Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said Saturday the past practice Jauhar, or self-immolation by women facing capture by invaders, was a matter of pride. "Jauhar has been all about sacrifice and pride in our history," he told reporters in Jodhpur, while lashing out at the BJP for ‘tampering’ with historical facts. He also called Maharana Pratap an epitome of sacrifice and courage. Gehlot's remarks come amid a controversy over changes in school textbooks after the Congress came to power in Rajasthan.
The changes include deletion of content introduced during the previous BJP government. A picture in Class 8 English textbooks, suggesting self-immolation, has been replaced with a picture of a hill fort. State School Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasara has said it was not clear from the picture whether it suggested Jauhar or Sati, under which women committed self-immolation on the death of their husbands.
The prefix "Veer" has also been dropped from Vinayak Damodar Savarkar's name in Class 10 social science textbooks. The BJP protested against some changes, like the dropping of prefix "Veer".
There was opposition also from within the state's ruling Congress. State Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas and state Congress vice-president Gopal Singh Idwa have expressed their disagreement with the government decision. On Saturday, Gehlot accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje of distorting history.
"When you run the government and distort or tamper with historical facts, you would never be able to make history or would be remembered," he said. He alleged wherever the BJP ruled in the country, they attempted to distort the history as they did not make any sacrifice in the Indian freedom struggle.