Sikhs from California came to attend the Public Hearing of the State Board of Education (SBE) in the California Department of Education (CDE) building in Sacramento on March 8, 2007.


Dr. Hosley, President and G.M. of PBS/KVIE Sacramento Ch. 6 produced an outstanding 3-minute DVD "Meet the Sikhs", some time back.  It can be downloaded from http://www.kvie.org/education/outreachservices/default.htm or go to
www.kvie.org and search for Meet the Sikhs & follow instructions. Will need to download QuickTime program.
His new PBS documentary, “Sikhs in America ” airs Wednesday, January 30, 7:00pm – 7:30pm on KVIE Public Television’s channel 6 and KVIE DT 6.1 services. It will repeat on Sunday Feb  3  at 6 P.M.
 
 
 
His 3rd Classroom DVD to be released shortly may be previewed at
http://www.mediafactory.tv/wp-content/onlinevideo/sikhs/SikhClass.mov  Will need QuickTime program and takes 10-15 minutes to download.
 
We will honor Dr Hosley at West Sacramento Gurdwara on Sunday, Feb.3. at 11:30.  I hope you attend the function.
Sincerely,
Onkar S. Bindra
 
A copy of the flier KVIE sent out for its preview is given below. Hope you go to the preview.
 
KVIE Public Television invites you to a special preview screening of
 
Sikhs in America
 

Monday, January 28, 2008

5:30 p.m. – Reception | 6:00 p.m. – Screening
Few programs offer the unique story of Sikhs in America. The Sikh community is an important part of northern California's cultural tapestry, yet the Sikh religion and cultural traditions are not widely understood. This documentary captures Sikh social and family life, spiritual life, and economic and work

 

 
 
 





Written by World Sikh News Bureau   
Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Image
THE CONTROVERSIAL IMAGE: Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion. Miniature portrait on ivory. Lahore, late 19th CE.
SACRAMENTO: The force of conviction and a campaign run in a sober and intelligent way has finally borne fruit. Guru Nanak Dev's misleading, indefensible image in the seventh grade school text books in California will appear no more.

"The image itself was offensive to the Sikh community," Thomas Adams, director of the Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division of the State Education Department, was quoted by the New York Times. "And it wasn't defensible on the issue of accuracy, because it is from a later period" than the one in which Guru Nanak lived.

The WSN, in its February 28 edition, had raised the issue prominently with a lead article on the op-ed page by Onkar S. Bindra wherein he had focussed on the picture on Page 95 of "An Age of Voyages: 1350-1600," the book used since last fall. Guru Nanak in this image was shown with a trimmed beard holding a few beads and wearing a crown. Sikhs complained about the image, saying the portrait makes Nanak look like a Muslim chieftain. The picture, which hangs in a museum in London, was originally painted in the 19th century, after Muslims ruled India.

Guru Nanak and a crown? The image of Sikhism's founder is anathema to everything they believe about the Guru. After months of lobbying by Sikhs, the California Board of Education voted unanimously on Thursday asking publisher Oxford University Press to remove the portrait from future printings, and to provide a sticker with another image or text to place over the portrait in existing copies.

Image
Onkar Singh Bindra
Onkar S Bindra, who sits on the board of the gurdwara in West Sacramento, had an argument devastating in its simplicity: "It says he's the founder of the Sikh religion. The founder of the Sikh religion should look like a Sikh." Bindra, a Sacramento Sikh, has spent his retirement educating the public about his religion. He had also objected to the alternative image offered by the publishers which was from an 18th century painting that showed the Guru wearing a red hat and trim beard. That image made their founder look like a Hindu. The red mark on his forehead and the janeyu (sacred Hindu thread) are both strong symbols from Hinduism. Casper Grathwohl, publisher of Oxford University Press, refused to print the Sikh style image and insisted that the older images are more accurate.

Sikhs number about 24 million, comprise one of the world's youngest religions, and nearly 500,000 of them are in the United States. More than a lakh live in California and it was here that they pushed to have the picture removed from the text. The efforts began immediately when the book first arrived in schools at the start of the academic year.

