BJP and other right wing organisations claim that these were collectively and deliberately forgotten by the country.
Mumbai: A fresh set of nationalist icons rose to renewed emphasis in the revised NCERT syllabus.
BJP and other right wing organisations claim that these were collectively and deliberately forgotten by the country and include Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda, freedom fighters Lala Lajpat Rai and Vallabhbhai Patel, Peshwa and Maratha general Bajirao Ballal, Jat king Suraj Mal, Rajput icon Maharana Pratap and Maratha leader Chhatrapati Shivaji.
In a study conducted by The Indian Express, where they compared old and new versions of 25 textbooks meant for Classes 6 to 10, across five subjects - History, Geography, Political Science, Science and English.
The analysis of the study indicates that the revision is more noticeable in the case of Swami Vivekananda and Aurobindo Ghose.
- Chapter 3 of Our Past-III, part II, the Class 8 History textbook which introduces Sri Aurobindo with a picture and his ideals on national educationl. "In a speech delivered on January 15, 1908 in Bombay, Aurobindo Ghose stated that the goal of national education was to awaken the spirit of nationality among the students. This required a contemplation of the heroic deeds of our ancestors… Aurobindo Ghose emphasised that although the students should remain connected to their own roots, they should also take the fullest advantage of modern scientific discoveries and Western experiments in popular governments,” says the textbook.
- The older version of the same chapter and section invests 21 words to describe the feats of Ramakrishna Mission and Swami Vivekananda. The new version carries an additional 250 words with special emphasis on a New York Herald report on Vivekananda's speech at World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago.
- Chandra Shekhar Azad, Sukhdev and Rajguru's names have been added to the Chapter 11 of the same book while earlier it mentioned only "Bhagat Singh and his comrades."
- Chapter 10 of the Class 7 History textbook, Our Past-II, introduces Suraj Mal (under the section titled ‘The Jats’) as the king under whom “the power of Jats reached its zenith”. “Suraj Mal built a number of forts and palaces and the famous Lohagarh fort in Bharatpur is regarded as one of the strongest forts built in this region,” it states.
- Chapters 3 and 10 of the same book now carries an additional 100 words on the Maratha leader Shivaji, his guerilla warfare tactics and how he started his military and political career at an early age. Shivaji's portrait has also been added to this chapter.
- The section on Marathas in the same chapter talks about the role of Peshwas in building the Maratha empire. The revised edition mentions Peshwa Baji Rao I as a great general known for “his military campaign against Malwa, Bundelkhand, Gujarat and the Portuguese”. The section credits him with expanding the kingdom beyond the Vindhyas.
– Maharana Pratap has also been introduced in the last chapter of the Class 7 History book, in the section titled ‘The Watan Jagirs of the Rajputs’. This section is on the influential Rajput kings, especially those from Amber and Jodhpur, who served under the Mughals and in exchange “were permitted to enjoy considerable autonomy in their watan jagirs”. Here, Maharana Pratap of Mewar has been introduced as an exception, who did not give in to Mughal authority. “A series of envoys were sent to the Rana to persuade him to accept Mughal suzerainty, but he stood his ground,” it states.
Shiv Sena and Hindu Janajagruti Sangha had earlier criticised by the Class 7 History book for having insufficient or no information on Shivaji and Maharana Pratap but rather investing on Mughal rulers.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also stressed on many occassions that the Rajput warrior has not got his due in history.
NCERT has also added more information on Lala Lajpat Rai and Vallabbhai Patel in Chapter 3 of the Class 10 book.
Paika rebellion of Odisha and Khurda uprising of 1817 have been introduced in the Class 8 History textbook Our Past-III, Part II. These were resistance movements by the people of Odisha against the colonial rule and was led by Buxi Jagabandhu, the commander of the erstwhile king of Khurda.
This event has recently been utilised extensively by the BJP and the BJD in Odisha as Jagabandhu's great granddaughter joined the BJP in 2017 and then the Chief Minister writing to the HRD Ministry, asking that Paiks rebellion should be declared as first War of Independence.
NCERT sources have said that all the changes and revisions are based on feedback received by the council in 2017.
“As you are aware, personalities such as Aurobindo Ghose and Swami Vivekananda were missing from the History textbooks. We have tried to correct that. We can assure you that all changes made are based on public feedback and suggestions,” an NCERT source told The Indian Express and did not wish to be identified.
A total of 1,334 changes have been made over a span of 182 textbooks. Maximum changes (573) have been made to Science books, followed by Social Science (316) and Sanskrit (163).
Other changes & additions
– NCERT has added portraits of Rani of Kittur, freedom fighter Veer Surendra Sai, Rani Laxmi Bai, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Peshwa Nana Sahib and Veer Kunwar Singh, a hero of the 1857 rebellion, across different chapters of the Class 8 History book Our Past-III, Part II.
– Chapter 4 of Class 7 History, Our Past-II, has new material on Akbar commissioning translation of many Sanskrit works such as Mahabharata, Ramayana, Lilavati and Yoga Vashisht into Persian.
– Chapter 8 (Devotional Paths to the Divine) of Our Past-II has a new paragraph on the Vaishnava poet-saints of Maharashtra such as Dnyaneshwar, Namdev and Tukaram. The same chapter also has new information on the Rishi order of Sufism that flourished in Kashmir in the 15th and 16th centuries.
– Chapter 8 (Devotional Paths to the Divine) of the Class 8 History book has included more material on Sankaradeva, a Bhakti saint from Assam, whose teachings were based on Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavat Purana.
– Chapter 6 of the Class 7 History textbook talks about the keen interest taken by Vijayanagara rulers in building tanks and canals.