A social science e-textbook for class 10, available for download from the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education (RBSE) website, says 16th Century king of Mewar Maharana Pratap “lacked the patience, control and planning which is required in a military commander during hostile circumstances”.
“Senanayak me pratikul paristhitiyon me jis dhairya, sanyam aur yojana ki avashyakta honi chahiye, Pratap me uska abhav tha (The patience, control and planning which is required in a military commander during hostile circumstances, Pratap lacked it),” reads a part of the chapter 2 — ‘Sangharshkalin Bharat-1206AD-1757AD’ — in the textbook.
The associate professor who has been credited as one of the authors of the book distanced himself from several portions of the chapter saying he had not written them, but they were being attributed to him.
The RBSE said it would investigate the matter and take down the e-textbook.
The chapter covers the Battle of Haldighati fought between the Rajput warrior king and Mughal king Akbar. The section goes on to say that the Mughal army was not adept at fighting in hilly areas while the Mewar army was not used to fighting on open ground and when the Mughal army started to retreat, Pratap’s army reached Badshah Bagh Maidan following them. The results were adverse for Pratap, it adds.
This particular portion in the e-textbook however, is not mentioned in the 2020 edition of the class 10 social science textbook distributed by the Rajasthan State Textbook Board.
However, the e-textbook on the education board website also bears the mark of the RBSE and is available for public download under the ‘Books 2020-21 section’.
The e-textbook mentions that some historians have termed the battle inconclusive and adds that several others believe Pratap was defeated in it.
In the textbook published during the previous BJP government in 2017, it was mentioned that Akbar had failed to capture or kill Pratap or conquer Mewar. The book had awarded the battle in favour of Maharana Pratap with the argument that the Mughal army did not follow the army of Mewar and spent time in fear.
In 2019, the textbooks were revised after the Congress government came to power and set up a textbook reviewing committee. In that edition, the portion covering the Battle of Haldighati ends with Pratap leaving the battlefield and his horse Chetak dying. It is also mentioned that the clash between Pratap and Akbar was not a religious war, but a clash for superiority between two political forces. Silent on the result, the chapter goes on to describe Pratap’s guerrilla warfare tactics against Akbar in subsequent years.
The 2020 edition of the textbook distributed in the market for the current session has the same content.
However, the e-textbook has not only said that many historians believe Pratap was defeated in the battle but also lists four reasons for the defeat under the subhead, “Parajay ke liye nimna uttardayi bataye jate hai (the following are said responsible for the defeat)”.
Dr. Chandrasekhar, associate professor, Udaipur’s government-run Meera Girls’ College, told The Indian Express that he had not written this content and that it was changed without notifying him while still carrying his name as the author.
“This is absolutely wrong to include my name in a book, parts of which I haven’t written. I didn’t write that Maharana Pratap lacked qualities essential in a military commander. Instead, I had spoken about his valour and how research has shown that the battle of Haldighati was won by Maharana Pratap because Akbar failed in his objectives. I had included this in the book published in 2017 and I didn’t know that it was removed and changed. I feel that since that part was removed, my name should have also been removed. The government should look into it and correct it,” he said.
Chandrasekhar added that the textbook reviewing committee, set up by the government in February last year, has not contacted him regarding the content.
“If somebody is reviewing and changing the content then it should be mentioned in the book what changes they have made and in which chapter,” he pointed out.
Professor BM Sharma, convener of the textbook review committee, said that he was the committee’s coordinator and said it would be better to ask the RBSE about the changes.
RBSE Board chairman DP Jaroli told The Indian Express that if there is a mistake in the e-textbook, it will be corrected.
“I have joined as the chairman of the board in February. Following that, there were exams before the lockdown started. If this book is on the board’s website, we will remove it. I will examine both the books, the one on the website and the version published in the market. It might be possible that the book in the website is an earlier version while the book published in the market is the legitimate version,” said Jaroli.
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