‘Maharana Pratap was great, not Akbar’, says Rajasthan BJP chief
Rajasthan BJP president Madanlal Saini hailed Rajput warrior Maharana Pratap as the true inheritor of the title ‘great’ dismissing Mughal emperor Akbar’s right to the honorific. According to Saini, the Mughal ruler was of “doubtful character” and his “conduct” did not merit such a title.
Speaking to reporters at the BJP office to pay tributes to Maharana Pratap on his birth anniversary, Saini enumerated parameters on which a person is judged as great. “A person who fights to protect his self-respect, culture and religion is great. Pratap never grabbed anyone’s land. He fought for the security and respect of the country. He never accepted to be ruled by those who invaded this country and tried to enslave it. So he is great,” said Saini.
Coming down hard on Akbar, Saini said the Mughal king used to visit the women’s only Meena bazaar disguised as a woman and there are recorded instances of his misbehaving with women. He said several historians have written about Akbar’s large harem and his roving eye.
“Akbar’s conduct does not show that he was great,” said Saini, though he did not provide any proof.
Criticising Saini’s comments, Congress spokesperson Archana Sharma said the state BJP chief had twisted historical facts and misrepresented them. She said he had expressed sentiments that will lead to enmity and animosity in society. “It is the duty of a responsible opposition to maintain communal harmony and equality but the sentiments expressed by him are condemnable.”
Several functions were organised in the state to observe Maharana Pratap’s 479 birth anniversary and tributes were paid by leaders cutting across party lines.
Chief minister Ashok Gehlot in a tweet said, “My humble tributes to vir shiromani Maharana Pratap on his birth anniversary. He was epitome of courage, bravery and strength. His sacrifice will always be remembered with reverence.”
Education minister Govind Dotasara, who is on the BJP radar for criticising right-wing heroes and removing some of them from text-books, offered tributes to Pratap saying he was a symbol of symbol of courage, determination and patriotism and he sacrificed his life for the independence of his motherland.
The BJP and Congress have been at loggerheads accusing each other of playing politics over history and national heroes. After coming to power, the Congress government said text-books had been ‘saffronised’ by the BJP and RSS and it has revised text-books and downgraded right-wing heroes such as Savarkar and Deen Dayal Upadhyay which has left the BJP fuming.
The two parties have also been sparring over the greatness of Pratap and Akbar. The previous BJP government had changed text-books, removing the suffix great from Akbar and adding it to Pratap’s name. Now the Congress government has restored Akbar’s title.
On changes in the syllabus in schools and colleges, Saini said the Congress indulged in petty politics.
“We give equal respect to all leaders such as Gandhi, Patel and Ambedkar but the Congress is narrow-mindedness,” said Saini.
Meanwhile, former education minister and Ajmer North MLA Vasudev Devnani said Congress government was insulting national heroes on the pretext of changing the syllabus and that the government had labeled Akbar great and put a question mark over the valour of Pratap.
In a tweet, he said, “Congress government has not accepted some facts about the Haldighati war such as some inscriptions and land grant documents dating to 1576-78 which mention that even after the Haldighati war, Maharana Pratap was making land grants, which is the king’s right. This proves that Pratap won.”
In another tweet, he said, “Even after June 18, 1576 (the day of the Haldighati war) coins in the area carried the stamp of Maharana Pratap and not of Akbar. If Pratap had lost then land grants and coins would have carried Akbar’s name.”
Devnani said that if the Mughals had won then why were Man Singh and Asif Khan thrown out of the Mughal court for six months as punishment and why were there military campaigns against Mewar even after 1576.