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/ History / Communalism in History /

In the Name of History
Examples from Hindutva-inspired school textbooks in India

Communal historiography is quite old in India but the new additions reflect greater contemporary use in dividing society along communal lines. They are also stronger in the language and expressions used. Communal bias is woven into school textbooks with preposterous ‘facts’ in a way that can only have dangerous consequences for the educational standards in this country.

In the name of curriculum reform there is an attempt to rewrite textbooks along communal lines on a scale that will submerge all secular interpretations in school level teaching. A whole generation would grow up with their collective memory of a shared heritage destroyed and with ideas and information that have no basis in reality. A successful implementation of these texts on a widespread scale will mean the triumph of unreason as well as a tremendous and sudden deterioration in the quality of education, where the minimum criteria of correct empirical data and a scientific temper and reason are thrown to the winds. Our children will be little suited to face the real world or the world of scholarship

These books already form an integral portion of the curriculum in the 20,000 or more Vidya Bharati schools and also the Shishu Mandirs. The introduction of these texts into the Government schools in the BJP ruled states has massively increased the number of children who are being being made victims of this second rate and poisonous ‘knowledge’ The take over of educational bodies from the highest levels to those determining the syllabi in schools, will carry this wave of fascist propaganda into the entire educational process. Coupled with other forms of popular education they could change our entire ways of looking at ourselves, and also propel our political visions along fascist rather than democratic lines.

We give below a sampling of these texts:

SOME GEMS FROM THE SANSKRIT GYAN TEXTS

Sanskrit Gyan texts are taught in Vidya Bharati schools and Shishu Mandirs. The recent RSS sponsored agenda paper on education that the Central Government tried to present before the Conference of the State Education Ministers suggested that these and similar texts be made compulsory for all schools.

The students are tested on dubious ‘facts’ such as:

  • Ram Janmabhoomi is the birthplace of Ram.
  • Iran was first settled by Indians (Aryans).
  • Homer adapted Valmiki’s Ramayana into an epic called Iliad.
  • Greek philosophers like Herodotus and Aristophanes were influenced by the Vedas.
  • The Egyptian faith was based on Indian traditions according to Plato and Pythagorus.
  • The language of the Native American Indians evolved from ancient Indian languages.
  • The cow is the mother of us all, in whose body Gods are believed to reside.
  • The Ayurveda is the finest medical system of the world, and it naturally evolved in India
  • Jesus Christ roamed the Himalayas and drew his ideas from Hinduism.
  • In the text books distributed in Vidya Bharti schools the map of India is shown as including not only Pakistan and Bangladesh but also the entire region of Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet and even parts of Myanmar ( "punnya bhoomi Bharat" )

A SAMPLE FROM THE HISTORY TEXTS


These texts are being used in Shishu Mandirs and Government Schools in BJP controlled states.

Ancient history:

  • Rama and Krishna took birth here to destroy evil and defend justice, religion and Sarasvati, and god took birth here many times to make this land pure. India is referred to as Sone ki chiriya and jagadguru( p 4 ,Gaurav Gatha (henceforth GG), the textbook for Class 4, Sarasvati Shishu Mandir, written in an extremely emotional and provocative style.)

  • Our land has always been seen with greedy eyes by the marauders, barbarous invaders and oppressive rulers. This story of invasion and resistance is our 3000 year long Gaurav Gatha . When this proud tradition actually began is difficult to say because no books were written at that time…but we believe that the first man was born in this land(p. 8 GG)

  • To our ancestors these marauders were like mosquitoes and flies who were crushed (p. 8 GG)
  • Bacchus and Dionysis, among the earliest invaders, suffered such a defeat that feelings of terror ran in Greece(p. 9, GG) Darius had to face such a defeat that never could Iran raise its eyes towards India (p. 10 GG)

  • About 2200 years ago India’s trade was spread far and wide; foreign markets were filled with goods made in India. Heaps of gems and jewels and gold and silver filled the treasures People of the entire world used to look to India rith greedy eyes(p. 12 GG)

  • Mahapadma Nanda had so much wealth that if divided among the population, every person would get Rs. 50 lakhs each (p. 13 GG)

  • Alexander’s army was defeated at the hands of Puru and Alexander himself had to seek forgiveness(p., 15 GG)

  • Then came Demetrius …the preaching of ahimsa had weakened North India. The Kshatriyas--followers of the Vedic religion were-feeling frustrated….the ruler of Magadha was a Buddhist. So he did not come forward to fight. But then was the country enslaved/ Did the enemy become victorious in the birthplace of Bhagwan Rama? No, no (p. 31, GG)

  • Pushyamitra destroyed the Greeks. After this the people of Greece could not attack Bharat Later they came only as refugees. As beggars they begged for their lives but never dared to look with proud eyes…the great man who destroyed the Greek power from its very roots was emperor Pushyamitra. India is proud of him even today. Every day we remember his name.(p. 35-37, GG)

  • Asoka advocated ahimsa. Every kind of violence came to be considered a crime. Even hunting, sacrifices in yajnas and use of arms began to be considered bad. It had a bad effect on the army. Cowardice slowly spread throughout the kingdom. The state bore the burden of providing food to the Buddhist monks. Therefore people began to become monks. Victory through arms began to be viewed as bad, Soldiers guarding the borders became demoralised. (p. 30, GG)

  • With the finds of bones of horses, their toys and yajna altars, scholars are beginning to believe that the people of the Harappa and Vedic civilisation were the same. (High School Itihaas Bhaag (henceforth HSIB)1, p. 43, history textbook for secondary schools, Government of U. P. revised in 1992 to suit the communal interpretations of Indian history. This book seals with the history of India from pre- historic times to 1526.)

