Unfolding Sikh history – a matter of pride, not politics

Unfolding Sikh history – a matter of pride, not politics

The unsung heroes and heroines of the period when Mughals ruled India are now being brought to light and accorded honour long due to them.


Jagdish Batra, Professor of English, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.


The institutionalization of 26th December as the Veer Baal Diwas has not come a day soon. The recognition of the sacrifices of young children of seven or so age is a glorious chapter in Indian history.

It is surprising that with all this prevalent talk of foregrounding of the marginalized in postcolonial times, the focus has all along been on certain minority communities like the Dalits and the Muslims which have a sizeable number. What that translates into are the vote banks — the real moving force behind political initiatives taken in their interest. Vote bank politics theory may be ascribed to the present initiative also by interested people but then we must look at it through a different lens.

The postcolonial theory – the darling of our theory classes as also of research by students – started with the intent to re-write history but in India it got embroiled in politics. All that students have been learning over seven decades is about the Mughal period in great detail with pre-Muslim invasion period forming a footnote only. For that matter, while a student will parrot Babar’s progeny in one go without so much as stopping for breath, it will take a good bit of time for him to say a few words about Gupta period, Maurya dynasty, Chola and Chalukya kingdoms, etc. It seems that for us Indians, history started with the arrival of Muslim invaders only! Surprisingly, even the literary writers like novelists too hardly applied imagination to write about the pre-Mughal period.

It is only now that the Modi government launched on the laudable project to highlight the hitherto obscure portions of history and the heroes and heroines of struggle against Muslim or British rulers. Hardly did we hear before the names of  Kempe Gowda of Karnataka, Tiruppur Kumaran of Tamilnadu,  Alluru Sitaram Raju of Andhra, Binoy Basu of Bengal, or Tirot Sing of Assam who have been now added to the hall of fame. There are women fighters also like Durga Bhabhi, Matangini Hazara, queen Velu Nechiyar who fought bravely against the British rulers.

Published in: The Times of India

To read the full article, please click here.