Bharat has a glorious past spanning several millennia. No wonder we have had people from all over the world coming here to invade, convert and/or rule – be it the Greeks, the Portuguese, the Dutch, the Mughals, the Persians, and the British. Being the carriers of such a rich past, it is indeed heartbreaking to see that our current History books seldom talk about the culture, architecture and the people involved in uplifting our country’s heritage. The History textbooks in our schools are mostly centred around the battles we lost, the failings we had and pushed with a narrative to make us feel apologetic, ashamed and inferior. This is an obvious outcome when the writers are from the West or of a colonised mindset. As an African proverb rightly says, ‘Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter’.
Chinmaya Mission and Vidya Bharati, two reputed socio-cultural organisations, joined hands to rewrite history from an Indic standpoint. The audience comprised heads of reputed educational institutions, class 11 students of Chinmaya Vidyalayas and Vivekananda Vidyalayas, Chennai, teachers and representatives from both the organisations. As a pilot, these history textbooks will be introduced in the 800 Chinmaya Vidyalayas across India and in over 24000 Vidya Bharati schools.
Along with the volunteers of Chinmaya Mission, history teachers from Chinmaya Vidyalayas and Vivekananda Vidyalaya came together to rewrite the curriculum for classes 6, 7 and 8. It took over two years for the books to materialise. On 17 April 2022, the textbooks for Grade 6, 7 and 8 were launched by Shri N. Gopalswamy, retired IAS and Former Chief Election Commissioner of India. The Programme began with the President of Chinmaya Mission Chennai, Sri OV Nambiar giving the welcome address, expressing the need of bringing up such a book. Followed by an address by Shri Uma Maheshwar Rao, retired IAS and President, Dakshin Kshetra Vivekananda Kendra who spoke on the relevance of these books in today’s era. He said history repeats itself because nobody listens the first time. Swami Mitrananda, the spiritual mentor of Chinmaya Mission Chennai and the guiding force behind this project, gave a brief on what each of the grade learners will have in their syllabus. '‘RRR’ when the world is roaring with the blockbuster movie’s success', Swamiji related the acronym with the names of the book, 'Radiant Bharat, Resilient Bharat and Resurgent Bharat for the grades 6, 7 and 8 respectively. The untold truth of Bharat has been beautifully brought out in these books.' For instance, Rani Velu Nachiyar was the first queen to wage the war with the East India Company in India. In Tamil Nadu, she is known as ‘Veeramangai’ (brave woman). Yet so few know about her across India.
The audience comprised heads of reputed educational institutions, class 11 students of Chinmaya Vidyalayas and Vivekananda Vidyalayas, Chennai, teachers and representatives from both the organisations. As a pilot, these history textbooks will be introduced in the 800 Chinmaya Vidyalayas across India and in over 24000 Vidya Bharati schools.
To know where we need to head as a nation, it is indeed necessary to know where we are and where we belong. Our identity lies in the roots of the country, and its great civilisation. It is only then that harmonious growth and development of our nation is possible. Therefore, it becomes essential for every youth in our country to know ‘our’ (RRR) history.