  • Aryan culture is the nucleus of Indian culture, and the Aryans were an indigenous race. " But about the Aryans who were the builders of Bharatiya Sanskriti in Bharat and creators of the Vedas, this view is gaining strength among the scholars in the country that India itself was the original home of the Aryans."(P. 48, HSIB 1.) Archaeological and literary evidence does not support this theory.

  • Chanakya desired to "see the entire Bharat united into one nation."(P. 77, HSIB 1) empire building is deliberately confused with nationhood.

  • In a revised textbook three lines have been interpolated which reflect an utter disregard for facts. These lines are"It is worth mentioning that inspite of such a large empire, Asoka had got his edicts engraved only in one script (Brahmi) and one language Pakti-Sanskrit). This symbolises the national unity of the times".

  • The entire period of Indian history from the death of Harsha till the 12th century has been described as the Rajput kaal (p. 168).

  • The qualities of ancient traditional self-pride, love of freedom, the feeling of pride towards Indian culture among Rajputs confirm the view that the Rajput race is the descendent of ancient Kshatriya families (p. 170 HSIB 1). That they had their ancestry in certain invaders is dismissed as a conspiracy of western historians.

Medieval history:

  • The religious factor was the predominant factor in policies and conflicts throughout the medieval period
  • Muslim rule in India was a foreign rule ( the reference is to the medieval period of Indian history when the rulers were Muslims, although factually even this is incorrect if one takes the entire country into account)
  • Lakhs of foreigners came during these thousands of years…but they all suffered humiliating defeat….There were some whom we digested…when we were disunited , we failed to recognise who were our own and who were foreigners, then we were not able to digest them. We were not able even those who for some compulsion had separated from us. Mughals, Pathans and Christians are today some of these people." ( Itihaas Ga Raha Hai for Class5 in Shishu Mandir schools)
  • Islam spread in India solely by way of the sword. The Muslims came to India "with the sword in one hand and the Qoran in the other"…"Numberless Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam on the point of the sword. This struggle for freedom became a religious war, Numerous sacrifices were made in the name of religion. We went on winning one battle after another. We did not let the foreign rulers settle down to rule, but we were not able to reconvert the separated brothers to Hinduism."( Itihaas Gaa Raha Hai)
  • Arabs (barbarians) came to convert people to their religion. Wherever they went, they had a sword in their hand. Their army went like a storm in all the four directions. Any country that came in their way was destroyed, Houses of prayers and universities were destroyed. Libraries were burnt.. religious books were destroyed. Mothers and sisters were humiliated. Mercy and justice were unknown to them. (p.s.52-53 GG)
  • The second phase of the freedom struggle began with the invasion of India by Mahmud of Ghazni (Gaurav Gatha Class 4)
  • Mohammad Ghori killed lakhs of people, Visvanath Temple and Bhagwan Krishna’s birth place were converted into mosques. In turn he was killed by Prithviraj Chauhan( p.s. 67-68, GG )
  • Qutb Minar was constructed by Samundragupta, and its original name was Vushnu Sthambha ( p. 73, GG)).
  • The ‘foreign’ ruler Muhammad bin Tughlak transferred his capital from Delhi to Deogiri in South India out of fear of the Hindu kings (p. 73, GG ).
  • When Peshava Madhav Rao came to the throne no one could raise his eyes. The English, the French and the Portuguese shivered; they presented gifts in homage in his court with their heads bowed. Delhi’s emperor was his puppet. Moghul power had ended. Nizam and other Muslim states with bowed heads sought his (Peshava’s ) refuge. The entire country was in a sense independent (p. 111 GG)
  • Due to the circumstances, it ( Islam )gradually assumed the form of a military religion ( sainik dharma) and with the force of arms, with a lightening speed it advanced and became an international religion.( p. 184, HSIB 1)

  • Now the sword of Islam was transferred from the Caliphs to the Turks (p. 189, HSIB 1)
  • The aim of Mahmud of Ghazni and Mohammed Ghori in coming to India , apart from plunder was the spread of Islam in India(p.s. 190, 195, HSIB1).

  • Allauddin imposed 50% land revenue on the Hindus. ( p. 228 HSIB 1).

  • Hindus acceptd turkish political supremacy only under compulsion. They retained their identity even while leading the life of insult and humiliation. (p. 260 HSIB 1).

