The Indian History Congress from its very foundation nearly nine decades ago has remained committed to pursuing the cause of providing an accurate and comprehensive portrayal of the history of this country. It has, therefore, been greatly alarmed by the changes in the History syllabi and textbooks that have recently been effected by central official agencies, leading to a plainly prejudiced and irrational perception of our past.
The University Grants Commission in the draft syllabus it has framed for the Bachelor’s course for History, claims for India the “honour” of being the Aryan homeland, deems the Epics as possible historical chronicles and excludesd all reference to caste system in its ancient India portion. In fact, it expressly treats the caste system as an institution arising after the coming of Islam. The Mughal emperor Akbar along with his policy of religious tolerance between various religions is totally excluded from the syllabus. The students in the Bachelor’s course would not thus learn of any cultural or intellectual developments of the Mughal era (neither Kabir, nor Tulsidas nor Abul Fazl)!
Now the same process of misrepresentation has been introduced in the prescribed History textbooks by omitting whole sections, along with individual passages and sentences (or parts thereof) in the prescribed textbooks. These include wholesale omission of the narrative of the Mughal dynasty which gave India political unity for such a long period, and sundry other deletions of statements that are held to be inconsistent with the narrow communalist formulations favoured by the present regime. Even the narrative of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination has been trifled with.
The Indian History Congress recalls its own effort twenty years ago when it published a volume assessing critically the History textbooks then published by NCERT, pointing out their various errors and misjudgments. They were subsequently withdrawn.
It is now necessary for all historians, loyal to the rational and scientific nature and purpose of their profession, to stand up and make it clear that such distortions of History as the NCERT has now sought to spread through its deletions and revisions are simply unacceptable.
sd/- (Professor Kesavan Veluthat).
Indian History Congress
(Professor Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi) Secretary
Indian History Congress