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Right-wingers raise question on History Textbooks

After the whole episode of Hindutva organisations and BJP protesting against the Karnataka government’s decision to celebrate the birth anniversary of 18th century ruler Tipu Sultan, now, the right-wingers have pointed out the flaws in the Indian History school textbooks that according to them consciously play down the Indian subcontinent emperors and glorify the dynasty and the emperors of invader forces like Mughals who later conquered the land. While a large part of the right-wingers have slammed the post-independence Indian government and the Marxist historians for masterminding politically correct history textbooks to appease the Muslim community and protect their sentiments, the other part pointed out the lack of scripted history as the reason.

The over-glorification of the foreign invaders in the History school textbooks is an old debate topic. However, the issue took a fresh upswing with the Karnataka government celebrating the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan, a ruler in the 18th century, Mysore whose name is remembered as the “Tiger of Mysore” in Karnataka formal education. Tipu Sultan is celebrated as a hero in Kannada poems or school celebrations. His fight against the British, his sacrifices, and politics are supremely highlighted while historians see him as a controversial figure of communal politics.

BJP spokesperson Avdhut Wagh asserted, “The ancient history of India revolves around Ramayana and Mahabharata. How can we forget great leaders like Morya, Samrat Ashok, the king Bharat on whose name our country is named! Besides that, we cannot neglect the history of the Mughal era but Indian history is far beyond that.”

He went on saying, “While writing the history, the other side of the Mughals should be taken into consideration stating how they destroyed the Indian culture and how cruel they were! History textbooks have details of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in just a few lines while Mughal emperors are described in various chapters. Moreover, any particular leader’s contribution should not be restricted to a state and it should be included in the textbooks nationwide.”

Before the Mughal invasion of 1526, the north of the subcontinent was divided into several independent Hindu and Muslim kingdoms. There are many historians who too agreed that regional emperors of India have very less emphasis on their empire and biography in Indian textbooks.

Keeping the tone similar, the BJP and the right-wingers have called attention to how anti-heroes are given more prominence than the heroes of the land. They further regretted how even the history of the Queen of Jhansi Lakshmibai, who was associated with early resistance against the British rule in India and played an important role during the Indian Rebellion of 1857, has got the minimum of presence in other Indian state school books and a bit more than that it the Uttar Pradesh textbooks. The dissenters also showed concern that there is hardly a few around us who have information regarding the forefathers’ of the Hindu rulers while they are well-versed with the same of the Muslim invader rulers. The name of Bappa Rawal too found its place. Rawal was one of the most powerful and famous rulers of the Mewar Dynasty. In the 8th century, Arab Muslims started attacking India within a few decades of the birth of Islam, which was basically an extension of invasion of Persia. Rawal played an important role in the Battle of Rajasthan, a series of wars fought in the 8th century AD between the regional rulers of North-Western India and the Arabs of Sindh, in which the regional Indian rulers inflicted a resounding defeat on the invading Arabs.

Justice (retired) B.G. Kolse-Patil said, “I want to ask the BJP leaders to name the Hindu leaders who had worked for the peace and betterment of humanity. Hindu leaders like Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka have a particular area dedicated to the history. If the Mughals are called invaders, then there must be a check in the past that who had earlier invited them to restrict the Hindu culture. They have only allowed the Mughals to rule us for years. I don’t think that portraying Hindu leaders in our textbooks is not given a prominence. Moreover, Aurangzeb has written much about the great ruling era of Shivaji Maharaj which even no other Hindu leader has spoken about. The true history has been fabricated; hence, people are not aware of the actual Indian history here.”

A large part of India was ruled by the Mughals who produced remarkable rulers and left behind great architectural structures as well a significant amount of literature to ensure their imprint on the Indian subcontinent. At the same time, there were equally great Hindu, Sikh rulers in the Indian subcontinent, who gave Mughals a tough time. However, their history is still unknown to the common public of India and somewhere now, people have woken up to make changes and adhere to the History of the Hindu leaders.

BJP spokesperson Shivray Kulkarni explained, “Apart from the Mughals, there are several leaders and fighters who have contributed for the welfare of the nation; why their names are not mentioned prominently in the Indian history textbooks for the students to learn? Our country has a history of great battles which should be given proper emphasis in the textbooks.”

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