Harvard Hosts Panel on Textbook Controversy

February 10, 2006

Source: Lokvani


On February 10, 2006 Lokvani reported, "On Friday, Feb. 3rd, the Dharma Club, Harvard's Hindu students' organization, held a public forum to discuss the controversy over recent attempts to correct the presentation of Hinduism in textbooks in California. The forum featured presentations by two speakers. The first was Prof. Michael Witzel, Wales Professor of Sanskrit at Harvard, who opposes many of the corrections of the contents on Ancient India proposed for the CA textbooks. The other speaker was Krishna Maheshwari, a student at the Harvard Business School and co-founder of the Cornell chapter of Hindu Students Council (HSC). While Mr. Maheshwari is not a member of either the Vedic Foundation (VF) or the Hindu Education Foundation (HEF), he agrees with the bulk of the proposed changes and volunteered to speak in favor of the corrections at this forum... Prof. Witzel [expressed that] he and his supporters felt that many of the proposed corrections were historically inaccurate and thus should not be accepted by the California Department of Education... He alleged that [the VF and HEF] have links to groups having Hindu fundamentalist leanings in India... Mr. Maheshwari responded to Prof. Witzel's call for historical accuracy by pointing out that the positions adopted by the VF and HEF are supported by archaeological and genetic evidence and pointed to arguments presented by some of Prof. Witzel's colleagues at Harvard... There is still considerable debate within the Harvard community about how the issue should be addressed."