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5 Controversial Revisions or Findings in Indian School Textbooks That Caused An Uproar

Shivaji is an "ideal leader" while Akbar was the ruler who "tried to bring India under a central authority".


Updated:August 9, 2017, 9:47 AM IST
5 Controversial Revisions or Findings in Indian School Textbooks That Caused An Uproar
Shivaji is an "ideal leader" while Akbar was the ruler who "tried to bring India under a central authority".

The Maharashtra government has now revised the history textbooks.

History of Western countries and Mughals holds no relevance for Class VII and IX students under the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary & Higher Secondary Education as per the state education department and the History Subject Committee.

Artist’s Impressing of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj memorial

Chairman of the History subject committee of the Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research -- Sadanand More -- justified the change by saying that the revisions were made to make the history more "Maharashtra-centric".

"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 very little about our state, “ More said to Mumbai Mirror.

Akbar has now been renamed as the ruler who "tried to bring India under a central authority" from "liberal and tolerant administrator." While Shivaji is now "An Ideal Ruler' from "People's King" under the revision.

"We are from Maharashtra, we need to learn more about the history of this region. I don't think there is anything wrong in that," More told The Indian Express.

List of revised history lessons.

Here's a list of some controversial changes or findings in Indian textbooks:

1. Maharana Pratap defeated Mughal Emperor Akbar in the Battle of Haldighati.


The Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education made a revision in the history section of the Class X social science books according to which Maharana Pratap defeated Mughal emperor Akbar in the 16th-century Battle of Haldighati.

The students in Rajasthan were earlier taught that the Battle of Haldighati, which took place on June 18, 1576, was inconclusive. After the revision, the history books in Rajasthan schools will now teach that the Maharana Pratap's army fought a heroic battle and forced Akbar's army to retreat from the battlefield.


2. References to Nehru removed 

References to the country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his contributions had been dropped in the social science textbook for class eight in BJP-ruled Rajasthan last year.

Congress cried foul and accused the Vasundhara Raje government of touching a "new low" by the "shameless act" of omitting references to Nehru in the book while carrying out a revision of several textbooks.


Rajasthan PCC President Sachin Pilot said the opposition party would launch an agitation against the "deliberate" omission of Nehru's name, saying the RSS-BJP can tweak text books but cannot rewrite history.

The new name included in the textbook was that of freedom movement leader Hemu Kalani. While the names of Mahatma Gandhi, Veer Savarkar, Bhagat Singh, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Subhash Chandra Bose were among those figured in the textbook, there was no mention of Nehru either in the chapter on Freedom Movement or in that on India After Independence.


3. Muslims, Christians, Parsis are "foreigners"

In 1995, when BJP leader Keshubhai Patel became the chief minister of Gujarat, a Class IX social studies textbook showed Muslims, Christians, and Parsis as “foreigners”. To make it even more controversial, the book said: "in most of the states, the Hindus are a minority and the Muslims, Christians and Sikhs are in a majority."

A class VIII social studies book had a horrendous description of Christian priests: “The accumulation of power and wealth in the hands of the priests resulted in a perversion of the religion. Some of the priests became pleasure-loving and badly behaved.”


4. Gujarat Textbook Calls Jesus Christ "Demon"

In an embarrassing error, a Class IX Hindi subject textbook of the board refers to Jesus Christ as a demon and goes on to say that stories of this "demon" will be forever remembered.

Realising the blooper, the education minister and the chairman of the textbook board have said that the error will be rectified soon. Officials said that the mistake was caused by a misprint.

The reference to Jesus Christ as a demon is made in chapter 16 of the book titled “Bharatiya Sanskriti Mein Guru-Shishya Sambandh”. This translates to the “relationship between a guru and his disciples in Indian culture”.


On page 70, the line referring to Jesus Christ reads – "Iss sambandh mein haivan Isa ka ek kathan sadaa smaraniya hain." Translated, it means that in this context, an incident of demon Jesus will always be remembered.


5. Hitler lent dignity and prestige to the German government

In early 2000, one history textbook described Adolf Hitler as, "Hitler lent dignity and prestige to the German government within a short time by establishing a strong administrative setup. He created the vast state of Greater Germany."

[caption id="attachment_1259630" align="alignnone" width="875"]File photo of Adolf Hitler File photo of Adolf Hitler[/caption]

"He adopted the policy of opposition towards the Jewish people and advocated the supremacy of the German race. He adopted a new economic policy and brought prosperity to Germany. He began efforts for the eradication of unemployment."

"He started constructing public buildings, providing irrigation facilities, building railways, roads and production of war materials. He made untiring efforts to make Germany self-reliant within one decade.

"Hitler discarded the Treaty of Versailles by calling it just 'a piece of paper' and stopped paying the war penalty. He instilled the spirit of adventure in the common people, but in doing so it led to extreme nationalism and caused the Second World War."


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