Bhubaneswar: Union minister Pratap Chandra Sarangi has said that the history of India taught in schools and colleges has been written in “an erroneous way by the invaders” and bears untruths that need to be rectified as soon as possible.
“The history of India has been written in an erroneous way by the invaders with the aim of destroying the Indian people’s sense of patriotism and their pride in their nation. The sooner this history is removed the better,” Sarangi, the Union minister of state for fisheries, animal husbandry and MSME, said.
Sarangi, a first-time MP from Odisha’s Balasore constituency, said, “Efforts have been made in this history of India to create a distinction between Hindus and Sikhs, and between the languages of northern and southern India. These are wrong facts, erroneous imaginations. All Indian languages are based on Sanskrit. There are similarities between the languages of northern and southern India."
“I believe the history of the whole of India has been written in an erroneous manner. This history says the Aryans and the Dravidians came from outside and that they are two different races. This is not true. The British had written a new history of India to make their imperialism perpetual. This history also says Hindus and Sikhs are two different communities, which is incorrect,” said the 64-year-old BJP leader after attending an event in Bhubaneswar marking the 126th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s address at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago.
Sarangi’s demand for rewriting India’s history sparked a controversy in Odisha. While Professor Narayan Rao, national vice-president of Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojana (the history wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), supported the demand, politicians from the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Opposition Congress and a few academics expressed their disapproval.
“The British rulers deliberately presented Indian history in a distorted and erroneous manner after learning that our civilisation is far more ancient than they thought. The aim of such distortion was to break the unity of the Indian subcontinent, and they employed the theory of Aryan invasion and the clash of the Aryans with the Dravidian people,” said Rao, 77, who retired from the history department at Berhampur University.
Rao, who is of the opinion that Hindu epics and ancient texts like the Vedas and the Puranas contain historically accurate information that can be verified, added, “India is the land of the Aryans and it continues the Aryan culture. The Aryans did not invade India, and their clash with the Dravidians is an imagined story.”
Senior Congress leader Suresh Routray disagreed with the demand for rewriting the country's history. “He (Sarangi) is aiming at making political capital by such statements and demands,” said Routray.
“People speak on history from their differing viewpoints, but history is history. A lot of material about our past is yet to be included in history. Odisha’s glorious history and our maritime accomplishments should be in the focus of experts,” said senior BJD leader and former minister Debi Prasad Mishra.
Pritish Chandra Acharya, a professor of history at the Regional Institute of Education (RIE) in Bhubaneswar who has authored several history books, said, “The rewriting of history is an ongoing process. It is impractical to seek a homogenous history and one book for the whole country that is approved both at the government and non-government levels”.
(With inputs from Mahesh Prasad Nanda)