Another Crushing Defeat of Hindutva forces in California Court
witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Fri Sep 1 17:59:52 EDT 2006
HINDUTVA GROUPS DEFEATED IN CALIFORNIA COURT
IN THEIR ATTEMPT TO SAFFRONIZE TEXTBOOKS
Sacramento, California, Sept. 1, 2006, 2:40 p.m. PST
As we have been predicting for long, the California court has ruled
*against* the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and *for* the State
Board of Education (SBE) and the California Department of Education
(CDE) in all matters of the content of the current (2006) textbooks.
The judge sums up, in Legalese: ‘.. the Court has not found that the
content of the textbooks challenged in this action violates applicable
legal standards, the writ shall not include any provision requiring
respondent [SBE/CDE] to rescind its approval of those textbooks or
otherwise take steps to remove them from use.’
This denial of the HAF petition concerns all points regarding the caste
system, position of women, description of Hindu gods/goddesses, and the
so-called ‘Aryan invasion’ or Aryan immigration. (See HIGHLIGHTS
Thus, the court has upheld the current version of the textbooks,
already printed and in the school districts.
In addition, the court has ordered the State Board of
Education/Department of Education to come up, during a suitable period
of time, with more detailed rules for ALL future adoptions of
textbooks. This does not affect the current textbooks (now in use for
the next 6 years).
This order will be very beneficial for future cases, as SBE/CDE are
not required to accept any proposed edits, never have so in the past,
and in fact have made a mistake bending over backwards for such groups.
That for sure *will not* happen again.
In sum: HAF, VF, and HEF have lost on all counts as far as the
textbooks are concerned. Their current printed version will stand.
Those who have fought this Hindutva onslaught since last November, even
in the face of numerous smear campaigns, are totally vindicated. As
major smear campaigner Rajaram un-prophetically wished recently: Let
the courts decide!
The court decision also does not bode well for future Hindutva
initiatives in other states.
My congratulations and warm thanks to all involved.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE COURT DECISION of 9/1/2006
Quoted verbatim (except for my headings and a few [comments] ):
Court finds that the challenged texts comply with the applicable legal
Petitioners [HAF] claim that there are a number of significant
inaccuracies .. The Court finds that petitioners have not demonstrated
that respondent's [SBE/CDE] approval of the challenged texts should be
invalidated on this basis .. the inaccuracies have been corrected in
the final versions of the texts
The caste system is a historical reality, and indisputably was a
significant feature of ancient Indian society.
.. it appears to the Court that to omit treatment of the caste system
from the teaching of ancient Indian history would itself be grossly
Just as the regulation does not require textbooks to ignore unpleasant
historical realities, it does not require them to present such
realities in an unnaturally positive light. Moreover, nothing in the
challenged texts uses the discussion of the caste system as a take-off
point for comparing Hinduism unfavorably with other religions, or for
advocating other religions over Hinduism. In this respect, the texts
therefore have satisfied the requirement of neutrality.
WOMEN AND DEITIES
... status of women in ancient Indian society, and their description
of Hindu religious belief in numerous deities as multiple aspects of
the absolute divinity.
These discussions appear on their face to be neutral, objective,
dispassionate, factually accurate, not derogatory or accusatory in
their tone, and not such as would instill prejudice against the Hindu
religion or believers. Such passages are descriptive and do not
advocate certain religions over others.
.. The law does not insure against negative reactions or prejudices,
it merely requires that the textbooks not instill them. The challenged
books meet that requirement
[Petitioners, HAF] have not demonstrated that the textbooks'
description of Hindu theology are grossly inaccurate.
In the Court's view, the books broadly and accurately describe the
outlines of Hindu religious belief, which is all the law requires.
.. the Court finds that the manner in which the books treat the Hindu
religion does not violate this standard.
.. the Court finds nothing in the way of derogatory language or
examples from sacred texts or other religious literature that could be
classified as derogatory, accusatory or that would instill prejudice
against the Hindu religion or its faithful
.. Nothing in this discussion appears to the Court to violate the
applicable standard. .. Similarly, petitioners have not persuaded the
Court that the textbooks tend to favor religions such as Christianity
or Judaism over Hinduism
.. so-called "Aryan invasion" or "Aryan migration" theories ..
.. First, it appears from the evidence submitted by respondent
[SBE/CDE] that the publishers of the challenged textbooks have in fact
been directed to recognize the ultimate uncertainty of these theories,
at least in general terms.
More fundamentally, even if such direction had not been given, the
texts would not be invalid for that reason. While some scholars may
question the Aryan invasion or migration theories, there is no showing
that such theories are not widely or even generally accepted at this
point, such that presenting them without significant qualification
would be grossly inaccurate.
Moreover .. the History-Social Science Content Standards for
California Public Schools specifically require sixth-grade students to
study and recognize the significance of the Aryan invasions of India.
The Court therefore does not find that the references to Aryan
invasions or migrations make the textbooks grossly inaccurate or
otherwise in violation of law.
.. the essential inquiry is whether the texts appear to be neutral.
In this case, the Court finds that they are, and thus do not violate
the applicable standards.
Based on the foregoing, the Court finds that petitioners have not
demonstrated that the challenged textbooks violate applicable legal
.. the Court has not found that the content of the textbooks
challenged in this action violates applicable legal standards, the writ
shall not include any provision requiring respondent to rescind its
approval of those textbooks or otherwise take steps to remove them from
LEGALESE PROCEDURAL part: [requirement to prepare more detailed
regulations for *future* textbook adoptions]
The Court grants the petition for writ of mandate based upon its
finding that respondent has not complied with a specific statutory
mandate that it enact regulations governing its textbook approval
process as formal regulations pursuant to the Administrative Procedures
Act. A writ of mandate shall issue to require respondent to comply
with that statutory mandate within a time certain, such time to be
established by the Court, along with any other terms required to
preserve the status quo in the interim.
Since the ruling on the APA [Administrative Procedures Act] issue
addresses the validity of the entire existing textbook adoption
process, the Court declines to address the violations of the Open
Meeting Act that petitioners allege took place during that process.
Finally, because the Court has not found that the content of the
textbooks challenged in this action violates applicable legal
standards, the writ shall not include any provision requiring
respondent to rescind its approval of those textbooks or otherwise take
steps to remove them from use.
PS. The CAPEEM case.
There remains another case, precariously suspended like Trita in the
well. It is based on some very general items (the 14th and 1st
constitutional amendments: equal protection and free speech/free
It was brought by a new, so-called parent group (CAPEEM) that was
founded only after the decision of the State Board of Education on
March 8. The case had first been registered at the Federal Court in
Seattle on March 14, but had to be re-registered in California as the
group itself did not even legally exist when their lawyer brought the
case to court.
The lawsuit is now in animate suspension in the Eastern District
Court of California. On August 11, the judge did *not allow* the case
to go forward against the State Board and the Dept. of Education.
Instead, gave CAPEEM 20 days time to reformulate their complaint
against *individual* members of the Board and Department, that is,
Specialists think that this case is even weaker than the HAF one, and
quite amateurish at that (as above history clearly indicates).
Amusingly, some Hindutvavadins since January, have touted this then
already prepared lawsuit as ‘professionally planned.’
We await the eventual decision of the court in all serenity.
--------------- ity alam Hindutvadroghena!----------
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