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What The Right Wing Hindutva Did To History Textbooks The Last Time It Was In Power

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By Prem Ayyathurai:

The basic characteristic of any attempted revolution is the idea sense of urgency it implies – among other things, an urgent re-education of the masses to enable them to participate in the democracy which you want to impose upon them. Understanding this pressing need, the RSS established the Vidya Bharati Akhil Bharatiya Shiksha Sansthan (VBABSS) in 1978. This organization is tasked with coordinating its national project of using the education system in laying deep roots for its rich ideology in the Indian psyche.

For years, the RSS pottered around intelligently in the background with this project, understanding that most Indians, soaked in the afterglow of Nehruvian secularism, would protest this project if they went about this business overtly, until it overplayed its hand, of course, when the BJP assumed power at the centre in 1998.

 A crowded class room
A crowded class room

Displaying its keen appreciation of the power of propaganda, it immediately busied itself in appointing hardcore ideologues Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti in the HRD and Information and Broadcasting Ministries. In October 1998, the BJP government called a conference of State Education Ministers and Secretaries with the stated agenda of Indianising, Nationalising and Spiritualising education in the nation. Understandably, this Conference came close on the heels of the VBABSS resolution that called for, in typical Hindutva terminology, an increase in the essentials of Indian culture in the curriculum from 10 to 25 percent.

Before reading through some of the choicest extracts from VBABSS textbooks, let us understand the scale at which the organization operates in India today — it declares in its 2012-13 report that the VBABSS operates a total of 13,514 educational institutions of various levels from pre-primary to colleges; these schools, hold captive 31,37,930 children in India today.
That figure is worth keeping in mind when we navigate the following spiritualization of education:

What are the ‘essentials of Indian culture’?
Select declarations from Sanskrit Gyan textbooks, Vidya Bharati Schools, RSS inform us that:
1. Homer adapted Valmiki’s Ramayana into an epic called Iliad.
2. Greek philosophers like Herodotus and Aristophanes were influenced by the Vedas.
3. The Egyptian faith was based on Indian traditions according to Plato and Pythagoras.
4. The language of the Native American Indians evolved from ancient Indian languages.
5. Jesus Christ roamed the Himalayas and drew his ideas from Hinduism.

In continuing to raise critical questions about the historic Ram Janmabhoomi saga, we are left wondering:

Q. Why is Babri Masjid not a mosque?
A. Because Muslims have never till today offered Namaz there.
Q. How many devotees of Rama laid down their life to liberate Rama temple from A.D. 1528 to A.D. 1914?
A. 3,50,000.
Q. How many times did the foreigners invade Shri Ram janmabhoomi?
A. 77 times.
Q. Why will 2 November 1990 be inscribed in black letters in the history of India?
A. Because on that day, the then Chief Minister, by ordering the Police to shoot unarmed Kar Sewaks, massacred hundreds of them.
Q. What was the number of the struggle for the liberation of Ram Janmabhumi which was launched on 30 October 1990?
A. 78th struggle.

One can only imagine what the impact of such continuing education has on the minds of children across the nation. A 1998 NCERT report hesitatingly condemns the VBABSS textbooks, saying that much of the material in the so—called Sanskrit Jnan series is “designed to promote bigotry and religious fanaticism in the name of inculcating knowledge of culture in the young generation

In a forthright declaration of their focus, the RSS website says of the VBABSS – “The child is the centre of all our aspirations.

You must be to comment.
  1. Deepika

    I like the article. Just a suggestion: it would seem more authentic if you mention your sources.

    1. Prem

      Hi Deepika. Your concern is legitimate, for many reasons. This note is a watered down version of a more elaborate one I made at this place []. You may find the sources there. Thanks!