Twenty-one Sikhs had come from San Jose in the South to Placerville in the North, representing congregations of Gurdwaras in El Sobrante, Fremont, Sacramento and San Jose in Northern California to attend the Public Hearing of the State Board of Education (SBE) in the California Department of Education (CDE) building in Sacramento on March 8.

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Guru Nanak and Mardana with King Shivanabh, after 1500. Baba Nanak (Guru Nanak) sits in the centre, holding prayer beads. His companion Mardana holds a mandolin. King Shivanabh kneels with hands together in a gesture of devotion, his attendant standing behind him with a
fly-whisk.
"I provided relevant material to the SBE members on March 7. These included   copies of letters of Dr Narinder Singh Kapany, Noel Q. King, Professor Emeritus (U.C. Santa Cruz) and the SGPC, written by them to CDE/SBE officers," Bindra told the WSN.

The development was just another example of a textbook change prompted by concerns about giving offense to any racial, ethnic or religious groups.

During his public comment, Bindra circulated to SBE Members two presentation portfolios, one depicting how Sikh Calendars, five Punjabi weeklies and one Hindi weekly circulated in California use only Sikh style pictures of Guru Nanak. The other showed pictures of Guru Nanak in ten books on World Religions, written by non-Sikhs and published in USA or UK and one authored by non-Sikhs and published in India, all with only Sikh style pictures.

Publisher’s claim that the present picture was selected as being the oldest one available is not tenable, because Art Books have much older images. However, those too do not depict Guru Nanak as a Sikh. Just because it is old, does not mean it is right. Gurtej Singh Cheema, M.D., circulated to the Board Members, six large transparencies of old murals in the old and historic Baba Atal Rai Gurdwara in the Golden Temple Complex, Amritsar, Punjab. Apparently, these murals are older than the offensive picture chosen by OUP. Besides, these are in the Sikh style. The painting which the SGPC recommended to the CDE/SBE bears strong resemblance with Guru Nanak in these old murals, especially regarding turban and unshorn facial hair.

Gurprit S, Hansra, an engineer, high-lighted the fact that Sikhs have suffered disproportionately high percentage of hate crimes because of their mistaken identity. Dr JP Singh, an earthquake engineer & President of the El Sobrante Gurdwara, also stressed the same problem, and said, “A Sikh style picture of Guru Nanak will help correct the erroneous perception.” Further, he recommended that the SBE should include the USDOJ poster, Common Sikh American Head Coverings, in the social sciences educational materials.


Col. Paramjit Singh Gahra, a lawyer, said, “I had an occasion to see a monument dedicated to Nanak Lama in Sikkim, India.”  Although such statues in Tibet, Sikkim and Arunachal are perhaps older than all the Hindu style and Mughal style paintings of Guru Nanak, yet all non-Sikhs (Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists) in South Asia use his Sikh style pictures, in recognition of his being the Founder of the Sikh faith. 

Image
The image Sikhs would like in the California Textbooks. Painting by Sobha Singh

Surjit Singh Dhillon, Development Director of Sikh Temple Sacramento, Darshan Singh Mundy, Vice-President Sikh Temple Sacramento, Ram Singh, an engineer, and now Chief of Fremont Gurdwara, Jitender Singh Hundal, a Computer Engineer, Nirmal Singh Cheema, an engineer and now Director of the Seniors’ Club of Fremont Gurdwara, Judge Mewa Singh of Elk Grove, Balbir Singh Dhillon, Vice-President of San Jose Gurdwara, Mrs Sarabjit Kaur Cheema, an engineer and Vice-President of Fremont Gurdwara, Mrs. Amarjeet Kaur, a high school teacher, Gurcharan Singh Mann, Jatinder Pal Singh, a businessman, all supported the deletion of the wrong image.

The way Guru Nanak's image was depicted could have confused students about the appearance of the Sikhs or Sikhs with other ethnic groups. After 9/11, many Sikhs were assaulted and some non-Sikh students treated them with suspicion thinking they were Muslims or had some link with Osama bin Laden.

