Three senior Rajasthan ministers have backed a proposal to make changes in history textbooks to show that Rajput king Maharana Pratap won the Battle of Haldighati in 1576 against Akbar’s army, reported The Indian Express. The idea was mooted by Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Mohan Lal Gupta. Acting Vice Chancellor of Rajasthan University, Rajeshwar Singh, confirmed the proposal that has been sent to the Board of Studies for consideration.
Former Higher Education Minister Kalicharan Saraf (now health minister), School Education Minister Vasudev Devnani and Urban Development and Housing Minister Rajpal Singh Shekhawat want the books to be rewritten to show Maharana Pratap as the actual winner. “Yes, it has been established. A distorted version of history has been taught to generations of students. But the fact is that Akbar was a foreign invader and Maharana Pratap was a brave, patriotic ruler. And if there is a proposal to correct this mistake and tell students that Maharana Pratap actually won the battle, then what is wrong with it?” Saraf told the newspaper.
Devnani oversaw an earlier change in the text books in the state when “great” was dropped as suffix to Akbar. “Our books have now been published. But it is true. Maharana Pratap did win the battle of Haldighati against Akbar,” he said.
The English daily quoted historian Satish Chandra’s book Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals- Mughal Empire (1526-1748), which says the battle was inconclusive. Chandra told the paper, that battle “can scarcely be considered a struggle between Hindus and Muslims”, though it is often made out to be so.
Historians suggest that Maharana Pratap had on his side a force of Bhil archers, as well as the assistance of Hakim Shah of the Sur clan, which had ruled North India before Akbar’s rise to power. Man Singh, a Rajput who had accepted Akbar’s suzerainty and adopted the Turko-Mongol battle plan led the Mughal troops.
Historians have critiqued the the proposal as being historically inaccurate and detrimental to the idea of education. However, this is not the first time the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government has sought to bolster the importance of Marahana Pratap. In May 2015, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had asked, “If Akbar can be called ‘Akbar the Great’ for his contribution then why can’t Maharana Pratap be recognised as ‘Maharana Pratap the Great’”.
On January 27, a Rajput group assaulted filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali over his under-production film Padmavati, which they alleged had distorted historical facts and insulted Rajput sentiments. The Rajput Karni Sena have also demanded the formation of a committee to appraise the film before it is released. A section of the Sena, however, want Padmavati banned entirely.