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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. Sadanand More, head of the committee, said, “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.”
Earlier, history textbooks had chapters on Mughal emperors and their contribution, besides detailed history of events that impacted the Western world, 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 said, “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 (CBSE) and those following ICSE curriculum have hardly a page on our state, and just a few paragraphs on Shivaji?” He said 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, has been expanded. The revised textbook has chapters on the 27-year war between Marathas and 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 it has now been added. Last year, Education Minister Vinod Tawde had convened a meeting at Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, a think tank promoted and run by the RSS, 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. None of the stakeholders have objected to it yet. We don’t see any problem in the revised textbook.”