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Maharashtra board’s erasure of Mughals from history books will weaken legacy of Maratha empire

The revisions of the Maharashtra text books also leave out the Delhi sultanate and the Suri empire in India, without which most of modern Indian history would be unintelligible.



The Maharashtra government has revised the history textbooks that form a part of the state curriculum. Sadanand More, chairman of the History subject committee of the Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research, told Mumbai Mirror that the revisions were made to orient the curriculum with a Maharashtra-centric view of history.

The revisions are an erasure of the Mughals from some parts of the curriculum and a renewed focus on the history of the Maratha empire. But what is the most startling thing about these revisions is that they also eliminated a chapter called India and the World which earlier discussed developments in Europe and the Middle East during the medieval era. This means that there is no discussion of how Indian numerals made their way across the world, the rise of republicanism in France (the preamble to our Constitution reads Liberty, Equality, Justice and Fraternity, a hat tip to those events). The rise of Islam in Arabia is also an important element that has been left out. The many reasons that made India the way it was at that time often had overseas causes. Without this, it is fully impossible to create the basic framework for the India in that period.

Changing history will only weaken the significance of the Maratha empire. ReutersChanging history will only weaken the significance of the Maratha empire. Reuters

The renewed focus on the Maratha empire is most welcomed. The empire doesn’t often get the attention it should from our History Books. The Marathas were the key political force in India between the height of Mughal power and the onset of British administration. Around 1760, the Marathas were the largest empire in the sub-continent and they also were the supreme political power in India at that time. Their legacy still remains today in many parts of the country and remains in India as the modern Indian Navy owes its origins to the Maratha Navy, a naval power that could rival the European naval powers in the region.

But without adequate context, it is impossible to truly appreciate this empire.

The Maratha empire was one that was possible because of openness, tolerance and making the right political decisions at the right time.

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It is important to place the history in context in order to truly appreciate it. Without a discussion on the Bijapur Sultanate, Aurangazeb’s rise to power over other contenders to the throne and the invasion by Ahmed Shah Durani, one can never truly appreciate the history of this empire.

The Mughal and Maratha legacy are both equally valuable parts of modern Indian history and in particular equally a part of the modern history of Maharashtra. For example, the third battle of Panipat, where the Marathas were defeated by the Durani Empire of Afghanistan, the Marathas worked to restore Shah Alam II to the throne of the Mughal Empire (albeit Shah Alam II was only a puppet under the Marathas) and then led an army to punish the Afghans for their atrocities in 1772. They sacked fort of Pathargarh and forced the Rohilla Afghans to pay a huge war indemnity.

Image result for Mughal empire is a key part of Indian history,

This entire amazing bit of history would not make sense to anyone who doesn’t know why the Afghans were invading India, why the Mughal empire was in decline and what the British were up to. Let’s look at another instance, this concerning the British in India. There are numerous instances where Chhatrapati Shivaji tried to throw the British out of Bombay for refusing to sell him munitions to aid his war against the Mughals and there is also a case where Chhatrapati Shivaji tried to ask the British for help in Madras when he was on the way to fight his brother in the south. This provides valuable context for the Anglo-Martha wars that would follow and the eventual British control of the sub-continent.

The revisions of the Maharashtra text books also leave out the Delhi sultanate and the Suri empire in India, without which most of modern Indian history would be unintelligible.

Image result for maharashtra text book mughal era

It is important to learn about the sultanate as its organisational legacy still survives today. It’s also important to note the introduction of things like land revenue, the rupee and other legacies like the refurbishment of the Grand Trunk Road. How will students be expected to understand the reasons for peasant dissatisfaction that would lead to the war of Maratha independence unless they understand the way India was organised at the time?

While the spirit behind the reforms is something to appreciate, these reforms are very short-sighted. Students deserve to know their country’s history in full without there being significant omissions. All facts need to be presented to let the narrative be truly comprehended. It is necessary to discuss the two sides of Akbar’s legacy, one of which is a legacy that generated a lot of animosity amongst the Rajput states but another that he managed to consolidate India into a political power by cementing Mughal rule. After all, the Mughal empire is a key part of Indian history, just like the British empire or the Mauryan empire.

Image result for maharashtra text book mughal era

The introduction of post-independence history is one that needs to be celebrated but expanding the curriculum cannot come at the cost of eliminating fundamentals that are necessary to fully grasp it. Even the post-partition history of India is one that still has many problems that can go back to that time. There is the problem of caste, religious unrest and unfortunate political events. These structural problems can only be understood with a firm historical foundation. Even the map of India as we know it cannot be truly comprehended without it. What is the legacy of Hyderabad State (a significant portion of which was made a part of Maharashtra) without an understanding of who the Nizams were and why they declared independence on the Mughal empire collapsing? The dispute about Belgaum, for example, is another such case.

