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Teaching Hinduism in American schools

Discussion in 'Hinduism DIR' started by Vinayaka, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Our faith is often severely distorted in the curriculum. This is mostly because the expert consultants have been western scholars that hold an anti-Hindu bias. Because of the work of HAF and others, this has been slowly changing. Here's a recent article ... Finding a New Way to Teach About Hinduism in America's Schools | Murali Balaji

    It's sad than any child of any faith would have to hear about stuff that isn't at all true about his religion, let alone downright negativity. It's a crime towards children.
     
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  2. StarryNightshade

    StarryNightshade Folk Catholic
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    It reminds me of the first time I ever heard about Hinduism. I was in the 7th grade and my history class had a week long curriculum where we went over the major world faiths. Up until that point, all I ever knew about was Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Buddhism, Hinduism, and Zoroastrianism were completely new concepts.

    Of course, what I learned about Hinduism was pretty much identical to how the article's author described it (AIT, Caste being central to the faith, etc.), but it was still the seed that planted my eventual spiritual journey.
     
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  3. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I think it's far less embarrassing to non-Hindus. I recall having to teach a unit on Brazil from a very outdated textbook. Thank goodness for the internet. If there would have been a Brazilian immigrant in the class, the textbook would have been appalling to him/her, other than the first part on history. As a retired teacher, I just think accurate information is so important. I can't imagine what kinds of hatred, and 'we're better' attitudes come out of private religious schools. When the public schools have it hard when there is at least some motivation to be accurate, the private ones, less that same motivation, probably do a lot of harm to interfaith harmony.
     
  4. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Think of the long-term effect of such actions when a person comes to know that he had been taught falsely in the school.
     
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  5. Amrut

    Amrut Aum - Advaita

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    Namaste,

    This is a goods news that things are changing. Yes. It may take some time, but surely those who like to think and explore with open mind, sooner or later, will surely find faults in biased interpretations.

    Efforts of HAF must be applauded

    Hari OM
     
  6. Don Penguinoini

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    The spread, influence and power of the Hindu community in the USA should hopefully put an end to nonsense like this within time.

    The HAF should issue copies of the Chanakya Neeti to its members.

    EDIT: Silly me, I meant the Arthshastra.
     
  7. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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  8. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    I cant speak for america , I can only report what is happening here ,
    in many inner city schools temples are asked to send representatives into the schools to give talks and answer questions .

    yes I am sure that some textbook learning goes on but it is then handed over to the children to ask questions .

    I was recently asked to go to speak with an early teens RE class in a local school , here in the country there are allmost no ethnic minorities so I had to speak to an entirely white class , their questions were very refreshing and showed very little indoctrinated beleif , the childrens questions on the whole wre realy mostly centered around what makes us culturaly different , why do we beleive in arranged marraiges ?..do we eat meat ?....basicaly they just want to know if we are like them , ...and if not , .. why ?

    of course you allways get the bright spark that comes up with do you pray to gods with lots of arms ? ...and why is your god Blue ?....actualy these are great questions you can allways have some fun with these questions bounce them back and get them to explore the nature of God and tell them yes we ask questions too it is not just a case of blind beleif ,
    in this school some of the questions were about the Mahabarata and the Ramayana so they had obviously been introduced to the great epics

    but the last thing that is ever on their minds is History or asian invasion theories ...honestly they couldnt care less about any theories they just want to know what goes on in another persons life , ....

    they had also covered the walls of the class with pictures from every faith around the world , .. fortunatly No I didnot see any bias , except that of acceptance, ... and world peace .
     
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  9. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Nice to know, Ratiben.
     
  10. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    May be? There are always differing views. I think some days we are our own worst enemies. Instead of compromising to have a united front on these things, the varying views argue about what should be done, and then absolutely NOTHING gets done. (Reminds me of the days on a temple board.) It takes mature souls to cut back on the ego, and allow others to tackle the issues without hindrance that is relatively minor. I would support HAF wholeheartedly, even if I disagreed somewhat. We all have to look at the bigger picture.

    @ratikala ... I think the guest speaker is a far better approach than a textbook. Good for the British schools.
     
  11. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    I did not say that we should not support HAF, I said keep a watch, because something I have read indicates that they have a revisionist, 'wiser-than-thou' streak.
     
  12. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    In terms of comparing things like the curricula to western written versions, there is little wonder HAF has a 'wiser-than' sense. It's because Hindus know more about Hinduism than non-Hindus.

    HAF, by the way, does not represent one sampradaya. It's members come from all sects, many schools, and they all work together for a common goal.

