Issue Brief on “Rewriting History: India in Pursuance of Hindu Rashtra”

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History remains open to interpretation to different political and social groups that perceive it discordantly and manipulate it for their particular objectives. However, besides these gray areas that can easily be manipulated, there remains objectivity in a certain reality which if disturbed, distorts the whole perception, reducing it to mere propaganda. Since 1990s, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) had been trying to manipulate history for its political objectives; but this time, the regime has gone too far. Rejecting Nehruvian legacy and willfully straying from the ‘foundational principles’ of secularism and democracy, the current RSS-BJP dispensation aims to ‘rewrite history’ deeming it one of the most significant steps towards turning India into a Hindu Rashtra. Relentlessly pursuing this ideological commitment, the BJP is dividing Indian society into ‘us’(Hindus) and ‘them’ (minorities, especially Muslims).

The National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) remains the prominent institution responsible for setting curricular standards across India and building the nation’s ideology. Any incumbent government appoints a Director who it regards as loyal to their agendas.[1] However, the states are autonomous in their educational policies; it is not necessary for them to follow edicts from the Centre. So, even if the Congress or BJP, ruling from the Centre issues a command to modify textbooks, it depends upon the state whether they accept it or not. The Congress and BJP government at different times, either in the Centre or in a state, have sought to manipulate education and historical facts.[2] Compared to the Congress, however, the BJP has pursued such policies much more aggressively, completely disregarding the imperative need for objectivity in history writing.

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