History is always complicated. Especially the history of an ancient civilizational country like India, it is more debated. The available Indian history is majorly recorded and organized by Britishers.
To change this, The Ministry of Culture has decided to take up a fresh start and approach the history records. Regarding this, Project for Compilation of “Dictionary of Martyrs” of India’s Freedom Struggle-1857 was assigned to the Indian Council of Historical Research.
It was specifically planned for release at the 150th anniversary of the uprising of 1857. The Dictionary was officially released on 07 March 2019.
Proud Initiative of History Accounts – Prime Minister:
“A nation that does not honor and remembers those who created, or are an important part, of its history, often does not have a secure future. In that sense, he added that this effort is not just a way to cherish the past, but is also a way to secure the future. He said that youth should especially be made aware of this effort.”
The Project on Dictionary of Martyrs:
Firstly, it states the definition of a martyr as- “a person who died or who was killed in action or in detention, or was awarded capital punishment while participating in the national movement for the emancipation of India.”
Volumes and the controversy:
The Malabar Rebellion Controversy:
Malabar rebellion took place in the Malabar region in 1921, which turns 100 years in 2021.
It is a rebellion of Muslim Mappila peasants against landlords who were Hindu, Brahmans. It was a period of the khilafat movement where Gandhiji gave a call for the Non-cooperation movement.
Movie on Haji:
This announcement was provoked by the right-wing groups in Kerala such as Hindu Aikya Vedi. Who made open statements objecting to the inclusion of Malabar Rebellion leaders Variamkunnath Kunjahammed Haji and Ali Musaliar as freedom fighters.
Who is Haji :
Haji was a freedom fighter from Malabar who played a crucial role in the Malabar Rebellion against the British and was shot dead by them in 1921.
But as the movement had many Hindu landlords also killed, it is taken as communal and he is not considered as a martyr.
Removing the names from the book – Dictionary of Martyrs:
Removal of the book from Website:
To the surprise, the book was removed from the website of the Union Ministry of Culture in response to protests.
With regarding the removal of the book, ICHR officials have informed to New Indian Express that ‘it was done to “rectify the mistakes in the dictionary”, and that it will be reprinted soon’
Waiting for a Solution in parliament Session:
MP Binoy Viswam brought up the matter during a meeting of 25 MPs. Later it is assured that all parliamentarians would fight back the “saffronisation of history books”.
Further, MP Binoy Viswam had written a letter to PM :
In his “Based on a 2016 report submitted to the ICHR by politically motivated individuals calling for the exclusion of Communist and Muslim martyrs, the ICHR’s actions are deeply worrying and must be stopped immediately.”
Another controversy on this book:
As they both are religious terms. The title of the book itself is debated. There is a widespread analysis of religious angles to specific words like even azaad or shaheed.
It should be a collective inclusive approach rather than associated with a purpose.