Debate erupts in California over curriculum on India’s history


LOS ANGELES: Victors are said to write history. But in California, history is being written by a committee that is at the center of a raging debate over how to tell the story of South Asia as it tries to update textbooks and revise curricula for grades six and seven.

The dispute centers on whether the region that includes modern-day India, Pakistan and Nepal should be referred to as India or as South Asia, to represent the plurality of cultures there — particularly because India was not a nation-state until 1947. It also touches on how the culture of the region is portrayed, including women’s role in society and the vestiges of the caste system.

It might seem somewhat arcane. But it has prompted petition drives, a #DontEraseIndia social media campaign and a battle of opinion pieces.

When the committee met earlier this spring, dozens of students turned out at the state Capitol, some in tears, earnestly telling the educators that anything other than India would amount to erasing their heritage.

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