Eminent historian Irfan Habib on Saturday said that the present regime’s desire and attempts to rewrite history textbooks is “not saffronisation of history but fictionalisation of history.”
“One must distinguish between saffronisation and pure fictionalisation. Saffronisation would have been if they had just introduced Hindu education, which I also see as a problem in madrasas…that you separate Hindu children from Muslim children. But fictionalisation is when you build up false history and false claims for the nation…it is not serving the nation, it is ridiculing the nation,” Habib told The Indian Express on the sidelines of a programme in Lucknow.
“Government should not impose a fictitious history, as they are doing in Gujarat and also in Madhya Pradesh. They did it last time, during the BJP regime (in the Centre), by getting textbooks in which much of what was written was fiction. But they had an advantage then as they had a favourable director at NCERT. It will now take time for them to change the present syllabus probably because the present NCERT administration is not up to it,” he said, terming the encouragement and endorsement given to author Dina Nath Batra ― whose books, mandated as supplementary reading in Gujarat State School Textbook Board, drew a controversy recently ― as a “a reflection of the present regime.”
Habib also said that the previous regimes in the Centre, except BJP, have not been interested in rewriting the history. “Congress doesn’t need to embellish its history, but BJP has a psychological problem because of their connections with RSS and its antecedents Savarkar and Godse,” he added.
“We are certainly moving away from secularism (of education) since 1990s; ultimately we have to go to the voter, ultimately he has to decide, whether nation is being served truth, or lies; I think people will realise that this is ridiculing the nation,” the historian said.