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India won 1962 war with China, claims Class VIII Sanskrit textbook in Madhya Pradesh

A Sanskrit textbook being used in several CBSE-affiliated schools in Madhya Pradesh claims that India won the 1962 war with China, The Times of India has reported.

The textbook Sukritika, Volume-3 which is prescribed for Class VIII students has this sentence in the text: "What famously came to be known as Sino-India war of 1962 was won by India against China." The sentence is part of a chapter on Jawaharlal Nehru wherein the book claims that "with efforts of Nehru, India defeated China."

Indian students are being fed misinformation at an alarming rate as this is just the latest in the list of textbooks having wrong information. Rajasthan school textbooks have been altered to say that it was Maharana Pratap who won the Battle of Haldighati and not Akbar. Further, the suffix "the Great" too was removed from Akbar's name. Even Rajasthan University textbooks say the same after a book titled Rashtra Ratna Maharana Pratap by Chandra Shekhar Sharma was included in the list of recommended readings for students of MA in History course. The book also implies that Akbar was not a "national element".

Representational image. Image courtesy: IBNLive.

Apart from giving incorrect information, textbooks are also omitting important portions of history. Earlier in August, Mumbai Mirror had reported that the Maharashtra State Education Board has completely expunged portions about the Mughals and the Muslim rulers before them, including Razia Sultana and Muhammad bin Tuqhlaq from its Class VII textbook. Monuments built by these rules also do not find any mention in the textbooks. The textbooks instead now focus mainly on the Maratha empire built by Shivaji.

Rajasthan was also in the news in June for its textbooks when Hindustan Times reported that its textbooks gave Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar a lot of prominence even as portions on Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi were reduced significantly. Education experts called these history “revisions” as Hinduisation of the country’s freedom struggle.

Mahatma Gandhi also lost out in Tripura as in 2016, the state government eliminated parts of Indian history from Class IX history textbooks. Instead more emphasis was given to French and Russian revolutions, Nazism, and the history of cricket and agriculture. The omission was called 'flawed' by teachers but was defended by the Tripura Board of Secondary Education which said that the textbook followed NCERT guidelines.

While it is certainly worrying that history from earlier centuries is being tampered with in Indian textbooks, Madhya Pradesh has certainly raised the bar by getting facts wrong from about events as recent as 1962. The Indo-China war has always been depicted as ending with a Chinese victory and even Union ministers have implicitly acknowledged the defeat by saying that lessons have been learnt from the war. These lessons will be for naught however if the upcoming generations grow up learning incorrect history.

Updated Date: Aug 10, 2017 11:28 AM

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