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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.

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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.

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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.

 

India

Loya issue ‘serious’, will examine all matters, says SC

Matter is serious. Let us look at full records. Let it never be on our conscience that we did not look at what we should have.

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cbi judge death mystery

New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday said the controversy surrounding the death of Special CBI court judge B.H. Loya is “serious” and it will look into the circumstances leading to his death in November 2014.

Judge Loya was holding the trial into the staged shootout deaths of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and two others.

“Matter is serious. Let us look at full records. Let it never be on our conscience that we did not look at what we should have,” the bench said as it directed all the parties to file whatever material they have relating to Loya’s death and the circumstances leading to it and set the next hearing for February 2.

Senior counsel Dushyant Dave, appearing for the Bombay Lawyers Association, and Indira Jaising, appearing for an intervener, said that the records being produced by the Maharashtra government were not complete as they pointed to some documents they had accessed through RTI.

“There is no question of restricting the records. Prepare a compilation of the record,” Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said allowing both the sides to file whatever documents they had in their possession.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M.Khanwilkar and Justice Chandrachud also transferred to itself two petitions pending before the Bombay High Court and its Nagpur bench relating to the matter.

At the outset of the hearing, Dave objected to senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for Maharashtra, saying that it was “not fair” for him to appear for the state government after appearing for BJP President Amit Shah, and that he has “done enough damage to the institution” and “there is a conflict of interest”.

He sought the appointment of amicus curiae to assist the court, but the court was not moved.

“We are on the circumstances leading to the death of Judge Loya. Let us not comment who is appearing for whom,” said Justice Chandrachud.

In a face-off between Dave and Salve, Dave said: “Entire institution is trying to protect one man – Amit Shah and Amit Shah alone” whom he described as “politician of great excellence”.

At this, Salve objected, saying: “What is this Amit Shah, Amit Shah. You are blaming somebody in the court behind his back. You can’t caste aspersion on somebody. You can’t jump three steps and pass comments just because he happens to be a prominent politician.”

As in the course of the arguments, Dave raised the pitch, the court intervened, saying that all the counsel appearing in the matter should assist it to “examine the documents objectively” and assuring that it would order the probe if needed.

As Dave, at one point, said that “as of today, it is a natural death”, Justice Chandrachud said: “If as on today, it is a natural death, you can’t cast aspersions. Let us look at the material objectively, so that we are not blamed that we did not look at the material dispassionately.”

In another face off between the rival lawyers, Jaising objected to Salve saying that the confidentiality of whatever material they will share with the counsel for petitioners and interveners be maintained and not shared with media, noting that it is like seeking a gag order against media.

As Justice Chandrachud said that “He is not saying gag the press. He is just saying …”, Jaising countered: “It means the same.”

As she said that court should not pass any order on Salver’s plea, the CJI asked if the court had said anything.

“Did we utter a word? Did we say gag? You can’t say order of the court. We are just discussing the matter,” he told Jaising asking her to withdraw her statement and apologise. She complied.

However, Dave said that if two judges in the Loya matter can address a press conference, why can’t the nation discuss it. He said that if the matters of Shashi Tharoor and P. Chidambram can be discussed in the media, then why not the Loya matter.

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Analysis

India’s growing rich-poor divide: Richest 1% gross 73% wealth in 2017

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India’s richest, just 1 per cent of its 1.3 billion people, grossed 73 per cent of the wealth generated in 2017 while the wealth of the poorest half of Indians — some 67 crore — rose by only one per cent, according to a report by Oxfam.

The report, launched on Monday ahead of the gathering of some of the world’s richest at the World Economic Forum here, said the wealth of India’s elite went up last year by Rs 20,913 billion — an amount equivalent to the government’s total budget in 2017-18.

The Davos event is being attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Oxfam India has urged him to ensure that the “economy works for everyone and not just the fortunate few” in line with the government’s ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ slogan.

“It is alarming that the benefits of economic growth in India continue to concentrate in fewer hands. The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system,” said Nisha Agrawal, CEO of Oxfam India.

