Bowing to Sikh Request, California Wants Textbook Change

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The picture on Page 95 of “An Age of Voyages: 1350-1600,” a seventh-grade history book used in California schools since last fall, had been unremarkable to state education officials: a stiff 19th-century portrait of a man with a trimmed beard holding a few beads and wearing a crown.

But for Sikhs, that image of Guru Nanak (1469-1538), their religion’s founder, is anathema to everything they believe about the prophet, a simple man who preached to the poor and certainly, they say, never wore a crown.

So, after months of lobbying by Sikhs, the California Board of Education voted unanimously on Thursday to ask the book’s publisher 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.

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