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Who is stopping us from amending history, asks Amit Shah

Amit Shah speaking at a seminar at Banaras Hindu University on Thursday.

Amit Shah speaking at a seminar at Banaras Hindu University on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar gave us an Indian perspective of the 1857 uprising, says the Union Home Minister.

Had it not been for Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the 1857 uprising would have been viewed through the lens of the British, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Thursday.

It was Savarkar who coined the term ‘First War of Independence’ for the revolt, he said.

Stressing the need to “rewrite history” from an “Indian point of view”, Mr. Shah said, “If there was no Veer Savarkar, the 1857 kranti [revolution] would not have become history. We would view even that from the point of view of the British.”

“For how long will we blame the British that we faced injustice? Who is stopping us from amending history, researching and creating reference texts by rewriting history in popular languages?” he asked.

He was speaking at a seminar, ‘Guptvanshak Veer: Skandagupta Vikramaditya’, at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi.

‘Injustice done’

Extolling the Gupta ruler Skandagupta for his administrative virtues and for keeping off the “invasion of the Huns”, Mr. Shah, however, lamented that “history has done injustice” to Samrat Skandagupta. “Today, unfortunately, after such a long period of slavery, there are not even 100 pages available to study Samrat Skandagupta,” he said. “I believe that Skandagupta gave freedom to Kashmir,” he added.

The Gupta Period paved the way for creation of an “Akhand Bharat” in ancient times, Mr. Shah said. He narrated the story of Skandagupta to emphasise the need for the country to rewrite history from the Indian point of view, but without getting into a dispute with what had already been written, “particularly by British and Mughal-era historians and Leftists”.

‘Cherish one’s history’

“For how long will we blame the British that we faced injustice? Who is stopping us from amending history, researching and creating reference texts by rewriting history in popular languages,” he asked.

According to Mr. Shah, the legacies of the Maurya, Vijaynagar and Gupta empires, the “struggle of Maharana Pratap with the Mughals”, the ideals of Maratha warrior-king Shivaji and the “sacrifices of the Sikh Gurus were among the subjects that the country’s historians had failed to record as “sandarbh granth” or reference texts.

He wondered whether it was so difficult for Indian historians to write texts about 200 historical people and 25 empires that shaped the country over the centuries. To “take care of and cherish one’s history” was the responsibility of the country, its people and historians, Mr. Shah said at the event, where he also launched a book on Skandagupta.

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Printable version | Jul 8, 2020 7:15:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/who-is-stopping-us-from-amending-history-asks-amit-shah/article29729245.ece

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