    But you go ahead, Aup. Keep a watch. Then when you see something you disagree with, write them a letter. I'm sure it will be given it's due consideration.

    Here's the website. Hindu American Foundation (HAF)

    from that website.. "The Hindu American Foundation is not affiliated with any religious or political organizations or entities. HAF seeks to serve Hindu Americans across all sampradayas (Hindu religious traditions) regardless of race, color, national origin, citizenship, caste, gender, sexual orientation, age and/or disability."
     
  13. Asha

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    Serious question [email protected] Aupmanyav May I ask what did you mean by Andhabhakti?
    We have the Hindu Council of GB here, it can be very general at times or dominated by one veiw at another. Some temples have a lot to do with it and others have none.

    I am not sure what work the Hindu council do in schools, it probably depends on the area and if there is a temple comunity nearby, in which case the school will call the temple. We are often called in to schools to give talks and to some cultural events to sing bhajans, and we host school parties at the temple so that they can come and visit in their class time as a part of their curriculum. It is interesting to see but it is not just the children that learn, the teachers can learn too :) sometimes some realy good and sincere questions come from the adults.

    The children are great they just love Rama Lila, everyone loves Hanuman:)

    Bhakta Hanuman Ki Jai
     
  14. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Suppose if one day a Hindu Association says that idol worship is wrong, but most Hindus believe in that. And it goes hyper over that, starts deriding Hindus who engage in idol worship. Then one may like to differ from such a view. Or insists that polytheism is wrong, but most Hindus believe in that. If it keeps its views to itself, then, it might still be tolerable.So, what I am saying is that I would not support such an organization. These are just examples, but I hope you get my meaning..
     
  15. Poeticus

    Poeticus | abhyAvartin |

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    And I understand your concerns, but please keep in mind that HAF, for example, is not against idol-worship or polytheism. Furthermore, HAF is not theology-centric. Instead, the group is often socio-political in nature: helping to spread awareness of Hindus in the West and the concerns many Hindu-Americans have socially, economically, and politically; and assisting in correcting misinterpretations of Hindu-related beliefs, events and occurrences. The organization is not monolithic in its outlook, and many of its members hold views often drastically different from one another, in terms of theology and such. They strongly support plurality of thought.
     
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  16. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Poeticus, a quick look at the UK Hindu council HinduCouncilUK Official Website leads me to believe the same about them. The notion of taking a particular theological stance is pretty out there. Generally, people who are adamant that their way is the only way don't bother to join these kinds of wonderful umbrella groups. Either that or they get turfed for causing hassle after hassle. Even here in our city we have an umbrella group, not for Hindus, but for Indians, called the Council of Indian Societies, of which 17 or so ethnocentric or linguistic groups send a representative.

    edited .. I noticed over 400 affiliate groups .. pretty impressive!
     
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  17. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    I have nothing against HAF till a problem arises, but I would watch (of course, not being in US, it does not affect me directly). But I am generally wary of revisionists, people like Ram Mohan Roy, Keshub Chandra Sen, Ramakrishna saying that all religions are the same, then Bengalis electing first the Congress, then the Communists, and finally Mamta Bhannerjee. That has never helped Hinduism. They seem to be coming in line now. There is a likelihood that Saurav Ganguly will join BJP. (For Vinayaka: Saurav Ganguly is the former captain of Indian Cricket team and very popular in Bengal).
     
  18. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    And just what would you do, Aup, if a problem did arise? You actually think they don't already get a myriad of opinions from the members in America, who BTW understand America? I suppose you could write them a letter. That would be about it. I fail to see how one nternet poster from Delhi would have any impact at all. Now ... a bonafide religious leader might ... like one of the Shankatracharyas ... but even then, it's doubtful.

    I think you're vastly overestimating your influence here, to the extent it's practically laughable.
     
  19. Don Penguinoini

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    Ganguly joining the BJP would sink Mamata and her goons. Still, I hold my breath about Ganguly foraying into politics.
     
  20. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    I said that I do not have any influence on HAF or American/Canadian Hindus, and they do not have any influence on me. We will go according to our own ways. Only that I would not appreciate any revisionist attempt by them if they try it. I have no illusion of my grandeur either in India or in America.
    It seems more or less settled. It is only a question of time. Many Trinamool members have already joined BJP.
    Dada vs Didi in Bengal? Sourav Ganguly in Talks with BJP
    Sourav to join BJP? "Work in progress", say party sources | Business Standard News
     
    #20 Aupmanyav, Jan 27, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
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