21,000 petitions gathered to urge California not to remove word ‘India’ for ‘South Asia’

Why not any other country, asks petition.

AB Wire

Courtesy of Change.org
Courtesy of Change.org

More than 21,000 petitions have been notched up on change.org to urge the California Board of Education to not change the syllabus for the state’s school students which seeks to eradicate the name of ‘India’ in text books and replace it with ‘South Asia’. The petition is trying to garner a total of 25,000 signatories to its effort before it pressurizes the state board to not discriminate against India.

Spearheaded by Vamsee Juluri, a professor of Media Studies at the University of San Francisco, the petition urges the word ‘India’ not be removed from California History Social Science Frameworks syllabus.

Under the umbrella of ‘Scholars for People’ the petition challenges why only India is being targeted and not other countries. For example China is not going to be called ‘West-East Asia’.

The petition says that the move came about after a small group of South Asia studies faculty recently asked the California Board of Education to make the change.

“They believe that India did not exist before 1947 and want a stereotypical and concocted generalization like “South Asia” to be used for almost all discussions of Indian history before 1947,” says the petition.

The petition warns that if people don’t protest against the petition, there won’t be any change for 10 years once the new syllabus is approved.

“You cannot seriously expect California’s educational system to be respected anywhere in the world if you go ahead with your recent decision to delete all references to “India” in middle school history lessons and replace this word with the geo-politically motivated  Cold War era relic of a phrase “South Asia.” Would you presume to deny the reality of India’s existence and history, and its deep significance to Indian American students in California, simply because a few misinformed professors of “South Asia Studies” wrote you a letter recommending you re-educate California’s children in this bizarre manner?” asks the petition of the California Board of Education.

We have examined the “South Asia studies” professors’ claim. They want the History-Social Science Frameworks that determine what children are taught in California for the next ten years to remove most references to “India” before 1947 because, they believe, India gained independence from Britain only in 1947, and there was no India before 1947! That, at least, is the conceit of their claim.”

It adds: “If this is indeed correct that “India” is not an accurate term for “India” before 1947, how is it possible that the word “India” has been in usage in some form or another from the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans? Did Columbus go searching for “South Asia”? Are the islands of the Caribbean Sea called the “West South Asian-es” instead of the “West Indies”? Were the indigenous peoples of the continents that came to be called the Americas misnamed as “American South Asians”? Was it the British East “South Asia” Company that led colonial trade and exploitation? Was it the “South Asian Ocean” which constituted the center of the world’s largest trade network before the rise of modern Europe? Do you write, perhaps, with “South Asian” ink? When you have to choose between Chinese, Japanese, Mexican and Indian food do you tell your family and friends, let’s have “East Asian,” “East-East-Asian,” “Middle North American,” and … “South Asian”?”

Read the full petition here: https://www.change.org/p/academia-don-t-replace-india-with-south-asia-in-california-history-textbooks

2 Comments

  1. Is this a right-wing Indian blog? Always very one sided and doesn’t explain the reasons for the opposing stance.

  2. Bangalorean

    Americans (USAians) confused the world by naming themselves Americans, even thought they are not alone in American continents.. they confused calling natives Indians, thought they are not Indians.. Now they want to remove world Indian by referring India as South Asia in the History all over.. Next in line will be renaming the Indian Ocean I guess..

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