Hindu American Foundation looks to re-write California's textbooks

Wow, the change from Dalip Singh Saund’s “Sikh” identity to Indian is really petty. I wonder how this jibes with how many today attack Western Sikhs that do not identify as Indian as “Khalistani,” “radicalized,” “in an identity crisis,” etc, when here the logic used is that Saund referred to himself as an Indian in one of his writings.

Also, this is a horrible idea. I control-f’d the Hindu American Foundation founded via Murali Balaji & Suhag Shukla and what they had to say about Sikhs, and a lot of it is their own opinion to de-signify Sikh history. Some examples-

"Conversion slowed in India with the emergence of Sikhism in 1469.” Comment: Not sure how conversion slowed with the emergence of Sikhism. Forcible conversions and the jizya were still common in the Mughal era.

My comment: Well, it’s well known that in Punjab, Sikhism did play a role in halting conversions [to Islam]. A Punjabi Muslim himself, Bulleh Shah, is famous for stating so.

“Religious enthusiasm and challenge to orthodoxy in the early modern period was not unique to Europe. In South Asia, the Bhakti movement within Hinduism, which placed emphasis on a personal expression of devotion to God, grew more popular, thanks to the saints such as Meera Bai (devotee of Krishna) and Ramananda (devotee of Ram). Sikhism arose as a new religion based on the teachings of Guru Nanak, a social reformer founded by Guru Nanak, a social reformer (crossed out)who challenged the authority of the Brahmin and the power of the Mughal empire.”

"Comment: Greater context about the time period and rise in popularity of "Bhakti" (medieval movement within Hinduism that placed emphasis on a personal expression of devotion to God) saints across India, many of whom were considered contemporaries of Guru Nanak, would be helpful for students to understand here. This sentence is framed that Sikhism grew out of opposition to Hinduism and Islam”

My comment: It is here that I am convinced there is some blatant agenda here. First off, if we’re talking about intellectual inspirations for Sikhism, the contemporary Bhakti movement absolutely was one. But if we look at Punjab, the origins of the Bhakti movement were already seeded in the [Islamic] Sufi movement. Entirely disingenuous of them to leave that out if they want to be inclusive.

Secondly, Nanak was not just an extension of the Bhakti movement. The reason there’s a separate religion in name of him today is because he had radical ideas; including opposing Brahmins and Mughal Emperors. There are a lot of shabads where he calls Brahmins/Qazis the bloodsuckers of the people, or something to that extent. That was one of his core ideologies; it’s fucking pathetic to leave it out in order to give the Hindu Bhakti movement more credit than Nanak himself.

"p.276, lines 324-326. Current text reads: “Sikhism – Articles of faith, wearing of the turban, Guru Nanak Dev, strict monotheism, brotherhood and equality of humanity, rejection of idol worship and the caste system, the Sri Guru Granth, and the Dasam Granth"

Comment: This is factually incorrect, and not only a veiled attack on Hinduism which is caricatured as a religion of idol worship and caste system, but also insulting to Sikhism since it is now reduced to a social reform system from an uplifting spiritual system. Starting with their external appearance instead of their beliefs is also insulting to Sikhs. The reference to so-called “idol worship” needs to be deleted. Hindus worship idols as much as Christians worship the cross. Caste is a social structure which exists among Hindus as well as Sikhs and was not a religious idea and hence needs to be deleted from any discussion of religion.

My comments: Oh please. Whether Hindus today believe in caste/idols or do not, the Sikh Gurus specifically critiqued religious casteism (varna) and idol worship as Hindus practiced them at the time. This is ridiculous.

Honestly, the whole premise of this is ridiculous. Although I personal agree with some of the Sikhs who suggested changes regarding Sikhi, they have no actual historical claims and are just inserting their personal opinion. Textbook by mob is a horrible idea; let scholars work with textbooks and public education. And in some cases, you have to balance a historical truth with how a community views things; many Sikhs are always upset that textbooks refer to Indira Gandhi’s shooting by her guards as an “assassination,” implying malice, when for Sikhs it was a rightful action to prevent her doings in Punjab. Hell, I consider those guys heroes too, but I’m not going to campaign to change the textbook for it; they were still assassins.

By the way, if this is the kind of stuff Sikh Coalition is spending their time on advocating, I’m sorely disappointed.

/r/ABCDesis Thread