Poisoning Impressionable Minds – Part 2

(This is the 2nd part of the 3 part article series on the blatant untruths and distortions in ICSE board history textbooks of 6th, 7th and 8th standards. Read Part 1, Part 3 )


Misrepresentation of Hindu saints as against idol worship and rituals:

Even the Bhakti saints such as Namdeo, Tukaram and Ramdas have been wrongly shown as against idol worship and rituals. Evangelists have used these tactics for centuries and considering that the ICSE Board is a Christian one, the natural suspicion is that this is malicious and ideology-pushing, that is very far from the truth. Tukaram and Namdeo were ardent Vitthala devotees, while Ramdas was a devotee of Bhagwan Ram and Hanuman. I leave the reader to judge whether these great saints were against idol worship with one of Namdeo’s compositions:

“If I have to sing, I sing of Ganesh and Sharda,  There is none except them. If I have to dance, I dance the Tandava of Shiva,  He is the one who knows to dance. If I have to recite, I recite the four Vedas,  Whatever is still left from one, I do say, If one has to know, one should know all the Eighteen.  Whatever is still left, I should know, If there are any artists, they are the sun and the moon, They show the Twelve and Sixteen in the sky. Nama says I have staked all,  Let Keshava take me as his own.”

Poisoning Impressionable Minds
Misrepresentation of Bhakti Saints’ teachings

Thus, our children grow up thinking rituals and idol worship is bad, and even the prominent Hindu saints fought against it. This is nothing short of a full-blown cultural assault on the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of thousands of years, one that evangelists have tried to accomplish since a few centuries. The Bible repeatedly denounces idol worship – and it seems the allegedly secular but in fact Christian ICSE board is pushing a Christian agenda by foisting it on Hindu saints, a complete and despicable misrepresentation that our children learn as fact.

Malicious representation of Hindu deities: For example, Goddess Kali mentioned in context of the notorious Thugs – an outrageous figure of 2 million deaths has been attributed to them, whereas most historical records show it to be about one-tenth of that number. It is malicious to mention Kali in the context of Thugs but not while writing about arguably Her greatest devotee, Ramakrishna Paramhans. It may be noted that the demonization of Goddess Kali has been a constant strategy of evangelists.

Poisoning Impressionable Minds
Goddess Kali shown in a bad light.
Poisoning Impressionable Minds
No mention of Goddess Kali with Ramkrishna Paramhansa

Wipeout of history of the massive dynasties of Bharat

Bharat was home to several mighty dynasties, each of which lasted for hundreds of years – such as the Satavahanas, Cholas, Pallavas, Guptas, Rajputs etc. Almost all these dynasties barely get a mention in a paragraph or two, and the Maratha and Vijayanagar Empires get one page each. The Ahoms of Assam and the various Kingdoms in the North East do not even get a mention. The list of rulers and dynasties of prominence that are completely omitted from history textbooks runs very long. In the sixth grade textbook section pertaining to pre-Mughal period, the entire 5000 plus year history of Bharat has been covered in just 40 pages! And what is written in those 40 pages too is of questionable content considering the numerous examples mentioned earlier.

Glorification and secular whitewash of Muslim Rulers

In stark contrast to the wordings used for Hindu rulers and the short shrift given to them, each Muslim ruler / invader is leisurely described in glowing terms across several sanitized pages, some as living saints, others as benevolent, kind and generous men, secular and tolerant.

The bloody conquest of Arabia by Islamic forces is described as unification that produced writers, scientists and thinkers, without any mention of bloodshed or battle, or the Pagans who lived in Arabia before the advent of Islam. The Arab invasion of Bharat over several bloody battles and massacres is whitewashed thoroughly as a “cultural exchange” that led to the Arabs developing numerals and astronomy!!

Poisoning Impressionable Minds
Whitewash of bloody conquest of Arabia by Islamic forces

Qutbuddin Aibak, who demolished no less than 27 temples to build the Quwwatul Islam mosque and QutubMinar, is eulogized as a “kind hearted and generous” man – with no mention of the destruction and slaughter his kind heart caused. This is not some obscure fact. The ASI has published this information on its website, as well as mentioned it on the placard at the Qutub Minar.

Poisoning Impressionable Minds
Glorification of Qutbuddin Aibak

In some amazingly creative re-writing of history, a ruler who imposed Jiziya on non-Muslims and demolished several temples including at Ramjanmabhoomi (Ayodhya) to build mosques – Babur – is mentioned as having “started the trend of religious tolerance” that was continued by his grandson Akbar.

Poisoning Impressionable Minds
Babur shown as ‘religiously tolerant’

The man who according to a recent study ranks 23rd among mass murderers in history, Aurangzeb – has been glorified as a “living saint (zinda peer) without even a mention of his bloody and fanatical rule responsible for killing of 4.6 million people and carrying out forcible conversions under the power of the sword and extortion. This is equivalent to a textbook in an Israeli school teaching that Hitler was a very hardworking man with a simple and spartan lifestyle, considered by many to be the second coming of Christ, who gave up his predecessors’ policy of tolerance towards Jews!

