Indians had long been saying that their school history textbooks had been hijacked by leftist interests to promote their fake narratives, but there’s finally some official documentation to prove it.
An RTI query has revealed that the NCERT had no source for making the claim that Mughals had repaired temples in its Class 12 history book. NCERT’s Class 12 History book Themes of Indian History had said that “even when temples were destroyed during war, grants were later issued for repairs — as we know from the reigns of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb.”
A citizen filed an RTI in this regard, asking for the source for the claim. The RTI also asked for the number of such temples which were repaired by Aurangzeb and Shah Jahan.
NCERT, though, was unable to back up the claims made in the book. “The information is not available on the files of the Department,” NCERT reposnded to both queries.
It’s staggering to imagine how the NCERT can make a claim as bold as Mughals giving grants to repair temples, and then give it to millions of impressionable young Indians to study and memorize, but this is par for the course for how history textbooks have been written in India. The claim that Mughals repaired temples is a part of a section on Mughals called “The ideal kingdom”, under the subsection “A unifying force”. The sections in the textbook attempts to paint the Mughals as some sort of a secular and tolerant civilization. “Mughal chronicles present the empire as comprising many different ethnic and religious communities – Hindus, Jainas, Zoroastrians and Muslims. As the source of all peace and stability the emperor stood above all religious and ethnic groups, mediated among them, and ensured that justice and peace prevailed,” the NCERT textbook says.
However, a paper from Harvard titled “Economic Shocks and Temple Desecrations in Medieval India” — which, unlike NCERT, lists out sources — says that temples were regularly destroyed by the Mughals. “80 events of temple desecration are established with historical certainty (Eaton, 2000),” says the paper. “These desecrations are almost uniformally distributed across the three distinct phases of Muslim rule in medieval India. The desecrations were carried out at the behest of a Muslim ruler or high ranking official of a Muslim State. Some Muslim rulers stood out in systematically destroying temples, which was probably linked to their religious zeal,” it says. The paper also says that until Akbar’s rule, the construction of temples was banned altogether. “This meant that construction of new temples was generally forbidden in this period,” it says.
But the NCERT book makes almost no mention of this, but includes a dubious claim that temples were in fact repaired by Mughals. To make matters worse, NCERT is unable to substantiate the claim with a source when prodded with an RTI query. This systemic whitewashing of history might’ve made sense under the UPA , but textbooks including such propaganda even after 6 years in power would certainly count of one of the biggest failures of the Modi government.