Jaipur: Revision of history textbooks with change of governments subscribing to different ideologies has left students in Rajasthan perplexed, with experts cautioning that politics and education should not be allowed to interfere in each other’s domain.
Recently, the Congress government constituted a textbook revision committee in the school education department after coming to power in Rajasthan.
Based on the committee’s findings, the department revised a short biography of RSS ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar introduced by previous BJP government.
The committee has removed the prefix ‘Veer’ from Savakar’s name in Class X social science textbooks and it now refers to him as Vinayak Damodar Savarkar who “plotted assassination” of Mahatma Gandhi, who was killed by Nathuram Godse January 30, 1948, less than a year after India gained independence from Britain.
The committee has included a point stating that before independence Savarkar, who was arrested in 1910 for alleged revolutionary activities, had “apologized” to the British Raj to reduce his 50-year prison term and secure clemency. He was freed in 1921 on the condition that he renounces revolutionary activities.
The text book will be introduced in the curriculum from next academic year, Rajasthan School Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasara said.
The revision of school textbooks has once again triggered a war of words between the Congress and BJP leaders who are justifying their own stand and are ready to debate on the historical facts.
Noted historian Professor R.S Khangarot said that politics and education should not interfere in each other’s domain as changing facts based on ideologies confuse students about the real position.
“History is always based on facts. Facts never change but interpretation or view of any event can change. Whether someone was great or not, it should not come in hands of politicians. Political parties are connecting the historical facts with their ideologies,” Prof. Khangarot said.
He said with changing interpretations following change of government, students are in a fix about the real position of great personalities.
The professor said that despite Adolf Hitler being hated by the entire world and even German themselves, they do not hide the facts. There is an entire section devoted to Hitler in Berlin museum. The German civil society has left the decision on the new generations to decide whether Hitler was right or wrong, he said.
Another historian speaking on condition of anonymity termed such changes as a political gimmick and useless exercise. He said that politicians are least concerned about history and tweak it based on their ideologies.
Meanwhile, a few students preparing for competitive examinations said revision of textbooks can be harmful for them while attempting questions on history.
“Akbar is taught as ‘great’ in some parts of the country whereas BJP government had changed it. Savarkar has always been known with prefix ‘Veer’. Now, Congress government has removed it. In five years, several students have passed examination learning one fact and now it has changed again. It is harmful for students preparing for a competitive examination,” Dharmendra Sharma, a student said.
He said this is leaving the students perplexed.