PUNE/MUMBAI: History textbooks for class 7 and 9 students in Maharashtra will no longer have chapters on Mughals and Muslim rulers before them, a move that provoked an opposition attack on the BJP-led government for promoting the "RSS agenda".
The Devendra Fadnavis government came in the line of the opposition's fire after the state education board revised the textbooks which would now focus mainly on the Maratha Empire founded by Chhatrapati Shivaji.
Chapters from the previous edition on the Mughals, and Muslim rulers in India before them such as Razia Sultana and Muhammad bin Tuqhlaq, have been expunged from the new books for students of government schools.
At least five chapters on the rise and fall of major dynasties in India have been condensed into one chapter — India before the times of Shivaji Maharaj.
"The BJP wants to change our history by espousing regional sentiments. However, history won't change just because it is not being taught in the new textbooks," NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said. "There is always Google," he added.
"The Sangh Parivar wants to forward their agenda by communalising everything," Malik said.
Sadanand More, chairman of the History subject committee of the Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research, however, defended the decision, saying it was relevant for students studying in Maharashtra.
"Why should we not change? We have looked at history from a Maharashtra-centric point of view. Even if it is the Delhi Sultanate or the Mughal rule and the medieval history of India, we have kept Maharashtra at the centre. It is a natural course as we are from Maharashtra. What's wrong in that? In fact, the central board books have little about our state," More said.
The new textbooks have been written keeping in mind the Maratha Empire, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and expansion of Maratha power in India, More said.
Chapters in the new textbooks include ‘India before the time of Shivaji Maharaj, ‘Maharashtra before the times of Shivaji Maharaj’, ‘Conflict with Mughals’, ‘The expansion of Maratha power’, ‘Maratha-The protectors of the nation’ and ‘Progression of the Empire,’ he said.
"Once we adopt this standpoint and perspective, some details of Mughal Empire will have naturally been eliminated," More said.
"On the other hand, NCERT textbooks speak mostly of the history of Mughals and only one-and-a-half page is devoted to Maratha history, with only a few lines on Shivaji Maharaj," he said.
More alleged that some people are trying to give the matter a "colour" and asserted it is purely an "academic issue."