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Maharashtra Board drops Mughal, Western history from syllabi, claims it’s ‘irrelevant’

The revised textbook has Shivaji as the focal point of medieval Indian history. His role, and those of his family and the Maratha generals have been expanded.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Updated: August 8, 2017 11:35 am
maharashtra boad, mughals, shivaji An artwork depicting Mughal Court and Shivaji’s statue

History of Mughals and Western countries is irrelevant for Class VII and IX students of schools under the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary & Higher Secondary Education, claims the state education department and members of the History Subject Committee. The revised textbooks for these classes revolve around the Maratha empire and warrior king Shivaji, besides Indian politics post 1960. Members of the committee say the changes are not a “political decision” but an elaborate process involving subject experts and teachers. “The point of reference for Class VII is the Maratha empire, Maharashtra and India before and after Chhatrapati Shivaji. In Class IX, the point of reference is events impacting Indian political scenario,” said Sadanand More, head of the committee.

Earlier, the history textbooks comprised chapters on Mughal emperors and their contribution besides detailed history of events that impacted Western countries, such as the French Revolution, Greek philosophy, American War of Independence etc. All of this have now either been discarded or reduced to a few lines.

More added, “The idea was to revise the syllabus to make it more Maharashtra-centric, to make it more relevant for students of the state board. We are from Maharashtra, we need to learn more about the history of this region. I don’t think there is anything wrong in that. Why is nobody pointing out the fact the Central board schools and those following ICSE curriculum have hardly a page on our state and just a few paragraphs on Shivaji. Students interested in opting for higher studies can learn about those topics later. It is not relevant right now.”

The revised textbook has Shivaji as the focal point of medieval Indian history. His role, and those of his family and the Maratha generals have been expanded. The revised textbook has elaborated chapters on the 27-year-old struggle of the Marathas against Aurangzeb. While the old textbook titled the chapter on Shivaji as ‘People’s King’, the revised textbook has renamed it ‘An Ideal Ruler’. While the old textbook had just a mention of the Sant movement and the Warkaris, an elaborate sub-topic on the same has been added to the revised textbook.

The Class IX textbook now has events impacting Indian politics from 1960s and 2000. “They have made it more contemporary. It’s more to do with the Indian political scenario. Internal challenges, economical situations, women empowerment in India post-1960s have been mentioned omitting events that impacted the West. It is relevant for students of Class IX. However, I would want to see what changes they make to the Class X textbooks,” said Raju Lagate, a history teacher from a school in the western suburbs.

Another teacher, Geeta Mishra from Thakur Vidya Mandir School and Junior College, said, “Mughal history was important, much of it has now been either omitted or shrinked into a few lines. Topics that were covered in two to three chapters have been merged into one, making it more lengthy. They have covered everything pertaining to Maharashtra. Reducing details on Mughal emperors, they have introduced topics dealing with Indian kings and queens not covered in the old textbooks.”

Last year, Education Minister Vinod Tawde had convened a meeting at Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, a think-tank promoted and run by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, where a syllabus revision was first discussed.

The process to revise Class X textbook has been initiated. The book currently comprises world history. An official on special duty at the school education department said, “We have taken feedback from subject experts and teachers before revising the textbooks. Teachers have already started teaching from the revised book. None of the stakeholders have objected to it yet. We don’t see any problem in the revised textbook.”

The revised Class IX textbook had run into controversy last month, with a few researchers and Congress leaders objecting to a chapter mentioning about the Bofors deal. Chapter 2 of the revised Class IX history textbook, titled ‘India: Events after 1960’, says the Allahabad High Court had said Indira Gandhi misused the government machinery for her election campaign, leading to nationwide strikes following which Emergency was declared.

The textbook says Rajiv Gandhi faced criticism for corruption in the purchase of long-range cannons from Bofors. Regarding changes after 1991, the chapter says: “During this period, the Ram Janmabhoomi and Babri Mosque issue at Ayodhya came to the forefront.” Alleging that the BJP was trying to create a bad impression about Congress leaders through the books, the Congress has issued a statement demanding that the books be recalled and corrected.

