Breaking history: Maharana Pratap won Battle of Haldighati

The proposal, discussed at a meeting of Rajasthan University, was backed Tuesday by former Higher Education Minister Kalicharan Saraf and School Education Minister Vasudev Devnani.

Written by Mahim Pratap Singh | Jaipur | Updated: February 9, 2017 2:06 pm
Maharana Pratap, Maharana Prata history, new history, Maharana Pratap won, haldighati battle, who won haldighati battle, battle of haldighati, padmavati, padmavati protest, sanjay leela bhansali, sanjay leela bhansali slapped, vasundhara raje, rewrtite history, rajput history, indian express news, india news The battle failed to break the stalemate between Akbar and Rana Pratap, with the latter retreating into the hills of southern Mewar.

Days after protests in Rajasthan over Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s upcoming film Padmavati, three senior ministers of the Vasundhara Raje government have backed a proposal to rewrite history taught at the university level to say that Rajput warrior-king Maharana Pratap won the Battle of Haldighati against the Mughal army of Akbar led by his general Man Singh.

The proposal, discussed at a meeting of Rajasthan University, was backed Tuesday by former Higher Education Minister Kalicharan Saraf (now Health Minister) and School Education Minister Vasudev Devnani. On Wednesday, Urban Development and Housing Minister Rajpal Singh Shekhawat joined the chorus.

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Last week, university syndicate member and BJP MLA Mohan Lal Gupta had proposed rewriting the history curriculum in Rajasthan university to portray Maharana Pratap as the winner of the 1576 battle. Acting Vice Chancellor Rajeshwar Singh said the proposal has been forwarded to the university’s Board of Studies (for critical examination and appropriate decision).

Authoritative texts on medieval history, such as Satish Chandra’s Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals- Mughal Empire (1526-1748), say the Battle of Haldighati was fought between the forces of Akbar led by Man Singh and those of Maharana Pratap, assisted among others by “an Afghan contingent led by Hakim Sur which played a distinctive role”. The battle failed to break the stalemate between Akbar and Rana Pratap, with the latter retreating into the hills of southern Mewar.

“The Mughal forces were commanded by Kr. Man Singh. With both the Hindus and the Muslims divided, the battle of Haldighati can scarcely be considered a struggle between Hindus and Muslims. Nor can it be considered a struggle for Rajput independence, influential sections of the Rajputs already having cast their lot with the Mughals. The struggle can be regarded at best as an assertion of the principle of local independence,” Chandra notes.

“Akbar followed up the battle of Haldighati by coming back to Ajmer, and personally leading the campaign against Rana Pratap. In the process, Goganda, Udaipur and Kumbhalmir were occupied, forcing the Rana deeper into the mountainous tract of south Mewar,” he writes.

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But Minister Kalicharan Saraf says Akbar was only a foreign invader, and that Rana Pratap actually won the battle. “Yes, it has been established. A distorted version of history has been taught to generations of students. But the fact is that Akbar was a foreign invader and Maharana Pratap was a brave, patriotic ruler. And if there is a proposal to correct this mistake and tell students that Maharana Pratap actually won the battle, then what is wrong with it?” Saraf told The Indian Express.

Asked why he did not take a decision on the issue while he was Higher Education Minister, Saraf said he had not come across the idea then.

School Education Minister Devnani, who has presided over a curriculum change in Rajasthan schools where Akbar is taught without the suffix ‘great’, supported the view. He however, ruled out modifying school books to accommodate it. “Our books have now been published. But it is true. Maharana Pratap did win the battle of Haldighati against Akbar,” Devnani said.

Historian Tanuja Kothiyal, who specialises in the history of medieval Rajasthan, believes altering historical facts such as the result of the Battle of Haldighati “not only insults history but the education process as a whole”.

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“That Akbar defeated Rana Pratap is a fact of history, but local sentiment and public memory have very different ideas. When Rajasthan came into existence in the 1950s, there was no other element bringing it together than the fact that it is a collection of Rajput states. so celebrating Maharana Pratap becomes crucial in forging a Rajasthani identity. However, just to accommodate public memory, one can’t turn facts around. It would be very detrimental to history as well as to education,” Kothiyal said.

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  1. A
    Adityakrishna Singh Deora
    Jun 16, 2017 at 7:31 pm
    mahim pratap sir , if one notices there is contradiction in what Satish Chandra and Tanuja Kothiyal say. The former calls it a "draw' and with much elaboration , while the latter outrightly dismisses it as "defeat" but without any elaboration at all.
    1. E
      Feb 9, 2017 at 5:12 am
      This is surgical strike on life poor young students mind . Because it is those who attend thsese school board of rajasthan , hindi medium . All politician and buraucrat wards attend cbse ,icse school which have correct syllabus . Given the level of compeion in higher education and jobs , poor students are at disadvantage because of lack of resources and wrong facts taught in schools . If a question asked on haldi ghati in say ssc, upsc exam do you think rajasthan board answer will be deemed correct in exam ? Do ministers wards study in such schools or they study in mayo college ?
      1. R
        Feb 9, 2017 at 7:13 am
        Then why only praise the cow?
        1. R
          Feb 9, 2017 at 6:23 am
          They are not only changing history but also zoology by saying that cow exhales oxygen.
          1. R
            Feb 9, 2017 at 6:24 am
            Touch your heart and say RSS is re-writing honestly?
            1. R
              Rex Abhin
              Feb 12, 2017 at 5:58 pm
              just becoz the history isn't to ones' liking doesn't mean one should distort it.....what one does in the present will become history for tomorrow.....whatever or however our history is we should be proud of it.......
              1. A
                Adil Mir
                Feb 9, 2017 at 12:27 pm
                Akbar was a foreign invader? I thought Akbar was born and raised in India. And who other than some drunk illiterate Rajasthani cares about what happened 500 years ago. Next bjp will say, Modi was the first man to set foot on the moon.
                1. K
                  Kalyan Deb
                  May 3, 2017 at 7:45 pm
                  How did he go to the moon? Riding on a winged flying horse led by an angel? LOL
                2. A
                  Afzal Ahmad
                  Feb 9, 2017 at 7:46 pm
                  When illiterate and s of highest order write or speak, it's better to remain silent. But I pray to God to save our country from these stupids.
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