Careful, it’s history

Mr Naidu perhaps has not realised that much has changed since he was a student

One cannot quarrel with Union minister for urban development and parliamentary affairs M. Venkaiah Naidu’s view that students should know more about the people that fought for India’s freedom and those who contributed to the development of modern India. If, however, it is his contention that more needs to be written, that is another thing. But here, too, history texts for college students would ideally need to be written by critical historians.

The minister is right when he stresses the importance of teaching the history of the colonised alongside that of the coloniser. But the expression he used — “Indianisation of history” — is ambiguous. Mr Naidu perhaps has not realised that much has changed since he was a student. Today’s history books are not what they were during his time; they are about leaders like Chhatrapati Shivaji, Sambhaji, Rana Pratap, Jhansi ki Rani, Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee, Subhash Chandra Bose and Dr B.R. Ambedkar.

Mr Naidu should perhaps be more worried about how legislators and other political leaders in the last few decades have misused power and damaged the fabric of a country for which thousands of Indians gave their lives. In India, crores live below and on the periphery of the poverty line. If Mr Naidu is sincere about what he is preaching, he should lead a campaign to cut down on the lavish perks, allowances and special treatment that elected representatives in Parliament and state legislatures get and yet demand more. They should set an example. It would be a more fitting tribute to the brave and heroic men and women who fought for India’s freedom and development.

( Source : dc )
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