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Changing The Course Of History: Who Won The Battle Of Haldighati?

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Recently, Mohanlal Gupta, a BJP MLA from Jaipur’s Kishanpole constituency, proposed that the historical Battle of Haldighati(1576)be “amended” in Rajasthan University’s history textbooks. Contrary to the popular notion held by historians that the war was won by Akbar, Gupta proposes that it was Maharana Pratap who won it instead, and that the textbooks should reflect the “facts”. Sadly, this is not a Bazinga. This could very well become reality for the students.

Politics has long been intertwined with history. Power decides which party should pick up the pen and dabble it in ink, in order to record the destiny of an era bygone. History has always belonged to the kings and queens, written and read from their perspective. This incident is no different. On one hand, it reflects the paranoid reaction of the establishment — an effort to sanitise and clear the textbooks of any ‘uncomfortable’ details or events from the past. There is a systematic effort to shun the students from asking too many questions or thinking too much. It is as scandalous a move as the decision to remove cartoons from CBSE’s class 10th NCERT books of Political Science, a few years ago, just because they proved to be offensive to a particular politician. Come to think of it, even CBCS’ system, with its truncated syllabus and semesters, does not allow the student enough time to grasp a thorough understanding of his or her course.

On the other hand, it also showcases how easily loyalties get transferred.If Tipu Sultan was till now, to historians at least, a just ruler who occasionally plundered and attacked a population only to expand his territory, the current regime portrays him as a straightforward political villain.The question historians pose is: “Didn’t the thirst for territorial expansion affect every ruler of the era, making Tipu no exception the case?” TipuJayanti celebrations in Karnataka have been politicised and mobilised around this issue, even creating a violent ruckus last year, with the BJP and RSS vehemently opposing the celebrations in the state.

When it comes to history, whom should we rely on? Whose perspective should we accept at face value and whose should we outwardly rejected? These are not apolitical questions in themselves. That said, however, the decision to make a choice should be left with the citizens. As the optimistic youth of the nation, students must not be cheated out of their freedom to make a choice based on reasoning. There should, in a democratic setup, be scope enough to face the negatives in history alongside the positives. The last decision must be arrived at by the youth itself.


With inputs from The Times of India.

Deepannita Misra

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