that “violence has been Hinduism’s principal mechanism of control. That is why many of the Hindu Gods were weapon-wielders in distinct contrast to the Gods of all other religions.”
The correct way to describe those who live in the Bharata Varsha (an area that comprises modern-day India (Bharat), Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Bangladesh, and Myanmar) is that they are the followers of Sanatana Dharma (The Eternal Order, The Eternal Dharma). One of the definitions of Dharma is Dharayati Iti Dharma (धारयति इति धर्मा) i. e. one that flows. One can thus say that these people are also followers of the Eternal Flow.
Opposition to Sanatana Dharma
Sanatana Dharma is an Open Architecture, one that allows all to co-exist. The founding principle is Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava (All dharmas are treated with the same respect). Bhakti Yoga in Sanatana Dharma provides for the worship of a Personal God (i. e. Jesus, Allah). It is possible for Bharatvarshis (and anyone who was born there but may have since migrated) to practice any religion but at heart, they are a Sanatani (a follower of the Sanatana Dharma). Technically there never was a religion called Hinduism because it is all Sanatana Dharma. The term Hindoo (Hindu) was a tool used by the British to keep Bharat divided. California Board of Education had a golden opportunity to set the record straight. They missed it and instead aligned themselves with professors hostile to Sanatana Dharma.
During their previous lawsuit between 2006 and 2009, CAPEEM uncovered another email exposing the hostility of Jonathan Kenoyer in which he wrote, “If you know of any scholars in the Bay area who might attend the meeting to counter their demands for including “Sanatana Dharma” etc in the texts it would be an additional impact to reinforce any letters that are being sent.” That lawsuit had also uncovered the coordination of the anti-Hindu professors with churches one of which worked with the now disgraced Congressman and evangelical Christian activist Trent Franks, and offered its services “in DC” to the professors. Regardless of the outcome of this lawsuit, it is a tribute to the courage of CAPEEM that they have taken on the might of the academia and powerful politicians and exposed their connections and shenanigans.
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