“Those working hard, growing food for the country, building infrastructure, working in factories are struggling to fund their child’s education, buy medicines for family members and manage two meals a day. The growing divide undermines democracy and promotes corruption and cronyism.”

The report, ‘Reward Work, Not Wealth’, has also found that India’s top 10 per cent of population have 73 per cent of the total wealth in the country.

“Indian billionaires’ wealth increased by Rs 4,891 billion – from Rs 15,778 billion to over Rs 20,676 billion,” it said, adding the amount of Rs 4,891 billion was sufficient to finance 85 per cent of the budget on health and education in all Indian states.

It said India added 17 new billionaires last year, raising the number to 101. But 37 per cent of the these billionaires inherited the wealth from their families.

It said 51 billionaires out of the total 101 were aged 65 or above.

“If we assume that in the next 20 years, at least Rs 10,544 billion will be passed on to the inheritors and on that if 30 per cent inheritance tax is imposed, the government can earn at least Rs 3,176 billion.”

This will be sufficient to finance six crucial services — medical and public health, family welfare, water and sanitation, housing, urban development and labour and labour welfare in the country.

The report said at least one in every two workers in the garment sector in India were paid below the minimum wage. By those standards, the report said, “it will take 941 years for a minimum wage worker in rural India to earn what the top paid executive at a leading Indian garment firm earns in a year”.

Oxfam called upon the government to promote “inclusive growth by ensuring that the income of the bottom 40 per cent of the population grows faster than of the top 10 per cent” to close the income gap.

“This can be done by encouraging labour-intensive sectors that will create more jobs; investing in agriculture; and effectively implementing the social protection schemes that exist.”

It said the government must also seal the leaking wealth bucket by taking stringent measures against tax evasion and avoidance.

The income gap can also be reduced by “taxing the super-rich by re-introducing inheritance tax, increasing wealth tax, reducing and eventually do away with corporate tax breaks and creating a more equal opportunity country by increasing public expenditure on health and education”, it said.

The charity said the government must also bring data transparency, produce and make available high quality data on income and wealth and regularly monitor the measures it takes to tackle the issue of rising inequality.

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Business

Gross NPA may rise to Rs 9.5 lakh crore by March: Study

“Fiscal 2018 marks beginning of third phase of ARCs which promises to change the landscape as new regulations and other changes kick-in.”

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NPA

Gross non-performing assets (NPA) in Indian banks are expected to rise to Rs 9.5 lakh crore by March, from Rs 8 lakh crore in March last year, said a ASSOCHAM-Crisil joint study.

Stressed assets in March 2018 are expected to be at Rs 11.5 lakh crore, the report titled “ARCs headed for a structural shift,” said.

“High level of stressed assets in the banking system provides enormous opportunity size for asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) which are an important stakeholder in the NPA resolution process,” ASSOCHAM said in a statement quoting the study.

It, however, said that owing to capital constraints, growth of ARCs is expected to come down significantly.

“While growth is expected to fall to around 12 per cent until June 2019, however the AUM (assets under management) are expected to reach Rs 1 lakh crore, and that is fairly sizeable.”

The study added that with banks expected to make higher provisioning over and above the provisions made for stressed assets, they may sell the assets at lower discounts, thus increasing the capital requirement.

The study also said that effective implementation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code would be a remedy to the challenge of prolonged litigation and it can help improve the recovery rate of stressed assets’ industry further.

Power, metal and construction sectors contribute the bulk of stressed assets. According to an analysis of 50 stressed assets (forming nearly 40 per cent of stressed assets in the system), sectors like metal, construction and power form nearly 30 per cent, 25 per cent and 15 per cent respectively, while other sectors together form the remaining 30 per cent.

The report stated that 2018 would see a structural shift in the stressed assets’ space as increased stringency in banks’ provisioning norms for investments in security receipts (SRs) is likely to result in more cash purchases.

“Fiscal 2018 marks beginning of third phase of ARCs which promises to change the landscape as new regulations and other changes kick-in.”

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