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The Revolutionaries Shed Their Blood For India’s Independence

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New Delhi: The government will neither change history nor rewrite it, but will include unsung heroes and forgotten leaders to bring out “all historical truth”, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Tuesday.

Addressing an event, he said that centuries after centuries, lakhs of people dedicated their lives to preserving the country’s civilisation but “that was not made part of our history”.

After India’s Independence, attempts were made to limit its history to a “few hours, few years, some 3-4 families” even as literatures pertaining to at least 2,500 years of India’s history were available, he said.

He said that the country’s rich and glorious history is just not limited to its freedom struggle against the British but it goes back further to the times of Buddha and Chandragupta Maurya, making India the oldest civilisation in the world.

“Maharana Pratap, Chhatrapati Shivaji, Birbal, Todermal… Chanakya..there is also a need to read about them,” he said, adding the time has come today to make unsung heroes and forgotten leaders part of the nation’s history.

The minister said a section of people thinks that the government wants to change the country’s history.

“We do not want to change. I am saying this here at this platform with full responsibility. We will not rewrite history. We will not change history. We will bring all historical truth before everyone. We will draw a bigger line,” the education minister said, adding, “There is no need to belittle anyone.” He also called upon the entire society to come forward and join the initiative, saying “it’s not the job of only the government or one person.” Opposition parties in the past have accused the ruling BJP dispensation of trying to change or rewrite the country’s history.

Addressing the event, senior RSS leader Suresh ‘Bhaiyyaji’ Joshi stressed on the need to guide the country’s youth and give them the right direction, and asked if universities of the country will take up this role or “those who want to break up the country”.

He said the story of India’s freedom struggle inspires and can guide and give a direction to the youth, but it is needed to be presented in the “right context” using right words.

Despite all foreign tyrants’ invasions and the British rule, the Indian civilisation has survived due to the strength of its “thinking, character and behaviour”, he said and stressed on the need to awaken the people of the country and connect them to their roots.

He said the Indian society had developed a “slave mindset” due to years of foreign rule.

“The work to bring the society out of this mindset began in 1857 and the first phase of this struggle completed in 1947… Today people are realising that they are citizens of a free country because of India’s increased stature globally,” he said.

Pradhan and Joshi were speaking at the event organised by the Bharat Vikas Parishad to unveil a two-part book, titled ‘The Revolutionaries Shed Their Blood For India’s Independence’, authored by Justice (retired) S N Aggarwal, a former Punjab and Haryana High Court judge.

Published by Garuda Prakashan, the book highlights the selfless contributions of many revolutionaries to India’s freedom struggle.

It narrates the tales of many brave patriots — from the Chapekar Brothers, Shyamji Krishna Varma, Lala Har Dayal to V D Savarkar — who it claims were relegated to the “back-burner of our history books”.

“Our revolutionaries from all religions, regions and segments of the society fought the Indian War of Independence in 1857,” said the author.

The Print: 12  April 2022