In the version of history found in India’s new textbooks, China lost 1962 and Gandhi wasn’t murdered


Harish C Menon in Quartz:

Long before the terms post-truth and alt-facts gained currency in the west, Indians were getting mass mails and text messages that often mixed myth with half-truths to glorify their past. It could be something as simple and patently false as the United Nations declaring India’s national anthem as the world’s best. Or bizarre achievements of ancient Indians.

Over the past few years, such trickery gained political legitimacy as senior leaders indulged in it using photoshopped images and administrative claims.

Now, with the full blessings of the powers that be, the phenomenon is seeping into Indian school textbooks, especially those used to teach history. For long a hotly-contested field among ideological rivals of the left, right, and centre of Indian politics, these textbooks have begun to peddle outright lies.

It may be still a trickle, but here is a glimpse of the false history that millions of Indian school students will be learning now on.

In the second half of 1962, a brief war with China along the Himalayas left India with a bloody nose. Despite individual acts of valour, India lost 4,000 soldiers. Though the country amply regained its military standing in subsequent standoffs with China, 1962 left a deep scar on the national psyche—a scar it has tried to efface ever since.

A section of Indians may have finally found a solution: Just lie.

A Sanskrit-language textbook meant for Class 8 students in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh (MP) now says India won the war. “What famously came to be known as Sino-India war of 1962 was won by India against China,” The Times of India newspaper quoted the book, Sukritika, volume-3, on Aug. 10.

Published by the Lucknow-based Kriti Prakashan, the textbook is being used in several MP schools affiliated to the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) of the government of India. The state itself is ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to which Indian prime minister Narendra Modi belongs.

More here.