A book highlighting Akbar’s ‘failure’ in capturing or killing Maharana Pratap is likely to be included in the recommended reading list of Rajasthan University’s MA history course

By Salik Ahmad

HT FILE PHOTOPeople pay tributes to 15th century Rajput king of Mear, Maharana Pratap on his birth anniversary, in Bhopal.

HT FILE PHOTOPeople pay tributes to 15th century Rajput king of Mear, Maharana Pratap on his birth anniversary, in Bhopal. (HT FILE PHOTO)

After the revision in class 10 schoolbooks, the University of Rajasthan’s (RU) history department is set to include a book that projects Rajput king Maharana Pratap as a victor in the 1576 Battle of Haldigati against Mughal emperor Akbar’s forces.

Historical evidence shows that Pratap had fled the battlefield with more casualties on his side and later continued his guerrilla warfare against the Mughals. The dominant view about the battle so far has been in favour of the Mughal army.

But those who dispute the dominant view, including the revised history schoolbook, say that the Mughal army’s failure in capturing or killing Maharana Pratap, its decision to not pursue Pratap’s army after he fled, and Akbar’s displeasure with his generals Man Singh and Asaf Khan prove that Pratap prevailed in the war.

School education minister Vasudev Devnani had in March this year questioned Akbar’s victory asking why he attacked Mewar six times if he won the battle, and pronounced the Rajput king the victor.

The history department of RU, in a meeting of its board of studies last month, decided to include Dr Chandra Shekhar Sharma’s Rashtra-Ratna Maharana Pratap in the list of recommended readings in the paper ‘Rajasthan Through the Ages’ in the second semester of MA History.

Sharma’s book, according to the minutes of the meeting, has a fresh interpretation of Maharana Pratap, and projects him as a great freedom fighter, besides projecting him as a victor in the battle of Haldighati.

The board also decided to include a topic ‘Debate on the outcome of the Battle of Haldighati’ in the topics to be covered under the paper.

The university’s academic council subsequently approved the board’s decisions, which means students shall be studying the revised syllabus from this year onwards.

The idea to teach Akbar’s ‘defeat’ in the university was first mooted by a BJP MLA Mohan Lal Gupta, also a member of the university’s syndicate, in a meeting of the syndicate in February this year.

The MLA had suggested that a book ‘Atit se Sakshatkar’ by Onkar Singh Lakhawat and another one by Prof KS Gupta on the Haldighati battle be included in the syllabus.

Lakhawat, however, wrote to the department that he has neither authored nor edited any book by that title. Prof Gupta too had not written any book on the topic but said he has written some research papers.

After deliberations, the board felt “there is a need to know the latest researches on Maharana Pratap and the battle of Haldighati”, and Dr Chandra Shekhar Sharma’s book was included in the syllabus.

Under the BJP government in the state, several schoolbooks have been rewritten to promote its parent RSS’s saffron ideology.

Hindutva ideologue Savarkar gained prominence while Nehru and Gandhi were relegated to periphery, and rival Congress was termed a ‘nurtured baby’ of the British, among other changes.

BJP leaders have said that students were being taught “distorted” versions of history earlier, and it was only bringing those leaders to the fore who were deliberately ignored by “Communist” historians.