Curtis Washington, an African American teacher became  very emotional. Choking back his tears, he supported the Sikhs saying, "I can attest to the pain of what a bad picture in a history book can do to a child." Yvonne Chan, a Board Member  praised the performance of the Sikhs and sympathised with them.

"Sikhs have no plan to rewrite history. They wanted only to correct a mistake in the textbook. They are happy with the outcome and are expecting early implementation of the decision," Bindra said.

Onkar S. Bindra, Ph.D.(U.C. Berkeley)
Trustee, Sikh Temple Sacramento,
 Member The Renaissance Society, Sac State;
Retired Professor of Entomology & Project Manager of FAO(UNO)
Tel. (916) 858-2650

HISTORIC PORTRAITS OF SIKH GURUS PDF Print E-mail
Written by Onkar S. Bindra   
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The oldest pictures of Guru Nanak were painted by Alam Chand, a bricklayer of Kapurthala, around 1733 CE, i.e. about 200 years after Guru Nanak’s life-time (1469-1539). The painter visualized Guru Nanak as a Hindu and painted him as such. Please see Guru Nanak Dev University’s publication B-40 Janamsakhi Paintings (ISBN 81-7770-011-1) which has 57 plates. Plate 27 in Susan Stronge’s The Arts of the Sikh Kingdoms, 1999 (ISBN 08348-0471-9) is from the said Janamsakhi. Stronge’s book contains two other Hindu style images of Guru Nanak, besides Mughal style images of Guru Nanak (of c 1770-1830), Guru Har Rai (of 1815) and Guru Gobind Singh (of 1850-60).

The question arises, how about Sikh style portraits of the Sikh Gurus? Perhaps the first Sikh style depictions of Guru Nanak appeared in frescoes on walls of historic religious buildings. These include Gurdwara Baba Atal Rai in the Golden Temple Complex in Amritsar. First three floors of this Gurdwara were completed by 1784. The ground floor has frescoes showing Guru Nanak with uncut grey beard and a turban. 

Sobha Singh painted Guru Nanak in a meditation pose (Naam Khumari Nanaka Charhi rahey din raat) in 1937.  Later he painted him in other poses, like “The harbinger of monotheism” and the “Blessing pose”. In 1968, the SGPC commissioned him to paint a picture for Guru Nanak’s 500th Birth Anniversary celebrations.  The SGPC distributed its 100,000 copies in 1969. Since then, several other painters have produced Sikh style paintings of Guru Nanak, the Founder of the Sikh religion.

The belief that the Sikh Gurus did not permit artists to paint their portraits, and that authentic contemporary portraits of Sikh Gurus do not exist, appears to be baseless in view of the following based on a report of Singh (1):

1. Mohan Singh, a  noted art scholar, found an historic reference in “Gurbilas Patshahi 6” to a painting of Guru Hargobind (6th Guru) on horse back, to be in the possession of descendants of Bidhi Chand at Sur Singh village in Amritsar.

2. Mohan Singh saw a painting of Guru Har Rai (7th Guru) in the collection of Sodhi’s of Kartarpur. The painting shows a beautifully-carved ivory stick with a knob at its top, which is now in the possession of a Brahman family residing in Thakurdwara street in Amritsar.

3 Singh (1) quotes Mohan Singh, “There is a contemporary painting of Guru Gobind Singh (10th Guru) at Harmandar Sahib, Patna”, in which he is adorned with pearl necklaces, armlets and a bejeweled ‘aigrette’ on his turban.

4. Further,  Khalsa (2) states that historic publications  Mahima Parkash and Gur Partap Surya and famous scholar Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha and modern writers (Harbans Singh , IAS and Kalraj Singh) tell the story of a portrait of Guru Tegh Bahadur (9th Guru) painted during his  visit to Bengal. The Guru is reported to have given the final strokes of the paint brush to help the painter complete it. The painting is reported to be in the Victoria Memorial Museum, Calcutta.