  • Most of the Sultans adopted a policy of religious intolerance. They commited atrocities against hindus, demolished idols and temples.because of this the Hindus had surrendered to the Sultanate but they were always making efforts to destroy the Sultanate ( p.278 HSIB 1 )

  • The followers of Islam in this country whether they came as traders or as invaders-but with this country they could never establish full cultural harmony. One basic reason for their seperateness was the basic principle of their religion which is monotheism…there was continuous mutual struggle between the two cultures (p. 280, HSIB 1)

  • The indian society during the Sultanate period was divided into two main classes-ruling or muslim classes and ruled or non-Muslims of whom the Hindus were the majority) the majority of the population of the state was hindu but the Muslim class was patronised by rulers. Hindu was merely the payer of taxes . Inspite of being conquered in the political field, Hindus did not lose courage. To regain their lost independence, they went on raising their voices from time to time. Because of this historians have called it the "period of resistance". (p. 281, p. 283, HSIB 1)

  • In India the nature of the mussalman state was a religious state (p.282, HSIB 1)

  • By adopting jauhar vrat, women defended their religion and chastity.(p. 183 HSIB1)

  • Child marriage, jauhar, sati, purdah, jadu-tona and superstition were all due to the fear of the muslims (p.,. 284 HSIB 1)
  • The Babri Mosque was constructed after destroying a temple, which in turn stood on the exact spot where Rama was born.( High School Itihaas Bhaag 2, p. 146. This book covers the period from invasion of Babur to recent events)

  • The epithet intolerant is constantly used for Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb

  • The Qoran was the basis for the state policy of Aurangzeb, and whatever policy was adopted for running the Government was basically for promoting Islam9 HSIB 2, p. 119)

  • Destruction of temples and schools attached to them and the building of mosques in their place was a general policy with Aurangzeb .(HSIB 2 p. 120)
  • Shivaji and Rana Pratap were fighters for national liberation. All the ‘Hindu’ kings who fought for their kingdoms against the Moghuls are presented as such.
  • In the text books from Maharashtra, the medieval history of Maharashtra begins and ends with Shivaji. All other historical figures exist only in reference to him.

Modern Indian history:

  • About 190 pages of the book deal with the history of modern India, of which only 20 pages are devoted to the nationalist movement (HSIB 2), of which 3 pages are devoted to Dr. Hedgewar. Important nationalist leaders are mentioned incidentally in comparison. Quit India movement has ½ page, Jinnah is the villian.

  • Although there are 60 pages on the entry of the British and establishment of british rule, there is nothing that would promote an understanding of colonialism (HSIB 2)

  • Peoples movements find no place.

  • The book is full of factual errors, inconsistencies, and chronological lapses.

  • The Muslims are solely blamed for the partition of India.

  • The RSS as an organisation is presented as central to the Freedom Movement. Dr. Keshavrao B. Hegdewar is one of the tallest leaders of the freedom struggle. Statements of a large number of national leaders have been quoted in praise of the RSS.

  • In the section dealing with the movement against the partition of Bengal the name of Hegdewar has been added as a leader of the movement, the other names mentioned being those of Tilak, Aurobindo Ghose, Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chandra Pal.

  • In the context of the civil disobedience movement there is no mention of the Lahore Congress or Purna Swaraj.

  • The shishu mandir text book is worse on all these counts, and the RSS and its leaders are said to have removed the evils which hundreds of years of slavery had given…this Sangathan became an object of pride for the country ( p. 86 )

  • SUBSTANTIAL amendments and additions that suit the RSS ideology have also been made in grammar, literature and political science books for Classes IX, X, XI and XII in Rajasthan.
  • In one of the texts, "A New Collection of Poems and Literary Writings" (Nutan Gadya Padya Sangrah--the original title in Hindi), prescribed for Class IX, there are, among others, four articles, one each by Prof. Rajendra Singh (Rajju Bhaiya), RSS chief; Tarun Vijay, editor of the RSS weekly Panchajanya; K.C. Sudarshan, also an RSS ideologue; and Dr. Jalamsingh Ravlot of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch. All four articles were added this year.

  • In a textbook for Class XI, titled Political Science - An Introduction and Indian Political Thinkers, a chapter on Deen Dayal Upadhyay has been added. This 1998-99 edition describes him as a person who had deep respect for "ancient and highly sophisticated culture of India", who envisaged an "ideal Dharmarajya" and who was upset that "while designing the Indian Constitution, the natural and national values had been ignored." The 20-page section highlights his belief in "Akhand Bharat" which was all for dissolving the 1947 Partition and cites the occasion in April 1964 when he along with Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia conceived of a "Mahasangh" in which India and the partitioned countries (Pakistan and Bangladesh) would be included.

  • Rana Pratap’s heroic deeds are the subject of a poem in the High school Hindi syllabus. The poem Haldighati, written by Shyam Narain Pandey was banned in 1975 as it was found to incite communal feelings.