June 26, 2004
Rewriting Indian history

Interesting stuff in the Guardian about history textbook battles in India. A change of government there means a change of syllabus:

India's new government is poised to rewrite the history taught to the nation's schoolchildren after a panel of eminent historians recommended scrapping textbooks written by scholars hand-picked by the previous Hindu nationalist administration.

Hundreds of thousands of textbooks are likely to be scrapped by the National Council of Educational Research and Training, the central government body that sets the national curriculum for students up to 18.

The move, one of the first made by the new Congress led government, will strongly signal a departure from the programme of its predecessor.

The "saffronisation" of history, say critics of the last government, depicted India's Muslim rulers as barbarous invaders and the medieval period as a dark age of Islamic colonial rule which snuffed out the glories of the Hindu empire that preceded it.

Memorably, one textbook claimed that the Taj Mahal, the Qu'tb Minar and the Red Fort, three of India's outstanding examples of Islamic architecture, were designed and commissioned by Hindus.

Cue Gratuitous Picture of the Taj Mahal:

TajMahal.jpg

And a rather good one, I think.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 09:20 PM
Category: HistoryIndia