  2. sara

    I personally remember some glaring omissions from my schoolbooks during NDA rule. I do not know whether these were done by design, or simply that the syllabus was half baked:
    1. Ambedkar was much more than just the chairman of drafting committee, his analysis of caste and his conversion to Buddhism
    2. The naxalite movement was not even touched upon
    3. The fact that Bhagat Singh leaned towards socialism, and that the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) was renamed Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA).
    Had I chosen to study commerce/science at college level instead of social sciences, I would have never known all this, and much much more…

  3. Bipin

    In 2002, the Indian coalition government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) changed the school textbooks for social sciences and history. Romila Thapar, who was the author of the textbook on Ancient India for class VI, objected to the changes made without her permission that, for example, deleted passages on eating of beef in ancient times, and the formulation of the caste system. She questioned whether the changes were an, “attempt to replace mainstream history with a Hindutva version of history”, with the view to use the resultant controversy as “election propaganda.”Other historians and commentators, including Bipan Chandra, Sumit Sarkar, Irfan Habib, R.S. Sharma, Vir Sanghvi, Dileep Padgaonkar and Amartya Sen also protested the changes and published their objections in a compilation titled, Communalisation of Education.

  4. Gaurav

    I am afraid the sources quoted are not bipartisan and therefore cannot be used to conclusively prove that there is a concerted effort to teach something wrong to the future generations. without naming anyone I would like to say that the truth should be told to the children because if you lie to them they will find out and the liars will be exposed.
    some dubious sources like teesta setalvaad have many cases against her in court.
    frontline is a magazine with left leanings and cannot be expected to be neutral
    the vidyabharati site merely gives statistics and the sangh site does not give any information that would validate the above observations. I suggest that you go back to you sources.

  5. Gaurav

    it is pertinent to note that most objections seem to be regarding the islamic conquests , however if that is the case readers are advised to read the memoirs of islamic rulers like aurangzeb and babur to get clarity.
    correction to my last post : sangh site mentioned actually gives an internal server error. sabrang is again a left wing ngo and cannot be expected to be neutral

    1. Naushi

      I agree with points presented by Gaurav here. The Islamic era was a past and it is better to leave it the way it is without any distortions. It serves its purpose as a memoirs of that era and that century and how our dear Motherland India embraced everything coming her way.

  6. Gaurav

    it is important to drive home the point that one needs to dig deep to understand india and no matter how hard people try to mislead the nation. truth will prevail. there are enough sources to cross check and verify the authenticity of any claim made by anyone.

  7. Prashant Kaushik

    Oh My God !!! If so much damage could be done by Right wing in 6 years of it’s power just imagine how much distortions the Left Wing would have brought in our history books during the remaining 60 years of it’s power.

    If COngress has had a First Right over running the country since independence, LEFT and Marxist have had the first right over righting Indian History books.

    For those who want to delve further in this debate –

  8. Advait Ghosh

    you people are a bunch pseudos whats wrong in promoting hindu culture,it is after all the santan r all
    a bunch of losers

    1. Aayushi

      Promoting Hindu religion or any religion is not wrong. What’s wrong is promoting your own religion in such a way that it creates hate for other religions, and this is what the VBABSS has been doing.

    2. Aayushi

      And as far as promotion of any religion is concerned, it is widely done in other aspects of our life, so education does not need to be corrupted by religionism. Right education about religions for school children would be one where all the religions are described from an objective point of view, i.e, not corrupting the text by our own ideas and hate for some other religion. Then, that would be considered as right form of teaching, where students are actually taught about religions and not taught about religious hate.

    3. sara

      There is something very wrong in teaching lies to students. It is called being dishonest. And that i guess is something even your sanatan dharma doesn’t condone.

    4. juicepreet

      Losers are the chaddi-flaunting idiots who spread lies just to make up for the fact that they are insecure, pathetic little dehaats who need to make up bullshit in order to feel better about themselves. The RSS represents all the worst aspects of being Indian. Anybody with 2 s***s worth of brains should be ashmed to associate with these slowpeds.
      This is mis-education pure and simple. They just want to drag everyone down to their level, so they don’t look like fools. It isn’t really working.

    5. Anonymoose

      Dehaati, backward and primitive gutter-trash like YOU is what is wrong with this country. Fuck you and fuck your ‘cultural’ garbage. Just because we as a country don’t have much to proud of in the real world, does not mean we should celebrate superstitious bronze-age garbage like this. Stop trying to drag civilized people down to your dumbfuck level.

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