5. Art historian Mohan Singh said, “No visual account of the paintings, nor any literary evidence has come to light as far as the first five Sikh gurus are concerned”, (Singh, 1). However, recently, Khalsa (2) has reported that Guru Nanak permitted the Caliph of Baghdad to commission his portrait, as per Tawarikh guru Khalsa. He adds that a European reported seeing this portrait in the Baghdad museum in 1797. He later published it in his book,” Oriental Collection.” There are claims about the existence of photographs of this painting in Punjab and California.

6. Further, I learn that descendents of the founder of village Bhai Roopa, District Bathinda have historical artifacts of the Guru period, including a photo of Guru Nanak’s contemporary painting made during his stay in Baghdad, Iraq (Personal communication, Gurprit S. Hansra, April 5, 2007).

Conclusion. The portraits referred to above, if authentic, are valuable pieces of Punjabi and Sikh heritage and need to be properly conserved. The Punjab government and SGPC should consider prompt action to authenticate the reports and to save the items or their photos in the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh and later place them on the internet for the information of the Sikh Diasporas.

References.

1. Singh. Jangveer. “Mohan Singh discovers paintings of Sikh gurus”, Tribune News Service, Patiala, January 11, 2004.

 2. Khalsa, Balbir Singh “Is it appropriate to hang pictures of Gurus?” Amritsar Times Punjabi Weekly, 28 March – April 3, 2007, page 32. In Punjabi.

 

 


Imaging The Guru – A Textbook Case      
Editor’s Comment: The question has been asked, ‘What did Guru Nanak look like?’ The author, who put up a spirited campaign to get removed an objectionable depiction of Sikhism’s founder from US school textbooks, now makes out a case for more sensitized use of the Guru’s image. In this piece he deduces: ‘Let us hope…that future printings of the book shall contain a suitable picture representing the Sikhs’.( Editor of World Sikh News)
  
Written by O.S. Bindra 
Published in World Sikh News of May -2, 2007 under Special Reports
 

Sikh friends have been asking me, “Why did the publisher choose a late19th century image with a crown, and make Guru Nanak look like a Muslim chieftain? What made the publisher so sure that the late 19th century image is more accurate than all other commonly used pictures of Nanak?” Many say, “This image belongs to a museum, not to a school textbook, because it is historically incorrect.” Others say, “No historian has recorded that Guru Nanak ever wore a crown.”

Indeed, this is perhaps the first time for this piece of museum art  to get into a book, and that too a school textbook. It misinforms the non-Sikhs and would confuse and offend the Sikh students. Accordingly, it is good that California’s State Board of Education (SBE) decided against continued use of  this image in the current and future prints of the book. A picture is equal to thousand words. It is, hence, very desirable to have a replacement picture. That is why the publisher had the image. So the question has been asked, “What did Guru Nanak look like?”

Bhai Gurdas is helpful in this connection. He was born in 1557,  within 20 years of Guru Nanak’s passing away in 1539. Guru Arjan  employed him as a scribe and he has been called the “Key to Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Holy Book. He wrote 39 Vars (Poems).  In  Var I, he wrote:”Baba Nanak then proceeded to Kartarpur and put aside all the garments of renunciation. He clad himself in ordinary clothes, ascended the gaddi (throne) and thus preached dharma  to his people.”   Based on this, many writers have concluded that at the end of his travels, during the last 18 years of his life, Guru Nanak adopted the ordinary dress of a "householder," and dressed indistinguishably from the people around him. {C.f.“The Sikhs” by Cole and Sambhi, 1978 and “The Book of Nanak”  by Sarna}.       .