Poisoning Impressionable Minds
Aurangzeb glorified as a ‘living saint’

Hemchandra Vikramaditya, born in the outskirts of Delhi at Rewari and popularly known as Hemu, was the Commander-in-Chief of Adil Shah Suri who won 22 successive battles against Afghan rebels from Bengal to Punjab. He conquered Delhi and declared himself Vikramaditya on his coronation, before being unluckily defeated in the second Battle of Panipat by Akbar when a stray arrow struck his eye, and was beheaded while lying unconscious. The same Hemu has been grossly misrepresented as an Afghan invader. It is also not correspondingly mentioned that the Mughals were Turko-Mongols from Central Asia (present day Uzbekistan). The Mughal emperor Akbar gets disproportionate representation with a chapter of more than eleven pages on him. This too does not mention anything about the slaughter of 30,000 civilians, including women and children, at Chittor committed by him in cold blood, and praises him in eulogistic terms.

The Marathas are heavily criticized for not bringing in reforms – however, the greatest of Mughal rulers Akbar has not received any criticism for setting up the highly exploitative Mansabdari-Zamindari system that impoverished the farmers due to excessive taxes and levies, and sold their families into slavery when they were unable to pay. On the contrary, the system has been shown as progressive! No mention whatsoever has been made of the pitiable condition of farmers under Mughal rule, or the complete lack of development of any worthwhile infrastructure in the country ruled by the Mughals. The criticism of the Marathas on lack of reforms is also unfounded: Shivaji disbanded the Zamindari system altogether and stopped slavery, and his rule was famed for the emphasis on building infrastructure of his territories and strict rule of law – for example, he implemented capital punishment for crimes against women at a time when the Mughals were selling them into slavery. While Marathas are shown as having “alienated other rulers by raiding their kingdoms and levying taxes and tributes”, the Mughals had done exactly this for several centuries before the Marathas – but of course, this has not been mentioned at all anywhere in the textbooks.

Poisoning Impressionable Minds
Criticism and negation of Maratha legacy

Tipu Sultan of Mysore has been presented and eulogized as a “secular, liberal and tolerant ruler” and an “embodiment of Hindu-Muslim unity”. This, despite the fact that the brutality, slaughter and forced conversions of thousands of Hindus and Christians by Tipu and the demolition of hundreds of temples is very well documented. A television series on Tipu Sultan that projected him as a secular and tolerant tolerant ruler was ordered by the Supreme Court to carry a notice stating: “No claim is made for the accuracy or authenticity of any episode being depicted in the serial. This serial is a work of fiction and has nothing to do either with the life or rule of Tipu Sultan. The serial is a dramatised presentation of Bhagwan Gidwani’s novel.”

Poisoning Impressionable Minds
Whitewash of Tipu Sultan’s tyranny

Tipu’s sword carries the following inscription, which should settle any doubts about his alleged secularism:
My victorious sabre is lightning for the destruction of the unbelievers. Haidar, the Lord of the Faith, is victorious for my advantage. And moreover, he destroyed the wicked race who were unbelievers. Praise be to him, who is the Lord of the Worlds! Thou art our Lord, support us against the people who are unbelievers. He to whom the Lord giveth victory prevails over all (mankind). Oh Lord, make him victorious, who promoteth the faith of Muhammad. Confound him, who refuseth the faith of Muhammad; and withhold us from those who are so inclined. The Lord is predominant over his own works. Victory and conquest are from the Almighty. Bring happy tidings, Oh Muhammad, to the faithful; for God is the kind protector and is the most merciful of the merciful. If God assists thee, thou wilt prosper. May the Lord God assist thee, Oh Muhammad, with a mighty victory.”

Whitewash of Slavery

Over six centuries of Muslim rule, millions of Hindus were sold into slavery as official state policy. The slave trade continued right up to the 18th century. The textbooks have no mention of this whatsoever. The abolition of slavery by the British has been mentioned, but what is not mentioned is that the British themselves were until 1807 the largest slave traders in the world, and even after the abolition of slavery in 1833, Britain continued to exploit Bharatiya indentured labor in harsh working conditions in their colonies in South Africa, Mauritius, Trinidad etc. What is even more outrageous is that by clubbing it with the British abolition of Sati, the textbook actually implies that the Hindus had been perpetrators and not victims of slavery!!

Trivialization of Native Education System

The ancient Bharatiya education system has been brutally run down in school textbooks, initially by alleging that Shudras were not allowed education, and later by claiming that it was no more than informal teaching by a few Brahmins at their home. There is not even a mention of the great Bhartiya universities of Nalanda, Odantapuri and so many others that were demolished and burnt to the ground by invaders. The myth of Bharatiyas being uneducated has been comprehensively debunked by Dharampal in his book “The Beautiful Tree” which relies on British official records to show that the native education system, which British surveying officers admitted was far superior to their own and which they had based their own education system on.

Poisoning Impressionable Minds
Trivializing Bharat’s native education system

The British records showed that Bihar and Bengal alone had thrice the number of schools and universities that the entire country of Britain had, and that a variety of subjects and languages were taught in these institutions. The native education system was destroyed by the British by lack of patronage, and this pushed the vast population of Bharat into illiteracy and made them eager takers for Britain’s own “Modern Education” System that, back home, was facing severe opposition and excluded women even up to as late as 1857.

(to be continued…read Part 1, Part 3 )

About the Author

Dr. Amit Thadani
Practising surgeon, musician, social activist, amateur photographer. Convener, BJP Doctors Cell Mumbai.