“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”- Martin Luther King, Jr
These words of Dr. King are immortal, but it seems BJP MLA Surendra Singh has a different view regarding history.
According to him Mughal and British- era history are just a reminder of India’s slavery and hence shouldn’t be taught in schools.
To me, this seems like an attempt at manipulating and distorting history by leaving out a major portion of it.
The similarity With the Theme Of 1984
George Orwell’s depiction of a dystopian society has many similarities to the present-day conditions of the world. In his book 1984, he writes-
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street-building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped.”
The picture he painted about Oceania is what I believe is being attempted by some of our politicians. This tampering allows Bharat to remain ‘Sone Ki Chidia’ that was never captured by foreigners.
Also, the modern history of India has several mentions of Congress which is unacceptable by the BJP Netas, so they would like to press delete on centuries of history to solve the problem. If they could have their way we would have chapters about the greatness of Godse instead of Gandhi.
Is The History Curriculum Flawed?
A lot of people believe that our history books are filled with Mughal rulers and British Raj but the Rajputs and the Marathas are only briefly covered. Mr. Singh believes that the history textbooks should be filled by the glorious deeds of Shivaji, Rana Pratap, etc.
However, I find this a little absurd. How are the teachers supposed to teach about these warriors without mentioning the people they had conflicts with i.e. Aurangzeb, Akbar.
The only benefit I see in this is that students won’t have to cram hundreds of names. They could just write in exam papers – “the valor of Shivaji made the Deccan campaign of the Evil Bad Man unsuccessful.”
I looked at my school textbooks to determine whether the curriculum is indeed biased towards some people, and found that this was not true. The introductory paragraph about Aurangzeb mentions his bigotry and cruelty. The NCERT books dedicate a chapter each to the Rajput rulers, Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire.
However, a lot of monuments were constructed, and towns were founded by Mughals which is mentioned in separate chapters so some people perceive it as bias. The mention of the Taj Mahal and Victoria Memorial requires referencing Shah Jahan and British respectively.
The Mughals and the British ruled India for centuries and had bigger territories, hence more pages detail their reign. A lot of chapters are about the social changes, trade, economics, culture and lifestyle of those times which were determined by the policies of the Mughal and afterward the British government.
Learning About Lord Rama And Krishna
According to Mr. Surendra learning about mythological figures such as Lord Rama and Krishna is more important than studying actual people. When I read this I wondered that without mentioning Babur, how would the BJP then explain the case of Ram-Mandir- “He who must not be named destroyed the temple”, this makes no sense.
If learning about deities is so important then introduce another subject- Religious studies. Although, this would also entail studying of Quran and Bible to understand religions better, which wouldn’t sit well with the religious zealots at all.
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their understanding of their history”
Denialism constructs a new and better truth, one that goes well with our existing beliefs and prejudices.
We wish to conceal things we don’t like. So, by eliminating the Mughal and British history they eradicate the fact that Hindus ever lost. This is a wrong approach towards history.
For a better attitude towards history take the example of Germany, a country that’s responsible for some of the darkest times of the world’s history, but the people there accept this fact and have learned to live with it. History negationism is banned there.
To grasp the gravitas of the hard-earned freedom we enjoy, one must be aware of the struggles and the dire conditions of the oppressed people from the past.
However, statements such as made by Mr. Surendra points towards the present government’s wish to just glorify Hindus and erase all traces of other cultures. And as Orwell said-
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past”, they might just succeed in this endeavor by altering history.”
What do you think about his remarks? Should changes be made in the History curriculum?
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