Commenting on an article entitled, “What did Guru Nanak look like?” by Amardeep Singh, a Professor of Lehigh University, Ms. Ruchira Paul of Houston, TX, stated, “Absent any historical "proof", the most popular becomes the most "accurate”. Images of gods and godly men are not about historical accuracy but have more to do with the comfort level of the adherents of a faith.” She added, “When a historical figure is elevated to the stature of a spiritual figure in the minds of followers, it matters little what he or she "really" looked like in life. The pictorial depictions of holy men and women assume an allegorical value which has not much to do with historical accuracy. The same goes with religious relics. Whether a footprint belonged to Ram, the hair is from Prophet Mohammed’s beard or the Shroud of Turin indeed covered Jesus' dead body is not of essence. That millions believe they did, is what matters.”  Referring to the image published in the newspapers recently, she concluded, “Guru Nanak's picture with the simple turban and tunic is the most widely recognizable image to millions of Sikhs and non-Sikhs. If it is good enough for the devotees, it should be good enough for the publisher."

 Sobha Singh first painted Guru Nanak’s imaginary portrait in 1937. He painted the blessing pose for the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Amritsar in 1969 for the quincentenary birthday celebrations of Guru Nanak. The SGPC distributed 100,000 copies of this painting and now similar paintings decorate most Sikh homes.

Although painted  about 430 years after Guru Nanak’s life-time, it is the most popular
image of Guru Nanak, accepted worldwide by Sikhs and non-Sikhs. Accordingly, the SGPC recommended it to California’s Department of Education (CDE) and State Board of Education  (SBE), and the Sikhs  have been requesting that it be used to replace the current Muslim style image at the next printing.

Guru Nanak (1469 to 1539) founded the Sikh religion during the period covered by the book under question (An Age of Voyages:1350-1600). According to March 8, 2007  decision of California’s State Board of Education, the future printings of the book will have no picture relating to the Sikh religion. However, the book will continue to have pictures of  leaders of Confucism and Jainism, even though they belong to ancient period and not to the medieval period covered by the book.

It may be pointed out that in North America, the population of Sikhs (583,000) far exceeds that of Confucists (0) and Jains (7,500).   Worldwide also the Sikhs (24,989,000) far outnumber the Confucists (6,447,000) and Jains (4,519,000 {Figures are from The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2006}. In view of these figures, the recommendation of the CDE to eliminate Guru Nanak’s image (instead of its replacement with one acceptable to the Sikhs) and its approval by the SBE constitute actions contrary to the spirit and requirements of the  Education Code 60044(a) and (b): “Portrayal of contemporary U.S. society should reflect its religious diversity,” and “legal compliance of proportion of portrayal”.

Let us  hope that the  authorities consider the situation right away and decide that future printings of the book shall contain a suitable picture representing the Sikhs  and that it will be selected in consultation with a representative of the Sikh community.

(The writer is a retired Professor).

 
 


State Board of Ed declines to act on Sikh complaints.

Date: 07/13/2007

News Source: http://www.mercurynews.com

07/12/2007 - SACRAMENTO—The state Board of Education declined to act Thursday on new complaints from the Sikh community about a seventh-grade textbook the Sikhs say is offensive.

The board voted in March to ask a textbook publisher to remove a picture of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, that many followers said was offensive and inaccurate.

The controversial image in "An Age of Voyages: 1350-1600" shows Guru Nanak wearing a crown and with a closely cropped beard. The depiction runs contrary to Sikh faith, which requires observant men to wear a turban and not to shave their facial hair.

Many of the same people who argued at the March meeting were back before the board Thursday, unsatisfied with publisher Oxford University Press' plan to reprint the textbooks and replace the approximately 520 copies that have been distributed so far to 16 California school districts.

The Sikhs argued that the inaccurate picture should have been replaced with a more accurate one, not removed entirely. The revised textbook will have no picture at all accompanying its description of the Sikh faith, further worsening the problem Sikhs said they face when people confuse them with members of other religions, such as Islam.

The book is "wonderfully, lavishly illustrated," so the absence of an accurate picture of Guru Nanak is even more glaring, said Jeff Brodd, a religious studies professor at Sacramento State University who testified at Thursday's hearing.

Those who spoke at the meeting also objected to the title accompanying Guru Nanak's name in several places in the book, in which the word 'devi' is used. Devi is a feminine title, not for men, they said.