A nation’s history is what makes the nation that nation. It is very tempting to often recast history with a view to attaining a specific kind of national identity. This is, however, a dangerous road to go down. For the distorted view of events, cherry-picking can result in current events being greatly miscalculated. India has many sensitive problems to deal with as she rises to be a superpower. These problems need to be approached with caution, empathy and understanding. The purpose of teaching history at the school level is to give the students a lens through which they can understand their world. The revisions to the textbook grossly fail in achieving this purpose. They need to be urgently reconsidered.


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Media bodies seek action against J&K MLA for threatening press

The Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Club of India, Press Association and the Federation of Press Clubs of India said in a statement that Singh, a former J&K Minister, had warned journalists at a press conference in Jammu to “draw a line”.



Choudhary Lal Singh

New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) Media organisations on Sunday demanded strict action against Jammu and Kashmir BJP MLA Choudhary Lal Singh over his “threatening and intimidating” remarks directed at journalists in the Valley.

The Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Club of India, Press Association and the Federation of Press Clubs of India said in a statement that Singh, a former J&K Minister, had warned journalists at a press conference in Jammu to “draw a line”.

He openly threatened them with consequences and warned them of a fate similar to that of Shujaat Bukhari, the Editor of Rising Kashmir who was shot dead less than a fortnight ago, the statement said.

Bukhari’s assassination was condemned by people in general, besides a number of journalist organisations.

Condemning his remarks, the statement said that Singh also blamed Kashmir journalists for creating a “wrong atmosphere” and told them to control themselves.

Singh resigned from the state cabinet in April following his participation in a rally organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch in January in support of those accused of rape and murder of a young girl in Kathua.

“We demand that strict action be taken against the lawmaker for making threatening remarks hinting possible violence at journalists in the Valley,” the statement said.

It said that such remarks were nothing short of criminal intimidation and a direct attack on the freedom of the press.

“They also serve to vitiate atmosphere and endanger the lives of journalists who work and live precariously in conflict situations,” the statement read.

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NBCC clarifies over Felling of trees for south Delhi’s Housing Project



New Delhi, June 24: A day after the residents of south Delhi protested carried out a candle light march  in order to protest cutting of more than 16,000 trees under the south Delhi redevelopment project, National Buildings and Construction Construction (NBCC)  chairperson AK Mittal said that replanting and replacement of trees is being done.

“We’ve permission to cut 1400 trees in Nauroji Nagar&2200 in Netaji Nagar. Nothing finalised in Sarojini Nagar yet.That’s only 3600 trees, not 16,000. No. of trees in rest 4 colonies which will be developed by CPWD is also less.Replanting&replacement of trees is going on,”Mittal said.

In September last year, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had asked the National Buildings and Construction Construction (NBCC) Limited to complete compensatory plantation before they start felling trees for the redevelopment of Sarojini Nagar, Nauroji Nagar and Netaji Nagar areas.


The centre while responding to reports saying that nearly 17,000 trees are to be cut in Nauroji Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, Mohammadpur, Sriniwaspuri, Kasturba Nagar and Thyagaraj Nagar as part of the redevelopment project, said that “14,031 trees are to be cut out of the existing 21,040 trees”.


The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, in a statement, added that “the compensatory plantation of trees will be done in the ratio of 1:10, which will enhance the green area”.







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15 killed as tractor falls in Telangana canal




Hyderabad, June 24 : Fifteen agriculture workers were killed and 15 others injured when a tractor plunged into a canal in Telangana’s Yadadri district on Sunday, police said.

The incident occurred when the tractor carrying the workers fell in Musi canal near Veligonda. The dead include 14 women and a boy.

According to the police, the tractor driver lost control of the vehicle while trying to avoid a motorcycle coming from the opposite direction.

The injured were shifted to nearby hospitals. The death toll may rise as the condition of some of the injured is stated to be critical.

The agriculture workers were on their way to nearby fields for sowing when the incident took place. Police personnel and revenue workers with the help of locals retrieved the bodies from the canal.

State Energy Minister Jagdish Reddy visited the accident site. He told reporters that a probe would be conducted into the incident. He assured all help to the families of the deceased and to the injured.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has expressed shock over the incident. He conveyed his condolences to the families of the deceased and directed officials to provide best medical care to the injured.(IANS)

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