Other states also reoriented their telling of regional and national history. In Maharashtra, in the rewriting of history textbooks, a drastic cut was made in the book for class 7: the chapter on the Mughal Empire under Akbar was cut down to three lines.78 Uttar Pradesh simply deleted the Mughal Empire from some of its history textbooks,79 while the University of Delhi drastically reduced the study of this period in its history curriculum.80 In the syllabus of Nagpur University, a chapter that discussed the roles of the RSS, the Hindu Mahasabha, and the Muslim League in the making of communalism has been replaced by another one titled “Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Role in Nation Building.”81 Alongside official examinations in Uttar Pradesh, the Sangh Parivar organized a test of general culture open to all schools in the state. According to the brochure designed to help students prepare for this test, which Amit Shah released in Lucknow in August 2017, India was a Hindu Rashtra, and Swami Vivekananda had defended Hindutva in Chicago in 1893.82 In Karnataka, after canceling Tipu Sultan Jayanti, the festival that the state used to organize to celebrate the birth of this eighteenth-century Muslim ruler, the BJP government also dropped the chapter dealing with this historical figure from the class 7 textbook in 2019.83 This decision was made in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that had led the government of India to ask all states to reduce syllabi for students in classes 1 through 10 by 30 percent, in light of the learning challenges brought about by the lockdown.84 The decision of the Karnataka government, in fact, fit in with a larger picture. Under cover of the pandemic, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), India’s largest education board, decided that all over India “government-run schools no longer have to teach chapters on democratic rights, secularism, federalism, and citizenship, among other topics.”85 To foster assimilation of knowledge that amounted to propaganda, final exams have increasingly focused on the heroic deeds of Hindu icons and reforms initiated by the Modi government, even on the person of the prime minister.
Christophe Jaffrelot (Modi's India: Hindu Nationalism and the Rise of Ethnic Democracy)