"It's like calling a king a queen, a Mr. a Mrs.," said speaker Prubhjot Parhar.

The board didn't take a vote on the Sikhs' request, but Tom Adams, director of curriculum for the state Department of Education, said he would contact the publisher immediately and try to have the title corrected if the new texts have not yet been printed.

Oxford plans to distribute the new books to the school districts this summer, he said.

In other action, the board voted to oppose AB1177, a bill by Assemblyman Jose Solorio, D-Santa Ana, that would set up a three-year pilot project to create alternative instructional materials for about 25,000 English learners.

Board members were concerned the program would undermine their authority to approve all instructional materials used in California classrooms.

By JULIET WILLIAMS Associated Press Writer

 


 

Sikhs object further to image of guru

Schoolbook publisher won't use the picture the religion prefers.

By Laurel Rosenhall - Bee Staff Writer

Published 12:00 am PDT Friday, July 13, 2007
Story appeared in MAIN NEWS section, Page A3. Sacramento Bee.


 


 


 
 
California school books won't have any image of Guru Nanak now, Sikhs want one PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harjot Singh   
Friday, July 13, 2007

ImageSACRAMENTO: Months after the California Sikhs had successfully got the State Board of Education to get removed from a Grade VII book an objectionable picture of Sikhism's founder Guru Nanak, which virtually showed him as a Muslim and was grossly offensive to all Sikhs, the publishers have now got printed new books omitting the picture altogether instead of replacing it with acceptable image of the Guru.

After the Sikhs tried to take the matter back to the Board, the latter has declined to act, thus leaving the students to miss the picture of Guru Nanak in "An Age of Voyages: 1350-1600", a book which is otherwise lavishly illustrated.

The publisher Oxford University Press had earlier offered to replace the Islamic style picture of Guru Nanak with a Hindu style image, an offer which was spurned by the Sikhs.

"(They had offered) to replace it with an image which portrayed Guru Nanak as a Hindu (with cap, tikka -vertical mark on the forehead, Janeyu - Hindu sacred thread and Dhoti –Hindu clothing). Naturally, I did not approve of the same. A letter signed by large numbers of Sikhs was sent to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and CDE for banning the book and replacement of offensive picture. Finally, the SBE scheduled a consideration of the matter at its meeting of March 7-8. I provided relevant material to the SBE members on March 7. These included   copies of letters of Dr Narinder Singh Kapany, Noel Q. King, Professor Emeritus ( U.C. Santa Cruz) and the SGPC, written by them to CDE/SBE officers," Onkar S Bindra had explained.

It is not clear on what grounds a reputed publisher is digging in by refusing to publish an acceptable image which most Sikhs identify with.
.
Bindra had made a presentation, showing pictures of Guru Nanak in ten books on World Religions, written by non-Sikhs and published in USA or UK and one authored by non-Sikhs and published in India. All these had only Sikh style pictures of Guru Nanak. The board had finally voted in March ordering removal of the objectionable image of Guru Nanak which showed Guru Nanak wearing a crown and with a closely cropped beard on page 95.

Sikhism requires observant devouts not to shave their facial hair or any hair.

So far, some 520 copies have been distributed to 16 California school districts but are without any picture of the Guru. Sikh activists wanted that the offensive picture should have been replaced with a more accurate one, not removed entirely.

A media report quoted Jeff Brodd, a religious studies professor at Sacramento State University, as testifying at Thursday's hearing before the Board by saying that the book is "wonderfully, lavishly illustrated," so the absence of an accurate picture of Guru Nanak is even more glaring.

Sikhs have also reported the problem with the titling of the Guru's name as the book uses the term "devi", clearly a feminine form of address not used for men. The mistake somehow also points to rather shoddy handling of the affair by the publishers.

Surely, the Sikhs think, it wasn't difficult for scholars at the Oxford to realise that the prophet, a simple man who preached to the poor and certainly, couldnot worn a crown. The Oxford claimed they used the ealiest possible picture available, but the Sikhs proved even that fact to be inaccurate. Thomas Adams, director of the Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division of the State Education Department, was quoted on this score in the media as saying that "it wasn't defensible on the issue of accuracy, because it is from a later period" than the one in which Guru Nanak lived.

