Every child in Maharashtra is aware about Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi, queen of the princely state of Jhansi in North India. But if you ask them about Tarabai, they are clueless because we have failed to introduce them the stories of such great Maratha warriors,” said Sambhaji Raje who is the direct 13th heir of the royal family of Shivaji. He also stated, “We are teaching children about great Raigad fort, but do we have anything to show them how it looks? Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj built Raigad fort and made it his capital in 1674 when he was crowned as the King. How many of us know this was the first capital of Maharashtra? We need to emphasise on our own history of the state, which is a must. Else these historic events will have no relevance with future generation.”
In the recent past, Maharashtra education board has reduced the Mughal emperor’s reign to just three lines. The board has revised history textbooks for classes VII and IX, removing almost all traces of the rule of the Mughals and the monuments they built, instead of focusing on the Maratha Empire founded by Shivaji. Shivaji who was in the earlier textbook referred to as ‘people’s king,’ will now be mentioned as ‘an ideal ruler.’ Shivaji’s role in medieval history, and that of his family and the Maratha generals, have been expanded upon.
The new edition for class VII history book has also seen the elimination of Muslim rulers in the country before the Mughal period, including Razia Sultana and Muhammad bin Tughlaq. There is also no trace of the rupaya – first introduced as currency by the Afghan invaders. The revised textbook for class IX, on the other hand, includes the Bofors scam and the Emergency of 1975-1977.
Sandhesh Wagh, Professor of Mumbai University said, “The information about kings belonging to Bahujan Samaj has been concealed. Writers have distorted facts while writing history. Jhalkaribai had fought the battle on behalf of Rani Lakshmibai. However, since she was Bahujan her part was omitted from history. Historians have written about Peshwas directly after the life Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and have excluded the history that happened in the interim. Even Tarabai’s life was not mentioned. They have only highlighted history of kings belonging to upper castes.”
Professor Kishor Gaikwad said, “A research about Tarabai must be done thoroughly by historians as her chapter has been excluded from history. Rani Tarabai has been known as an able administrator and used to look after the kingdom very well. Historians have only presented history in a one sided manner. History has been written keeping in mind north India. Therefore people are unaware about Tarabai’s history and her work. Tarabai had taken over the reins of the kingdom during troubled times. The old history of India was written on the basis of Arya samaj and later on during the Mughal empire. Therefore it is necessary to rightly portray Tarabai’s history.”
Bapusaheb Shinde, a member of the history subject committees for old and revised textbooks, claimed that the need to revise the syllabus was felt in order to update history with modern events. Modern history needs to be incorporated.”
The revision of the syllabus was discussed at a meeting held by the Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, a think-tank promoted by the RSS with Maharashtra education minister Vinod Tawde last year.