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Right-wing group warns stir over ‘misleading’ Shivaji pic in textbook

Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HSJ) have claimed that Class IV Balbharti textbooks show Chhatrapati Shivaji embracing Afzal Khan "in an attempt to show him as secular."

By: PTI | Mumbai | July 26, 2016 10:23:29 pm
Shivaji photo in textbook, inaccurate Shivaji photo, Balbharti textbook, HJS, right-wing group, Afzal Khan, Maharashtra education, maharashtra news, India news A depiction of Chhatrapati Shivaji in Class IV textbooks has riled up right-wing sentiments in Maharashtra. (Representational Picture)

A right-wing organisation on Tuesday accused ‘Balbharti’, an autonomous body under Maharashtra government, of deliberately publishing a “misleading” picture of Chhatrapati Shivaji in a textbook, wherein the Maratha king is shown “virtually embracing” Afzal Khan instead of “killing” him.

Claiming that publication of the picture in History text book of class IV is an attempt to paint Shivaji as “secular”, Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS) Tuesday threatened to launch a state-wide agitation if the said picture is not removed within seven days.

Afzal Khan was a 17th century commander who served the Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur. He was killed by Shivaji in the battle of Pratapgarh.

Balbharti or the Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research is located in Pune.

“The misleading picture where Chhatrapati Shivaji is shown as about to embrace Afzal Khan should be immediately excluded and the correct picture depicting the historic bravery of Shivaji, which is killing Khan, should be included in text books,” Samiti spokesperson, Uday Dhuri said at a press conference.

He said “intense” agitations will be launched by various Hindu organisations across the state if the said picture is not removed from text book.

Besides Dhuri, spokespersons of Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti and other leaders attended the presser.

“Today, attempt is being made to alter the history of Chhatrapati Shivaji and to depict him as secular. This is precisely the reason why he is being shown as embracing Afzal Khan,” Dhuri said.

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Alleging that contemporary NCERT text books describe the Maratha king’s history in just “few lines”, he said the same text books allocate 60 pages to Mughal history.

He said Samiti has been agitating for the past eight years on this issue.

“Recently, it came to our notice that some schools in Andhra (Pradesh) are falsely teaching that Shivaji Maharaj was saved (from his enemies) by some novice called ‘John’. However, not a single politician who begs for votes in Shivaji’s name has till date felt like stopping this humiliation of their ‘Janta Raja’,” the spokesperson said.

Taking a dig at the BJP government, Dhuri said, “it is depressing to see that Shivaji Maharaj is being humiliated in his own land in Maharashtra. It was expected that these sins committed during the Congress rule would be rectified by the pro-Hindu BJP Government.”

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