India is trying to erase two centuries of Mughal rule from history school books

School children in India are at risk of learning very little about the period in which the Muslim Mughal dynasty ruled the country.

India's children are at risk of learning little about the period in history when the Muslim Mughal Dynasty ruled India.

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The National Council of Educational Research and Training, an autonomous organization within the federal ministry of education, has released a new set of school textbooks that excludes the chapters about Mughal rulers.

According to Indian Express which examined each textbook to find chapters and references to the Mughal period, students could study some history of Mughals as early as Class 7 (around 12 years old), then a bit in Class 8, nothing in Classes 9-11, and a shorter version in Class 12.

Delhi University's BA History program, which is a part of the BA History Honors degree, had already revised and reorganized chapters on Mughal History.

The Mughals are overrepresented, say those who support the "right-sizing" of Indian history. But the Mughal dynasty ruled India from 1526-1761 and has a large footprint on the history of India. From Agra's Taj Mahal to Delhi's Red Fort, the wealthy and culturally rich set of Muslim Emperors left their mark for centuries to come.

This history is being rewritten, and the truth obscured. This is not surprising in a nation that will not allow students to learn about Darwin's Theory of Evolution until they have taken Biology in grades 11 and 12. It doesn't fit in with the religious orthodoxy or creation narrative.

The historian Sucheta Mahajan told DW: "This current regime and its ancestors used it as an ideological weapon in their political, intellectual and cultural project to turn this country into a Hindu-dominated country. It is part of that project."

After Gandhi's death, all references to the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh were also banned.

In 2002, when Modi was Gujarat's chief minister, there were communal riots that left over 1,000 dead, mostly Muslims.

Narendra Modi's government is trying to promote its Hindutva agenda, a movement that seeks to establish Hinduism as the dominant culture in India. This comes at the expense of India's Mughal heritage. Stories of Muslim rulers have been distorted and are being discarded. Just one example is the alterations to college and school textbooks. Another nationalist maneuver is the Hindu-washing.

Yogi Adityanath is the chief minister of the eastern Indian state Uttar Pradesh. He ordered that the Mughal Museum, currently under construction in Agra, be named after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maraj, a 17th-century Hindu king who was from the Deccan Plateau and played a major role in the defeat of the Mughals. Ironic for a city that was founded by the Muslim ruler Sikandar lodhi and is located near the Taj Mahal which was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. In 2017, the Indian state tourism brochure stopped featuring the Taj Mahl because Mughal monuments did not reflect Indian culture.

Adityanath's government is known as a jingoistic rebrander: 156-years after being built, Mughalsarai's central railway station was renamed Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. Prayagraj was given to Allahabad, which is the birthplace and name of India's prime minister Jawaharlal Nath Nehru. It was named after Mughal Emperor Akbar.

The story is of one state, albeit the largest and most populous in India. But similar redefinitions occur across the country.

Many places change their name for good reasons. The alphabet is one of those.

Aurangzeb, the Mughal Emperor, protected Hindu temples far more than he destroyed them

Hindu nationalists who call Muslims "invaders", and Aryans, "our own", are making up a history.