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‘Give up use of British terminology’

delhi Updated: Apr 15, 2010 00:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Eminent historian and chairperson of National Book Trust Prof Bipan Chandra on Wednesday exhorted abandoning the use of British terms when writing Indian history.

“We must abandon the entire British terminology. For instance, they (the British) talk of Anglo-Sikh war. Why can’t they call it Christian-Sikh war?” Chandra pointed out while summing up a panel discussion on a book ‘The Last Sunset: The Rise and Fall of the Lahore Durbar’.

“They called it Anglo-Sikh war because they necessarily treated it as a war against an enemy whose religion was Sikh whereas (Maharaja) Ranjit Singh’s army had a composition ranging from 30 per cent Muslims and those from present day Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.”

The panel discussion on the book, by Congress leader and former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh,

was organised by National Institute of Panjab Studies and Roli books.

The book, released recently, is a comprehensive tome on Sikh history, especially the life and times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839).

Veteran journalist Inder Malhotra said the book’s strong point is the focus on military aspects vis-à-vis various Sikh wars.

“Singh has summed up fascinatingly and informatively how Ranjit Singh organized his modern army. It was an important step as till then, despite large number of army men, our kings lost to smaller yet organized armies.”

Historian and author V N Datta and French research scholar Dr Jean Marie Lafont also spoke on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Amarinder Singh said, “I am not a historian but I just like to tell stories.”