Rajasthan University includes book in MA History course that says Maharana Pratap won Haldighati
Rajasthan University's academic curriculum has come under the radar once again. This time it is because the varsity's history department has included a textbook that depicts Rajput king Maharana Pratap as the winner in the 1576 Battle of Haldigati against Mughal Emperor Akbar.
Historical evidence has shown that Maharana Pratap had fled the battlefield as his army had more casualties as compared to the Mughals. But he had continued with guerrilla warfare against the Mughals post the battle. It was Akbar who had won the battle.
The department of History in Rajasthan University is all set to include Dr Chandra Shekhar Sharma's book Rashtra-Ratna Maharana Pratap in the list of recommended readings for the paper Rajasthan Through the Ages in the MA History course.
Besides projecting Maharana Pratap as a victor in the Battle of Haldighati, Sharma's book also projects the king as a great freedom fighter.
The board of studies in the varsity also decided to include a topic 'Debate on the outcome of the Battle of Haldighati' to be covered under the paper.
The move did not sit well with Opposition leaders in the state. They criticised it saying that the BJP is continuously trying to impose its right wing ideology on young minds.
Rajasthan Congress spokesperson Archana Sharma told Catch, “The previous VC Rajeshwar Singh was of the opinion that the outcome of the Battle of Haldighati cannot be re-established by a single work of research. The state of Rajasthan has immense respect for Maharana Pratap and saying that he lost a battle does not make his legacy any less great. But BJP in the state is continuously trying to impose their right wing ideologies on the students and saffronising the education system. The education minister in the state has been putting forward such ideas and promoting and supporting people who bring about such changes. They think they are being nationalists by changing history in favour of local rulers.”
Faculty members, however, have defended the university's move.
Professor Neekee Chaturvedi, faculty member in RU's history department said that the university is not trying to 'tweak' history.
“The topic that has been included is – 'Debate on the outcome of the Battle of Haldighati'. I think it is fair to study the battle of Haldighati and debate the outcome based on different bodies of research. A reference book has been added that showcases diverse points of view,” she said.
“The students should be exposed to varied opinions and develop an analysis of their own. Throughout history, there are many interpretations of various events around the world. Historians must know about all the interpretations. I do not think there is anything wrong with that. Why these changes are being made now, I cannot say. The Academic Council will be better equipped to answer that,” she added.
Navin Mathur, a member of the university's Academic Council and Board of Studies, feels that interpreting all educational changes as a Hindutva move is unreasonable and irresponsible.
“After deliberations, the Board felt there is a need to know the latest research on Maharana Pratap and the Battle of Haldighati and that's why Dr Chandra Shekhar Sharma's book was included in the syllabus. Why are changes in syllabus seen as a Hindutva move? We are only trying to make a student's curriculum holistic. Learning about the different opinions of prominent scholars is not a bad thing. Especially when it is about a great leader like Maharana Pratap,” he told Catch.
In March, Rajasthan's education minister Vasudev Devnani ordered the same changes in their Class 10 and 12 History syllabus.
A few months ago, Rajasthan University created controversy by introducing Indian scriptures and philosophy as a part of its business management and commerce curriculum.
The university included excerpts from the Bhagavad Gita, The Ramayana, The Vedas, in addition to concepts by thinkers like Kautilya, Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi as part of its commerce and business administration courses.