A statue of Maharana Pratap of Mewar, commemorating the Battle of Haldighati, at City Palace in Udaipur.(Wikicommons)
A statue of Maharana Pratap of Mewar, commemorating the Battle of Haldighati, at City Palace in Udaipur.(Wikicommons)

Rajasthan textbooks give opposing versions on Haldighati battle

Rajput leaders, royals oppose insult to Maharana Pratap, RBSE removes the book from the website
Hindustan Times, Jaipur | By Urvashi Dev Rawal
PUBLISHED ON JUN 24, 2020 06:25 PM IST

Two textbooks brought out by the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education have different versions on the battle of Haldighati, with one mentioning that the battle was inconclusive while the other states that Maharana Pratap lost in the clash.

The books have invited the wrath of the Rajput community and leaders from the ruling Congress and the BJP for insulting Rana Pratap and misrepresenting facts.

A new textbook titled ‘Rajasthan ka Itihas aur Sanskriti’ mentions that the battle of Haldighati, fought on June 18 was inconclusive, the class 10 social science textbook which has been revised states that Rana Pratap lost the battle.

The book’s first chapter titled ‘History of Rajasthan: an introduction’, mentions, “Iss yudh ka parinam nahi nikal saka. Akbar ka udeshya pura nahi ho saka. (this battle was inconclusive. Akbar failed to achieve his objective).”

It says that Akbar wanted to bring Mewar under his control at any cost and he also tried to arrive at a compromise with Maharana Pratap who refused to strike a deal and chose to fight against the Mughals.

The chapter mentions that the name Haldighati came about as several newly-wedded young brides fought and sacrificed their lives on the battlefield. This chapter cites the book ‘Ajooba Bharat’ by Dr. Mahendra Bhanawat as the source.

Dr. Bhanawat says that the name Haldighati was not given due to the yellow soil. He says the soil is black, red, and yellow in colour but the christening was due to the fact that many newly-wedded women wearing men’s clothes with turmeric on their hands fought and died in battle.

However, historian Dr. Chandrashekhar Sharma says this claim is false. He said the battle was not the reason to christen the spot but it was known as Haldighati even before the battle. “The place is covered in Haldu trees whose fruit makes the soil yellow,” said Dr. Sharma who is a professor of history at Meera Girls College, Udaipur.

While this book praises Rana Pratap for his valour and generalship, the RBSE social science textbook for class 10 calls him impatient and lacking in control. Interestingly, only the e-textbook states this while the print edition does not have this reference. The e-book has now been removed by the RBSE from its website.

The chapter titled ‘Sangharshkalin Bharat’ in the social science book, says that some historians are of the view that the battle ended inconclusively but several historians are of the view that Pratap lost the battle.

Listing the reasons for the loss, it says Pratap lacked the patience, control, and strategy.

Dr. Sharma, who wrote the portion on Maharana Pratap in the textbook published last year, says a lot of the portion on Maharana Pratap has been whittled down and changes made to the text without consulting him even though he is still mentioned as the author.

He said several positive aspects which he had highlighted have been chopped off. “I had written about that Rana Pratap’s one-on-one duel with Man Singh, the commander of Akbar’s army but that has been deleted.

The book has edited out all references to Pratap’s horse Chetak who saved him from the battlefield by jumping across the 30-foot ravine and also the king’s patch-up with his brother Shakti Singh, said Sharma.

It also does not mention an episode where Rana Pratap scolded his son Amar Singh for capturing women in the zenana of Abdul Rahim Khankhana, a commander of Akbar. He asked his son to return the women with all respect.

He said he had put down points with evidence pointing to the fact that Maharana Pratap had won the Haldighati battle but that entire portion has been scrapped.

Meanwhile, the book has united Rajput leaders of the Congress and BJP as well as royal families and Rajput associations who have condemned the distortion of facts.

Pratap Singh Khachariyawas, a Rajput minister in the cabinet of chief minister Ashok Gehlot took to twitter to oppose the misrepresentation of facts.

In a series of tweets, he said, “Any tampering with history will not be tolerated. The history of our heroes is important for us and it is our duty to protect it.”

He said Rana Pratap is and always will remain India’s pride. “To recognize him only as a Rajput leader is to insult him,” said Khachariyawas.

He said Rana Pratap fought against foreign invaders and took each caste and community with him in the fight against the invaders. His greatness does not need any certification from anyone.

Diya Kumari, BJP MP, and scion of the former Jaipur royal family said in a statement “The Congress government’s ‘historians’ have insulted Maharana Udai Singh, Maharana Pratap, and Haldighati... The act of tampering with history only takes place under the Congress rule. They are neither worried about the pride of the state nor the feelings of the people.”

BJP MP and Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat also expressed similar sentiments. He said the misrepresentation of facts regarding Maharana Pratap, Maharana Udai Singh, and Haldighati is an insult to the history of Marudhara.

He said it is unfortunate that those in power have from time to time hidden our history from us. Their only motive is to appease one particular section. They don’t have respect for history.”

Lakshya Raj Mewar of the erstwhile Udaipur royal family and a descendent of Rana Pratap said it was unfortunate that frequent changes are made to textbooks which would confuse students.

“The valor and courage of Maharana Pratap have been documented by historians. I would like to know if those writing on him have the expertise, If not, then it is an injustice to the society and to students,” he said.

His cousin Vishvaraj Singh tweeted, “History distorted to an absurd extent and included in textbooks... Abundant display of ignorance and crass, boorish mentality of decision making authority in peddling distortions to suit its own agenda.”

BM Sharma, convenor of the textbook revision committee set-up by the government, said a clarification has been sought from the author who wrote the content of the e-book.

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