FREMONT — A California Superior Court judge has denied a motion by the Hindu American Foundation that would have prevented printing sixth-grade history textbooks because of their portrayal of Hinduism and ancient India.

The court's decision paves the way for publishers to implement final edits and corrections to the textbooks, which are expected to be resubmitted to the state by June 28, before they are released to school districts for consideration, according to state officials.

Fremont physician Mihir Meghani, who also is founder and president of the Hindu American Foundation, said he was disappointed by the court's Friday decision.

But he insisted the court ruling was not based on the merits of the case and that the foundation's lawsuit still could be successful in preventing publication of the textbooks. The court has yet to select a date for further hearings on the lawsuit.

"The standard for an (immediate) injunction is actually higher than it would be at a trial," Meghani said. "The judge felt the books could still be changed (after the lawsuit goes to trial). ... We were also happy that the judge said he was troubled by procedural problems."

Those opposing the Hindu American Foundation's lawsuit, however, had a different interpretation of the court's decision.

Anu Mandavalli, a spokeswoman for the Friends of South Asia, an advocacy group that filed a legal opinion opposing the injunction, said she was pleased that the courts twice refused to freeze publication of thetextbooks, as well as denied a request by the Hindu American Foundation to sit in at the meetings between publishers and state education officials to review final corrections to the books.

"This (decision) means the state Board of Education can go ahead and the textbooks can be made available to the public," Mandavalli said. "The court has, through three different decisions, said this lawsuit does not have merit."

The Hindu American Foundation is one of two groups that filed lawsuits against the state regarding the history of ancient India.

Todd Smith, an attorney for the state Board of Education who argued the case, did not return a request for comment Tuesday.

In the lawsuit, the Hindu American Foundation contended that the state violated California's open-meeting law. The organization also argued that several textbooks misrepresent the roots of Hinduism, the status of women and the caste system in ancient India.

But in its brief, the Friends of South Asia, along with six other advocacy groups, argued that the proposed revisions by the Hindu groups — the Hindu American Foundation, the Vedic Foundation and the Hindu Education Foundation — were attempts to sanitize India's past and put a "Hindu" spin on South Asian history.

In March, a group known as California Parents for the Equalization of Education Materials filed a lawsuit in federal court contending the state violated the civil rights of Hindus by "advancing an inaccurate and derogatory picture of Hinduism in the textbooks."

Attorneys for the state Board of Education are expected to file a response to the federal lawsuit by June 5.

Meanwhile, both Hindu groups are racing to solicit funds from the Indo-American community for protracted legal battles.

The Hindu American Foundation is trying to raise

$200,000 for its legal defense fund. So far, according to the organization's Web site, it has raised $37,000.

Jonathan Jones covers ethnic, religious and cultural issues. He can be reached at (510) 353-7005 or

jjones@angnewspapers.com.