It was back in March that a controversy erupted over news that Rajasthan University officials were considering revising the history syllabus to declare Maharana Pratap as the winner of the historic Haldighati battle as opposed to the popular belief that it was Akbar who was victorious.
The suggestion was first mooted by BJP MLA Mohan Lal Gupta and pushed by state education minister Vasudev Devnani who had once vowed to change textbooks so that “no one like Kanhaiya Kumar is born” in the state.
Well, the officials have agreed to the idea and included a book in the MA history syllabus which argues that it was Pratap who won the 1576 battle. As per a Hindustan Times report, the said book has been included in recommended readings in the MA history semester II paper ‘Rajasthan through the ages’. The decision was taken last month. The board has also decided to include a topic ‘Debate on the outcome of the battle of Haldighati’ in the paper.
The students will be studying the revised syllabus from this year onwards.
What is this book?
Titled ‘Rastra Ratan Maharana Pratap’, the book was published by Delhi’s Aryavrat Sanskriti Sansthan. The book’s author Dr Chandra Shekhar Sharma, who teaches at Udaipur’s Government Meera Kanya Mahavidyalaya, worked on the book for his PhD from city’s Janardan Rai Nagar Rajasthan Vidhyapeeth University.
What the does the book say?
Here are the reasons, in brief, why Sharma believes that the Maharana was the winner, as told to ScoopWhoop News:
‘Pratap’s objective was served’
Purely on the basis of `objective’, Pratap defeated Akbar, says Sharma. While Pratap’s objective was to defend his motherland, Akbar’s was to kill or arrest Pratap and take over his kingdom, he says.
Sharma says it is recorded that Akbar couldn’t fulfil any of his aims. He said that Akbar did not even allow his generals Man Singh and Asif Khan to enter his ‘darbar’ for six months.
“If Akbar had won the war, why did he punish them like this?” says Sharma.
‘Pratap issued land grants inscripted on Copper Plates’
Sharma says that in those days, the right to issue land grants inscribed on copper plates (taamra patra) rested only with the king. He says that as per evidence he collected, Pratap has been found to have issued land deeds in villages around Haldighati for a year, which wouldn’t have been the case had Mughals won the battle.
Sharma collected the land documents from the erstwhile noble Rajput families and farmers from villages like Godayants, Jadol and Sanchola which are published in the book, and concludes that the administrative system of Pratap was not disturbed after the Haldighati battle. The land grants points to Pratap’s effective control over significant hilly regions of Mewar along with the present Bhilwara plains, he says.
Sharma said that the oldest ‘renewed’ land deed issued by Maharana Jawan Singh for Chetak’s Samadhi in 1834 was found to refer to the original grant by Pratap after 1576.
“This shows that Pratap definitely had control over the hilly tracks,” he said.
‘Pratap fought Guerilla warfare, verdict should be seen in that light’
Sharma said that a lot of sources cite Pratap’s retreat in Raktalai, after his horse Chetak was injured, as the reason for his “defeat”. “But this is wrong, he says. Pratap used the technique of guerrilla warfare in this battle and the retreat was strategic.
“This form of warfare is neither territory nor time-bound,” he said.
Sharma said he has also quoted the literary works of Indian and Persian origin, in addition to archaeological evidences, to prove that the battle lasted from sunrise to sunset. This is contrary to the popular belief that the battle lasted just four hours.
Sharma says the first phase began with the attack by Pratap in Haldighati, where he forced the Mughal army to flee towards the banks of river Banas, and the second phase was fought in Raktalai, which is about seven kilometres from Haldighati.
A proud Rajasthani, Sharma is fascinated by folklore
Sharma says he is a proud Rajasthani and loves the folklore around Maharana. He said that the locals have always believed that their hero, Pratap, defeated Akbar and to them, it has never mattered what history books say.
“It is said that Akbar’s only achievement in the battle was seizing Pratap’s prized elephant Ram Prasad. At that time, the Mughal army went from village to village with Ram Prasad telling residents that they have defeated the Maharana. But no one believed him and even till this day, folklore suggests that people mocked Akbar for the false claim,” he says.
But Sharma insists that he isn’t pushing any ideology and is a scholar.
“I carried out my research without any hypothesis,” he said, adding that his discovery of the ‘taamra patras’ formed the core of his work.
When asked about the change being an example of the alleged saffronisation of education, Sharma said it was a political debate and as a scholar, he wasn’t concerned with it.