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Mughals and Rajputs reduced to one chapter in history books

The new syllabus for Class 7 and 9 of the Maharashtra state education board has been written from the state’s point of view, said the school education department. The history of other regional powers like Cholas, Rajputs and Vijayanagar kingdom has been cut short along with that of the Mughal dynasty. Board officials said this was done to make space for significant events that occurred after Independence. At least five chapters on the rise and fall of major dynasties in India have been condensed into one India before the times of Shivaji Maharaj. Pertaining to Mughal rule, only those events that had an impact on Maharashtrahave been mentioned.  Another chapter on the social life during Mughal era, which mentioned their architecture, has been dropped. “We have changed the perception of the textbook, as mentioned in it,” said Mogal Jadhav, member-secretary of the history subject committee, which rewrote the book.  “We have written the book from point of view of Maratha history, so only those incidents relevant to it have been printed.”

It is not that all mention of Mughals and Rajputs has been excised from history books in Maharashtra. All non-Maratha history has been reduced to one chapter.

I think it is a stupid move. Four reasons,

  1. History is not confined by geographical borders. Its impact is definitely not. What happens anywhere affects everyone, to a lesser or greater extent. It is not as if students in Maharashtra only NEED to know Maratha history. They need to know enough history so that they can place what happened in their immediate geography in the wider context.
  2. Teaching them only Maratha history will make them poorer; from the perspective of knowledge and contextual appreciation. We will end up setting ignorant youngsters loose upon society. To be fair to the Board officials, who took this decision now, this is the way history has always been taught to us Indians. Focused on the immediate neighbourhood, jingoistic, and overly reliant on mugging up and regurgitating events and dates. It is little wonder that few of us see the beauty in the study of history and fewer still learn from it. How can you learn from something when you don’t know it?
  3. It goes against the principle of many-States, One Nation. If we are not going to learn about the country as a whole when in school, then when are we going to do it? What would make us feel Indian? Why should Maharashtra Board students not feel pride at the sea-faring adventures of the Cholas?
  4. How will we ever get a complete and good idea of Shivaji and the Peshwas (if I just focus on the last 500 years) if we never hear about the Mughals? Will the children not wonder what the hell Shaistekhan was doing in Pune and why his manicure went so wrong?

This raises a question.

If all that students from Maharashtra need to know is what happened in Maharashtra, should we not remove all mention of Jawaharlal Nehru, Netaji Bose, Sardar Patel, Bhagat Singh, Lala Lajpatrai, Rani Laxmibai etc from the curriculum as well?

Maybe focus on Vasudev Balwant Phadke, Tilak and Gandhiji in Sewagram only?  Oh, wait a minute, cut that last one out; Wardha was not Maharashtra then, it was in the Central India Provinces. 

See how stupid it can get?

Makarand

PS: In Pakistan too, history is denied. For instance, Chanakya is not part of historical discussion though Taxila very much lies in what is now Pakistan.

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