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California Leaders Suggest Changes in Textbooks Over Portrayal of Hindus

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California-based Hindu Education Foundation suggested corrections to proposed school textbooks after Indian Americans raised issues over alleged negative portrayal of Hinduism and India.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — California-based Hindu Education Foundation suggested corrections to proposed school textbooks after Indian Americans raised issues over alleged negative portrayal of Hinduism and India.

According to the organization, the Indian American community has been “battling to remove several inaccuracies and myths about Hinduism from textbooks.”

The California Department of Education has made several updates to the framework based on input by scholars, students and the community members, mentioning Hindu concepts like Yoga and Dharma, Sages Vyasa and Valmiki and Indian achievements in science and technology.

After the Hindu American, LGBT and African-American communities raised concerns about the “biased and inequitable portrayal” of their communities in textbooks at a public hearing held by the California Department of Education’s Instructional Quality Commission, the department voted to reject content from two publishers.

“While the disparaging images were rejected and a few positive changes were made, many of the textbook narratives still contain extensive inaccuracies and stereotypes,” Shantharam Nekkar of the Hindu American Foundation said. He says that several items that are mandated in the California History-Social Science textbook framework (state guidelines) for India and Hinduism are “being ignored by some publishers.”

Parents, students and community leaders joined in week-long protests across California, demanding accurate and equitable representation for India and Hinduism in textbooks. A petition signed by over 8,000 people demanding the withdrawal of biased and inaccurate content was also submitted to the department.

“Some improvements have been made, but significant additional changes are required to present India and Hinduism in an accurate and equitable manner,” said Krishna Maheshwari of Hindupedia.

The IQC will send its recommendations to the State Board of Education for its approval in November. The textbooks recommended by the board are expected to be adopted by school districts in 2018.

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US sends aid, and bans travel from India

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US ends aid, bans travel from India | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — The Covid-19 crisis continues to spiral out of control in India. And now the U.S. is instituting a travel ban.  It goes into effect on May 4 but won’t apply to U.S. citizens or permanent residents and their spouses. Meanwhile foreign aid is flowing into India from places like Israel, America, and Germany.

Sikh’s in Indianapolis held a memorial service to remember the victims of the Fed Ex facility shooting last month. Four of the people who died were from the Sikh community.  Police have not identified a motive for the shooting, yet. It’s unclear if the shooter, a former employee at the facility, was targeting Sikhs. There are a high number of Sikhs, immigrants and refugees who work in the facility.

And mega stars from the Indian diaspora raised more than 3 million dollars for Covid-19 relief in India.  Jay Shetty, Lilly Singh, Deepak Chopra, and Jay Sean. The virtual event was called help India Breathe and aired on Diya TV. The funds are going to three major areas of relief on the ground including food, direct cash transfers to families, and makeshift hospitals.

You can watch the fundraiser and still continue to donate:

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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American Coronavirus aid arrives in India

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American Covid-19 aid arrives in India | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — American aid is finally starting to arrive in Covid-19 battered India as vaccination sites run out of shots and thousands of people gasp for air. A U.S. military transport plane delivered more than 400 oxygen cylinders, nearly one million rapid coronavirus test kits, and other supplies. The country has been reporting an average of more than 350,000 new cases of Covid infections every day for the past week.

After seven hours of public comment and testimony from hundreds of people on whether caste should be added to the county’s non-discrimination policy, the Santa Clara Human Rights Commission deferred their vote pending futher testimony and likely another public hearing. Equality Labs and the Hindu American Foundation each made presentations for and against this potential new category at the hearing, that was broadcast exclusively on Diya TV.
Watch the full event here:

Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made history during President Joe Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress just by taking their seats — marking the first time two women would be sitting behind the President.  Biden’s Indian American chief speech writer Vinay Reddy wrote the president’s address, adding to the historic evening.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Death toll rises as Covid supplies head to India

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Death toll rises as Covid supplies head to India | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — No end in sight to India’s deepening Covid-19 crisis as the number of new virus cases in the country shatter records. India added nearly 400 thousand new cases on Thursday, breaking the record set a day earlier, boosting the country’s death toll to more than 200 thousand. US officials have urged Americans to leave the country because of the deteriorating conditions.

Several members of the Dalit community and their supporters are addressing the Santa Clara Human Rights Commission to discuss their experiences with caste discrimination. They want the commission to recommend that the Board of Supervisors make caste a legally protected category against discrimination like race, age, gender and sexual orientation. Equality Labs is pushing this agenda but critics say it is anti-Indian and anti-Hindu.

And the Senate overwhelmingly passed an Asian Hate crimes bill and created a new position at the Justice Department to fast track reviews of potential Covid-19 related hate crimes. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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