Within six months of taking charge, the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan has made several changes to school textbooks for students following the state board. The modifications relate to historical events and personalities, and to decisions taken by the NDA government in its first term.
The freshly-printed books for the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education (RBSE) have been distributed in the market by the Rajasthan State Textbook Board (RSTB). The changes were made following the recommendations made by the textbook review committee set up on February 13 this year to study if the earlier changes to school textbooks were made to fulfil political interests and distort history.
Description of Savarkar and his role in Class 12 History book.
Old book: Savarkar prefixed with ‘Veer’ in the chapter on freedom movement. The portion extensively discusses the contribution of Savarkar in India’s independence movement.
New book: Savarkar addressed as ‘Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’. It describes how Savarkar, troubled by the torture inflicted on him in the Cellular Jail by the British, called himself a ‘son of Portugal’ in his second mercy petition on November 14, 1911. He sent four mercy petitions to the British. Following his freedom, it says Savarkar worked towards establishing India as a ‘Hindu nation’ and gave the call to ‘militarise Hinduodom’ (sic). Savarkar opposed the Quit India movement in 1942 and the creation of Pakistan in 1946. After the murder of Gandhi on January 30, 1948, he was tried on charges of conspiring for murder and aiding Godse, but he was acquitted from the case.
The Haldighati battle between Maharana Pratap and Akbar in Class 10 Social Science book
Old book: It says that Mughal Emperor Akbar failed in his objectives of capturing or killing Pratap or conquer his entire kingdom. The award of the battle of Haldighati in favour of Maharana Pratap with arguments that the Mughal army did not follow the army of Mewar and spent time in fear.
New book: The portion of battle of Haldighati ends with Pratap leaving the battlefield and his horse Chetak dying. It is also mentioned that the clash between Maharana 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 against Akbar in subsequent years.
Demonetisation in Class 12 Political Science
Old book: Under the chapter Terrorism, Criminalisation of Politics & Corruption and Characteristics of Indian Foreign Policy & Non-alignment, demonetisation has been mentioned as ‘kale dhan ki safai abhiyan.’ The chapters discuss impact of demonetisation on corruption and foreign policy.
New book: All references to demonetisation removed.
Reference to organisations with political colour in Class 12 Political Science book.
Old book: In the chapter titled ‘Casteism and Communalism’, only Muslim organisations such as Jamaat-e-Islam, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul and SIMI were mentioned.
New book: Hindu Mahasabha has been added to the list of political outfits which propagate divisive ideas for self-interest. The list includes the Muslim organisations cited earlier.
Reference to Jihad in Class 12 Political Science book.
Old book: In the chapter ‘India’s relations with its neighbours (Pakistan, China and Nepal)’, it was mentioned that anti-India policy or Jihad is among the list of problems affecting Indo-Pak relations.
New book: The word ‘Jihad’ has been omitted in the new book.
Alauddin Khilji’s attack on Chittor in Class 12 History book
Old book: In the chapter ‘Muslim attack- Objective and Impact’, Khilji’s attack on Chittor, according to some historians was because he wanted Padmini, the beautiful wife of Ratan Singh, the Mewar of Chittor. Also, according to Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s literary work Padmaavat, getting Padmini was the reason behind Khilji’s attack.
New book: It cites Padmaavat to say this was the reason. But it also says academicians KS Lal, Kanungo and Habib do not believe Padmini was the reason after studying events and facts. It argues there is no historical evidence of many incidents described in Padmavaat such as Khilji’s siege of Chittor for eight years as described by Jayasi.
When contacted, Rajasthan Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasara said all updating syllabus was a continuing process. “We formed a committee of educationists and found mistakes in several such textbooks including cases where history was distorted and presented. We don’t have any political agenda in it. We made the changes according to the report of the committee. But during the previous BJP regime, they deliberately changed the NCERT syllabus to impose the ideology of the RSS and changed the textbooks which also amounted to the loss of hundreds of crores of rupees,” he told The Indian Express.
Vasudev Devnani, BJP MLA and former education minister in the previous regime, said “I always say Krantikariyon ka apman, ye Congression ki hai pehchan (Congress people are identified by their habit of insulting revolutionaries). They have never let the history of revolutionaries come in the light. They serve only one family and they believe that Subhash Chandra Bose, Veer Savarkar, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, if the history of these people come out then the stature of Nehru and the Gandhi family will fall.
Their own inferiority complex has resulted in them changing the textbooks. Maharana Pratap is known as great in the entire world but these people for years taught in textbook that Akbar is great. Akbar attacked Pratap six times after the battle of Haldighati. A winner never has to attack later, only the person who loses does. The history that our children should learn is what makes them more patriotic. How can they term Veer Savarkar as ‘son of Portugal’, how is this possible? Savarkar was given life sentence twice and was tortured inside the Cellular Jail. Has any Congressman had to tolerate such punishment. To insult such a person is extremely shameful. This is in their nature but all these great men will remain in our hearts.”