the Name of History
from Hindutva-inspired school textbooks in India
by Nalini Taneja, University of Delhi
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
GEMS FROM THE SANSKRIT GYAN TEXTS
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
give below a sampling of these 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:
Janmabhoomi is the birthplace of Ram.
was first settled by Indians (Aryans).
Homer adapted Valmiki’s Ramayana into an epic called Iliad.
philosophers like Herodotus and Aristophanes were influenced by the
Egyptian faith was based on Indian traditions according to Plato and
language of the Native American Indians evolved from ancient Indian
cow is the mother of us all, in whose body Gods are believed to reside.
Ayurveda is the finest medical system of the world, and it naturally
evolved in India
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" )
SAMPLE FROM THE HISTORY TEXTS
These texts are being used in Shishu Mandirs and Government Schools
in BJP controlled states.
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)
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.
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 with greedy eyes (p.12 GG)
Nanda had so much wealth that if divided among the population, every
person would get Rs. 50 lakhs each (p.13 GG)
army was defeated at the hands of Puru and Alexander himself had to
seek forgiveness (p.15 GG)
came Demetrius. The preaching of ahimsa had weakened North India.
The Kshatriyas -- followers of the Vedic religion -- were feeling
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)
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
India is proud of him even today. Every day we remember his name.(p.
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)
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 deals with the history of India from pre- historic
times to 1526.)
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
that inspite of such a large empire, Asoka had got his edicts engraved
only in one script (Brahmi) and one language : Prakrti-Sanskrit. This
symbolises the national unity of the times".
entire period of Indian history from the death of Harsha till the
12th century has been described as the Rajput kaal (p.
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.
Modern Indian history:
religious factor was the predominant factor in policies and conflicts
throughout the medieval period
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
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)
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
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)
(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
second phase of the freedom struggle began with the invasion of India
by Mahmud of Ghazni (Gaurav Gatha Class 4)
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 )
Minar was constructed by Samundragupta, and its original name was
Vishnu Sthambha ( p. 73, GG ).
`‘foreig'n’ ruler Muhammad bin Tughlak transferred his capital from
Delhi to Deogiri in South India out of fear of the Hindu kings (p.
73, GG ).
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)
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)
the sword of Islam was transferred from the Caliphs to the Turks (p.
189, HSIB 1)
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).
imposed 50% land revenue on the Hindus. ( p. 228 HSIB 1).
accepted turkish political supremacy only under compulsion. They retained
their identity even while leading the life of insult and humiliation.
(p. 260 HSIB 1).
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 )
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)
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
- By adopting
jauhar vrat, women defended their religion and chastity.(p. 183 HSIB1)
marriage, jauhar, sati, purdah, jadu-tona and superstition were all
due to the fear of the muslims (p. 284 HSIB 1)
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)
epithet intolerant is constantly used for Jahangir, Shah Jahan and
Qoran was the basis for the state policy of Aurangzeb, and whatever
policy was adopted for running the Government was basically for promoting
Islam ( HSIB 2, p. 119)
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)
and Rana Pratap were fighters for national liberation. All the ‘Hindu’
kings who fought for their kingdoms against the Moghuls are presented
- 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.
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.
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)
movements find no place.
book is full of factual errors, inconsistencies, and chronological
Muslims are solely blamed for the partition of India.
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.
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 )
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.
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.