Now efforts are on to correct the title. The publisher is likely to make available the new books to the school districts this summer.

California's school board has a public — and often lengthy — process of reviewing textbooks before they are made available for purchase by individual school districts. But it seems with the rise in cultural sensitivity, the cost and time consumed in making schoolbooks have also increased.

Publishers do usually make changes, though it is only because of California's size and buying power. The schoolbook market in the United States is roughly $4.2 billion and California schools are the nation's top purchaser. The state government allocated $403 million for schoolbooks in 2006, and that excludes federal money or lottery revenue.

Last time the row hit media headlines, the Sikhs had even presented six large transparencies of old murals in the old and historic Baba Atal Rai Gurdwara in the Golden Temple Complex, Amritsar, Punjab. Apparently, these murals are older than the offensive picture chosen by OUP. Besides, these are in the Sikh style. The painting which the SGPC recommended to the CDE/SBE bears strong resemblance with Guru Nanak in these old murals, especially regarding turban and unshorn facial hair.  

A Sikh style picture of Guru Nanak would have most certainly helped correct the erroneous perception about Sikhs being Arabs, prevalent among large sections in the US.

 
   
     
--
curriculum PDF Print E-mail
 
Written by Onkar S Bindra   
Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Image

 

 

CALIFORNIA: A well known Sikh intellectual activist has argued for inclusion of Sikhism in a book (History-Social Science Framework) for California schools  which does include other major religions. He has also pleaded with fellow Sikhs and community organizations to plead with the local schools in Sikh-population rich areas to include the study of Sikhism in school curriculum. 
 
 

 

Dr. Onkar S Bindra's exertions are in view of the fact that the History-Social Science (HSS) Framework for California's Public Schools published in 2001 by the California Department of Education (CDE), is to be updated by the year 2010.The revised document will contain the course descriptions and content standards that provide guidance to teachers on what to cover in each Grade Level (K-12) and provide guidelines to  publishers on what to include in the textbooks that they will submit in 2010-11, to the State Board of Education (SBE) for adoption for California's public schools for the following six years.. 

 

"Most books adopted in California are adopted in many other States. Thus, the Framework is an extremely important document. It is, therefore, essential to be vigilant and guard community and public interest during its updating process," Dr Bindra said in a statement.

 

The HSS Subject Matter Committee of the Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission held its first meeting at Sacramento on September 27, to plan for the updating of the Framework. Dr. Onkar S. Bindra spoke during the Public Comments session. He requested for inclusion of Sikhism in the course description of the elective, Survey of World Religions, on page 121 of the current Framework. Presently, it includes Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. A couple of School Districts have decided to teach Sikhism in this course. School District with dense Sikh population may agree to do the same, should the Sikh community plead for the same.

Further, Dr Bindra requested inclusion of India in the 7th grade - history of medieval and early modern period. He added that if this was not possible, Growth of Islam in India, already a part of the course description and content standards should cover the following: founding of Sikh religion by Guru Nanak (1469-1539), imprisonment of Guru Nanak by Babar and of the 6th Guru by Aurangzeb, Guru Arjan's torture to death in keeping with Jehangir's desire and beheading of the 9th Guru under Aurangzeb's orders, institution of the Khalsa and of the Guru Granth Sahib as the eternal "Guru by" the 10th Guru, rise of the Sikh power under Maharaja Ranjit Singh and decline of the Mughal Empire.

(Readers desirous of contacting Dr Onkar S Bindra may reach him at osbindra@yahoo.com This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it )

 





www.advancedcentrepunjabi.org/intro1.asp              It will run better if you download and install Fonts first according to Dr. Amrik Singh suggestions. Dr. Amrik Singh teaches punjabi at Sacramento State university and City College at sacramento.


 

 

 University of Califonia Professors contribute to Debate on Califonia textbook, page 3+

Online Punjabi Learning program/a>