This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by shinjinidb. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Akbar vs. Rana Pratap: Why The Absurd Communalization Of Our History?

More from shinjinidb

By Shinjini Devbarman:

History has the habit of repeating itself, they say, albeit in a less glorious fashion. It seems that a statement recently made by our Home Minister has brought two iconic rulers back to a metaphorical battlefield. Only last week, members of a right wing Hindutva organisation had attacked the legacy of Akbar, now seen as an exclusively Muslim leader, defacing road signs with Muslim names in New Delhi. What followed was a communalization of our history, a desperate attempt made by right wing organisations to divide and rule.

akbarvspratap

To add fuel to fire, Rajnath Singh recently tweeted demanding the epithet of ‘the great’ for the Mewar King Rana Pratap. He compares the Rajput king with his contemporary Akbar, which opened the debate on who is greater. Naturally, the issue found its way to communal politics as internet forums were filled with lengthy discussions on Akbar versus Rana Pratap.

The two iconic figures had faced each other in the legendary battle of Haldighati (1576) which led to the defeat of Chittor, but they never captured Rana Pratap as he had retreated from the battle field. Rana Pratap’s retreat to the forest made him a master of what would later come to be known as “guerrilla warfare”, which centuries later would inspire the Vietnamese during the US-Vietnam war. Rana Pratap had contrived to be an irritant to the ambitions of Akbar, who eventually had to give up. Therefore in the words of Kesri Singh, “for the imperial army, no victory was ever more like defeat; for Mewar, no retreat more glorious”.

The battle fought between these two historic figures was in no sense at all flamed by religious strife. The leader of Akbar’s army was in fact a Rajput, Man Singh, while the leader of Pratap’s army was a Pathan, Hakim Khan Suri. It would be irrational to assume a Hindu-Muslim narrative of conflict. Akbar has been considered a symbol of religious tolerance. His view of nationhood was more secular. Rana Pratap, on the other hand, has always been associated with Hindu resistance against outside forces. Even then, the battle between the two was never a religious war.

This is where we come back to the present. Rajnath Singh’s perceived lack of importance given to Rana Pratap Singh is not only uninformed but also absurd. His contention is that if Akbar can be called ‘the great’, then Rana Pratap should also have the privilege of the epithet ‘the great’. The statement made by the Home Minister assumes that there is some kind of conspiracy against the Hindu King, whereby refusing to associate him with ‘the great’ means we are privileging Akbar, a Muslim leader over a Hindu leader. This is exactly where the problem lies. The minister seems misinformed about the fact that Maharana is an epithet used specifically for the Sisodia clan of Mewar, as Maha stands for ‘the great’ and Rana stands for chief. The title given to the leaders of Mewar is a proclamation of their supremacy over all other kings.

Further to draw comparisons between two legendary leaders is to cause great injustice to their legacy. Both the leaders have different socio-cultural contexts. It would be bizarre to pit them against each other on their greatness. It is a communalist campaign meant to achieve political ends. In doing so, it creates a hierarchy. History does not operate like that. Their greatness is derived from their consistent efforts to protect their kingdom, their valiance, and their political ideals. Akbar’s greatness lies in the fact that he was a conqueror, not a plunderer, unlike his predecessors. He sought to unite the fractions to his grand vision of a secular nation. Rana Pratap is considered great because of his ecstatic display of heroism and his relentless struggle to maintain the independence of his country.

Unlike these historical figures, the political machinations of the present times seem to focus more on division rather than unity. If the logic of privileging one over the other is to be followed, we risk eliminating entire histories. To be uninformed of our past, is indeed dangerous.

You must be to comment.
  1. šaqib īrfan

    Your all word are 100% right . Nowadays peoples are thinking that by taking the name of their religion and their rulers they will be considered great . If instead of that they will show brotherhood then that will be right and better. Now the biggest problem is due to religious parties who tell them as national party but the fact is different like BJP . They dont know anything instead of spreading communalism between peoples because they know that majority of people are of which religion so they provoke them by telling about different facts . And due to that they win election . They are also same like britishers bcoz they also use divide and rule policy which effect harshly to our INDIA’S brotherhood and secularism . May god save us from the problems like communalism .

More from shinjinidb

Similar Posts

By Zain Shahab Usmani

By Azam Danish

By Ritwik Trivedi

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below