BJP ally JDU slams move: History is history, cannot be reversed

Reacting sharply to the BJP-led government’s attempt to “rewrite history” in the name of “rationalisation of history”, NDA partner JD(U) said Saturday “history is history and it cannot be reversed”. It also called for an NDA coordination committee so that allies do not differ on important policy matters.

JD (U) national spokesperson and former Rajya Sabha MP KC Tyagi, responding to The Indian Express report ‘From Emergency to Gujarat riots, lessons of past deleted from textbooks of future’, said, “History is history and it cannot be reversed or rewritten. Jo ghatnayen ghat gayi, achchhi ya buri, reverse nahi ki ja sakti (incidents that took place, good or bad, cannot be reversed). Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has been amply clear on the matter. He recently said that history cannot be rewritten.”

This was a reference to Nitish Kumar’s response last week to a media query on Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s remark that “we can write our own history”.

Objecting to the dropping of chapters from NCERT’s history books, Tyagi said, “Present and future generations should know history the way it was. What was the point in dropping the chapter on the Emergency? We, as NDA, can gather on June 25 to condemn the Emergency on its anniversary. History students should know its history as a test case for violation of human rights and democratic norms.”

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Dropping chapters on individual personality or any important event, he said, would serve no purpose. He said it should be left to historians and researchers to decide if there are new facts on events of the past and if they need to be written. “But blaming only Communists or feudals for influencing history writing would not serve any purpose,” he said.

Congress Rajya Sabha MP and its general secretary (communication) Jairam Ramesh said, “Selective amnesia of the recent past is as bad as rewriting of the ancient one.”

RJD Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha said the BJP government is trying to “present a past which never existed”.

“History cannot be wishful thinking. What we have witnessed has been a tendency in all authoritarian regimes which comes through democratic means, and they are the ones which can jettison democracy at the very first go. Because they cannot deal with the issues and concerns of the present, they love altering the past, deleting the past. But national memory acquires the level of folk memory. You can erase it from the textbook but it remains entrenched in folk memory. And history shows regimes and rulers who have done it have been relegated to the dustbin of history,” Jha said.

CPI leader D Raja said, “The NCERT’s move is in tune with the RSS ideology, which is highly divisive… A similar episode is playing out in Karnataka as well. This is highly condemnable. They are targeting school children to condition their minds at the beginning.”

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