Mughals out, Marathas in; Maharashtra re-writes history textbooks to remove ‘Muslim rulers’

August 8, 2017, 9:32 am
Mughals out, Marathas in; Maharashtra re-writes history textbooks to remove ‘Muslim rulers’
EDUCATION
EDUCATION
Mughals out, Marathas in; Maharashtra re-writes history textbooks to remove ‘Muslim rulers’

Mughals out, Marathas in; Maharashtra re-writes history textbooks to remove ‘Muslim rulers’

The Maharashtra education board has revised history textbooks, removing portions on the Mughal emperor and giving importance to the Maratha Empire founded by warrior king Shivaji. The move has been criticised from many corners with people saying that it is the latest in the systemic attempt by to Sangh Parivar to manipulate the history.

According to a Mumbai Mirror, the board has revised the textbooks for classes VII and IX, removing almost all traces of the rule of the Mughals and the monuments they built. The Std VII textbook has expunged chapters from the previous edition on the Mughals, and the Muslim rulers in India before the Mughals such as Razia Sultana and Muhammad bin Tuqhlaq.

Till last year, the students were taught that Akbar was a “liberal and tolerant administrator,” but now the Mughal emperor is someone who “tried to bring India under a central authority” and faced opposition from the likes of Pratap.

The new textbooks have no mention of the monuments built by these rulers, such as the Taj Mahal, the Qutub Minaar, and the Red Fort. The revised history textbook for Std IX mentions the Bofors scam and the Emergency of 1975-1977.

According to reports, before deciding to rewrite the textbooks, State Education Minister Vinod Tawde held a meeting at Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, a think-tank promoted by the RSS. A member of the history subject committees for both old and revised textbooks, Bapusaheb Shinde, said the revision of the syllabus was discussed in the meeting.

The textbooks now refer Shivaji, as ‘an ideal ruler.’ Earlier textbook referred him as ‘people’s king.’ Shivaji’s role in medieval history, and that of his family and the Maratha generals, have also been expanded upon.

There is also no trace of the rupaya – first introduced as currency by the Afghan invaders.

The other notable omissions from the previous textbook editions are paragraphs on Razia Sultana, the first woman to rule Delhi, Muhammad bin Tughluq’s decision to shift his capital city from Delhi to Daulatabad in present-day Marathwada and his demonetisation move (he had overnight replaced gold and silver coins with copper and brass ones), and the remarkable reign of Sher Shah Suri who forced Humayun to flee from India, reports say.

Meanwhile, Shinde claimed that the need to revise the syllabus was felt in order to update history with modern events. “The space given to Mughal history has been reduced. Modern history needs to be incorporated,” he said.

Cover of a history text book
Cover of a history text book

However, several people, including teachers and researchers have come out against the move.

“In the previous version, the first chapter titled `India and the World' described the feudal order in Europe, the role of the Arabs in the spice trade between Europe and South East Asia, the Islamic world's contribution to arts, science, and literature, and the rise of Islam. It offered a background to the first Arab invasion into the Indian sub-continent in the 8th Century AD. All of that has been removed,” Neeta Vaz from St. Anne's School in Malad, who has been teaching history for the last 24 years, told the Mumbai Mirror.

Cover of the textbook also raises concerns as it “displays saffron flags all over the map of the country,” hence creating an image that the “Hindu samrajya existed in India during that period,” a Pune-based independent researcher in curriculum and textbooks, Kishore Darak, said.

“This is factually incorrect and reeks of a political agenda,” he added.