'History books should give proper space to freedom fighters'

'History books should give proper space to freedom fighters'

Leading historians are in favour of making history textbooks more "balanced" and giving "proper space" to freedom fighters like Subhash Chandra Bose and Lala Lajpat Rai saying the current books have an "overwhelming representation" of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.

The historians who attended a NCERT-organised five-day workshop to review history textbooks felt current books are not meant for students pursuing further studies and research programme in history.

They were also of the view that the books were "sub- standard" and there is an "overwhelming representation" of Gandhi and Nehru.

The workshop organised from June 8 to 12 to review the history books from VIII to XII was attended by scholars from across the country including members of Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR).

The meeting came at a time when the government is being accused of saffronisation of education and is on a path to revamp syllabus having more "Indianness" in it.

While NCERT refused to divulge any details about the meet, some historians who participated said the meet was called to "correct" errors and "rectifications" but there were deliberations on the need to present history in a "proper perspective".

"The books have to be more substantive and more balanced. You just can't only have Gandhiji. There are figures such as Lal Lajpat Rai, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Subhash Chandra Bose who are equally important," said ICHR member Saradindu Mukherji.

"There are obvious problems with textbooks. These books should be replaced," he added.

Another member present said, "Mere rectification would not solve any problem. The books are sub-standard. These are not meant for students pursuing higher studies and research programme in history."

Mukherjee also argued that Jinnah is highlighted as much as Gandhi while there is no mention of revolutionaries while another historian, pleading anonymity, said there is an "overwhelming narration on Gandhi and Nehru in the present History syllabus".

The views of the members at the meet would be put before the HRD Ministry along with several other recommendations.

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