Lucknow, July 12: "Prithviraj Chauhan was a coward who ran away to save his life during the second battle of Tarain with Mohammad Ghauri."
"Jaichand (generally believed to be a traitor) was, in fact a ‘hero’ who gave up his life while fighting the forces of Ghauri."
This is the "new" history that students of Class 11 will learn under the CBSE and ICSE courses from this academic session. The revised history book, Medieval India History, published by NCERT, demolishes old beliefs and tramples over heroes of history.
Edited by Prof. Satish Chandra, the fifth chapter of the book on Medieval History clearly states that Prithviraj Chauhan tried to run away from the battle, but was taken prisoner. The book says that when Prithviraj accepted the supremacy of Mohammad Ghauri, the latter allowed him to continue as ruler of Ajmer. Prithviraj was later killed on charges of treason, according to the book, which goes on to say that Jaichand’s valour was unmatched and that he was killed while fighting the forces of Ghauri in Kannauj.
History, till now, had taught that Jaichand was a coward and a traitor who first betrayed Prithviraj Chauhan, and then was drowned while trying to flee the forces of Ghauri (History of Rajasthan, page 156).
The NCERT history book also demolishes the belief that the main cause of bitterness between Prithviraj and Jaichand was the fact that the latter’s daughter Sanyogita had eloped with Prithviraj and that Jaichand never forgave them. According to the new book, there were major political differences between the two kings and Sanyogita was not part of it.
While the NCERT book throws new light on Prithviraj Chauhan and Jaichand, the Class 11 book Ancient India History, written by Prof. Ram Sharan Sharma, discards the presence of Lord Krishna during the Mahabharata. The book says, "Although Krishna plays an important role in the Mahabharata, inscriptions and sculptural pieces found in Mathura dating back to 200 BC and 300 AD do not attest to his presence. Because of this, ideas of an epic age based on the Ramayana and Mahabharata have to be discarded."
On Ayodhya, the book says, "Archaeological evidence should be considered far more important than long family trees given in the Puranas because Puranic tradition can be used to date Ram of Ayodhya to 2,000 BC, but diggings and extensive exploration in Ayodhya do not show any settlement of the time."
The "new theories" being propounded in these history books have expectedly created controversy Uttar Pradesh. While the BJP is up in arms over references to Ayodhya and the Mahabharata, caste organisations are livid about "the attempt to demolish the aura of Prithviraj Chauhan".
State BJP president Kesri Nath Tripathi said the manner in which history was being distorted by the UPA government was nothing short of "blasphemy". He said he had already apprised the BJP leadership about the issue and would be going to Delhi shortly to finalise the party’s strategy on the issue.
Meanwhile, Mr R.K. Singh "Vishven", general secretary of the Akhil Bhartiya Kshatriya Mahasabha, has announced an agitation against the efforts of Central government to "discredit" Prithviraj Chauhan. "Prithviraj Chauhan is a kshatriya hero and we will never tolerate any attempt to rip off his aura and image," Mr Singh said.
(Courtesy: The Asian Age; July 13, 2005)