The Congress on Wednesday accused the government of distorting history and “whitewashing with a vengeance” after certain content from NCERT textbooks was dropped, including on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and the subsequent ban on the RSS for some time.
The Opposition party slammed the BJP-RSS, saying that those who try to re-write history are consigned to the “dustbin of history”.
“Gandhiji’s death had a magical effect on communal situation in the country”, “Gandhi’s pursuit of Hindu-Muslim unity provoked Hindu extremists” and “Organisations like RSS were banned for some time” are among the texts missing from the class 12 political science textbook for the new academic session.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge slammed the BJP and RSS over the issue, saying no matter how much they try, they cannot erase history.
“You can (make) changes in Textbooks but you cannot change the history of the country. This is an attempt by the BJP-RSS, they can try as much as they want, but they cannot erase history,” he said.
Tagging a media report on the issue, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said on Twitter, “Whitewashing with a vengeance.” Tagging another report which claimed that chapters related to the Mughals and Dalit writers have also been axed from the textbooks, he said, “This reveals the ruling regime’s TRUE mindset. After all, the RSS had not only attacked Gandhi but had been bitterly opposed to Dr Ambedkar as well.” Asked about the issue at a press conference at the Congress headquarters here, Manish Tewari said the re-writing history has been an “ongoing endeavour” with the RSS and BJP.
“This is not the first time that this has happened. I recall that in the first and second NDA governments in 1998-99, this particular project was being unveiled. The only thing I would like to say is that you can distort history but you cannot erase it,” he said.
Truth has a way of manifesting itself. History bears testimony to the fact that those who have tried to re-write history have been consigned to the “dustbin of history”, Tewari said.
Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate also attacked the BJP over the issue, alleging that they want to erase the contribution of Mahatma Gandhi by writing a “new history”.
“But Prime Minister Modi, history is not changed it is made by strong resolve,” she said.
Union minister Shobha Karandlaje defended the decision to remove certain references from the textbooks and said the Congress was the “biggest manipulator” of India’s historical facts and the BJP was only correcting the wrongdoings of the past.
“Facts that threatened @INCIndia and never made it to textbooks were Barbarism of Mughals, Era of Emergency, Genocide of Kashmir Pandits and Sikhs, Corruption of Congress. BJP is only correcting your wrongdoings,” she said.
Asked about the deletions from the textbooks, NCERT chief Dinesh Saklani said, “Subject expert panel had recommended dropping texts on Gandhi. It was accepted last year only. It was not mentioned in the list of rationalised content due to oversight. Any missing contents in the list will be notified in a day or two.”