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  1. S
    Susanta Basu
    Aug 9, 2017 at 1:03 pm
    Just dropping Mughal from syllabus wont erase that once Mughal used to rule India
    1. A
      Awais Siddiqui
      Aug 9, 2017 at 11:36 am
      See again people here are acting like kids and fighting for something that can be amicably sorted out. It's fine if Maha government wants to add about Martha rulers but denying and erasing history is childish. Because this is one thing nobody can change. Giving mis information or distorted history will only worsen the knowledge of Indian kids.
      1. ಮನೋಜ್
        Aug 9, 2017 at 12:34 pm
        Giving mis information, distorting, erasing history is not being done. History is being taught and looked in the perspective of the local rebels and heroes who resisted Mughals. You will learn about Mughals though , but in a different perspective. How come it worsens knowledge of Indian kids? Current history textbooks gloat on the glories of the Mughals, while remaining silent on the atrocities commuted on Dhimmies(Non-muslims) of Hindustan.Is the current history of glorifying Mughals at all costs, chapter after chapter , by so called secular historians , not a distortion of History?.Sugarcoating history for appea t and vote bank politics, depicting Mughals as benovelent benefactors of al-hind, is doing injustice to the historical facts. Mughals might have ushered few good things and also commited many atrocities. No one is deleting Mughals, or can delete Mughals from the history of India. The kids are being taught local heroes and rebels and how they resisted Mughals. Any wrong?
      2. A
        A M
        Aug 9, 2017 at 11:13 am
        The Mughals and British gave this country a civilisation which the world sees even today. The locals were dancing in grass skirts in makeshift temples while other civilised peoples built temples of learning and healing, which exist even today. These are stone structures built by outsiders, which are supporting your rotten governments. Destroying these will only destroy your country. However much your politicians and egoistic citizens try to erase the Mughals the great British Raj, these cannot be erased. It is the politicians' collective inferiority complex that is manifesting itself by rewriting "history". Remember, history cannot be faked, it has an unnerving ability to show itself. Your fake "history" will not stand long.
        1. M
          mimi sur
          Aug 9, 2017 at 12:10 pm
          Hi AM, Can you tell me one instance when Islamic invaders like Mughals gave India "Temples" of learning and healing . I only know invader named Ghaznavi destroyed a temple 25 times in 17 years . I know an invader named Aurenzeb imposed religious taxes on non-Muslims. I know how an invader named babur is the root cause of an issue which is still pending in India judiciary . I know how an invader razed one of our finest universities into ashes . Those who support these invaders today practice polygamy, wear burka/imposes burka on their women, least educated in country, more children than average people, practice uncivilized practices like Nikah-halala . Building a mosque or a fort doesn't add anything to "temples of learning" . If you cite british rule, I can cite dark sides of their ruling as well. I can cite many countries which were not british ruled, but today ahead of our country in many areas. So just don't glorify slavery and butchery .
        2. K
          Aug 8, 2017 at 8:43 pm
          Victory to states rights and state residents need to learn more local history
          1. K
            K Ganesan
            Aug 8, 2017 at 5:23 pm
            Indian History in school syllabus are always pro Muslims as per Congress tradition.Now the Hindu majority party BJP is in power with full form.So the revision by Maharashtra Govt is quite justified.Besides all the BJP ruled states should emulate the Maharashtra model in their state. Mohmed Ali Jinnah created Pakistan for Muslims.If that is the case India is meant for Hindus.Those Muslims who remained in Indian side cannot murmur now.
            1. Orion Axel
              Aug 9, 2017 at 10:17 am
              With due respect, do you understand what you just wrote? Say for example tomorrow you come and slap me. It will be a fact. I may disagree with it but 10 or 100 years after i cannot deny it happened. Similarly, you can debate about the importance of Mughals in Indian history. But you cannot discard their presence. Disagreeing with a narrative and denying facts are two different things!
              1. ಮನೋಜ್
                Aug 9, 2017 at 1:01 pm
                Orion with all respects, your argument sounds very hallow. Can history of Shivaji exist without Mughals? Answer is no. Where is this denying facts.No one is denying existence of Mughals and can do given the monuments and atrocities committed on native Dimmi population and their religion. So please stop this nonsensical argument of denying facts. If you have to teach Shivaji, Mughals are also involved by extension, just like they treated Shivaji and other native rebels while glorified on Mughals. If the previous text is acceptable, there should be no reason why the current textbook is not acceptable. Belligerents in any history are the two sides of the same coin 😀
              2. a
                Aug 9, 2017 at 12:32 pm
                Jinnah created Pakistan for Muslims, but India was created with a secular mind and that is there in the Cons ution. Believe me, either good or bad people should understand their history as it was, having a predicament towards Mughals or British doesn't mean that you can erase history. It just being foolish. Just quoting Winston Churchill, he once asked Nehru "how could you? Isn’t it strange, Prime Minister, that two people who so hated each other should be thrown together like this?” Nehru replied, “But, Prime Minister, we never hated you.” Then Churchill said, “I did, I did.” Later, the same evening at the dinner, Churchill said, “Here is a man who has conquered both hate and fear This is how you can conquer hearts and mids, not with your stupid racism. I wish someday that your eyes will be opened and will start thinking like a secular human being!
                1. ಮನೋಜ್
                  Aug 9, 2017 at 1:05 pm
                  Erasing history?... Rediculous argumentation!!! who do you think Shivaji is resisting or fighting against? Aliens?... Mughals are part of Indian history for good or bad...no erasing anything..
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