India Rewrites History Textbooks

India’s education authorities have revised the nation’s history and political textbooks to make them better fit the Hindu nationalist agenda, Deutsche Welle reported on June 6. According to the authorities, however, the changes were made to rationalize school syllabi and reduce course workloads.

Students from grades 6 to 12 in both public and private schools will no longer be taught:

  • Mahatma Gandhi’s disapproval of Hindu nationalism
  • his assassination by Hindu nationalist Nathuram Godse
  • the 2002 Gujarat riots where over 1,000 people—mostly Muslims—were killed
  • the time period when India was ruled by the Muslim Mughal dynasty
  • some elements of India’s social hierarchy caste system.

Some historians and other critics believe this is an attempt by India’s ruling party to erase Muslims from India’s history and to make Hindus more nationalistic.

This present regime and its ancestors have made [history] an ideological weapon or tool in their political project and intellectual and cultural project of turning this country into a Hindu-dominant country and [the changes to the textbooks are] part of that agenda.
—Sucheta Mahajan, professor at the Center for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Revisionism: There is a trend of revisionism in the world today where authorities, oftentimes sanctioned by the government, are rewriting history and teaching children a different interpretation of the past. History should be a factual record of past events, but elites in society are altering the record in order to shape young minds and thereby further their own interests.

Learn more: To understand how this trend affects not only India but the whole world, read “Rewriting History.”