PROFESSOR SYED ALI NADEEM REZAVI is former Chairman & Coordinator CAS, Department of History, and former Coordinator Musa Dakri Museum, AMU. In an interview with MOHD NAUSHAD KHAN, he said the actual reason why the review of UGV History syllabus is being undertaken is revealed by the very first paper proposed to be taught: “Idea of Bharat”!
How would you like to respond to the proposed UGC History syllabus?
No one can dispute that a syllabus needs constant revision and review. But that should be in the light of new researches in the field and not based on any agenda or to put forward a deliberate point of view!
The present attempt appears that this basic criterion has been totally neglected and ignored. Neither expert opinions have been taken into account nor new researches acknowledged.
What do you think is the motive behind it?
The actual reason why this exercise is being undertaken is revealed by the very first paper proposed to be taught: “Idea of Bharat”! As if the concept of Bharat was there since time memorial! Look at the courses proposed for Ancient period: a student studying them will never come to realise that there was ever any issue of caste and discrimination on its basis! There is just a glorification of one thought throughout and nothing else! The students would also be denied a chance to know or even be aware of any gender discrimination or the real position in which the women were held! As to the question of Dalits, this matter too has been swept aside!
How damaging it could be for the History of Medieval Period in India?
The second agenda revealed by looking at the proposed papers and content is the fact that there is a serious attempt being made for our children to inculcate a certain view of what the Medieval Period in India was or what we achieved during those centuries. In the name of “balancing” most aspects of the Medieval Period have been removed. What has however been emphasised is the communal strife: thus most Sultans of Delhi Sultanate are out, Akbar is out, Jahangir and Shahjahan are out, their Indianness is out but what is told to the students is Aurangzeb and Shivaji who are retained so that communal agenda can be introduced: Hindu king vs Muslim conquerors. That Shivaji invoked the Mughal, Bijapuri and Golkunda administrative and fiscal traditions are totally ignored. Concepts like Hindu padshahi are distorted and twisted in such a way that a student may think there was an establishment of “Hindu” rule!
Will the proposed syllabus have any kind of impact on modern period?
As far as modern period is concerned, the fact that the colonial rulers economically destroyed our country is suppressed. There is no mention of the drain of wealth! Further, works and researches done in the last 70 years have been totally ignored: no mentions of any historians who have contributed immensely to our understanding are retained! It appears we are back to the era of Colonial period historiography, Macaulay & co! I am totally in agreement with what historians like Irfan Habib has been critiquing this attempted distortion of History.