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Mughals withering away from school textbooks: Genghis Khan (circa 1162-1227) – a look at his dynasty
'Mughals are a lost chapter in the state board's textbooks'

As an engineer, who has peripheral interest in history and culture, it shocked me to no end to read today's (7th August, 2017) above headline in Mumbai Mirror. It went on: 'History textbooks for Std VII and IX revised. Akbar's reign reduced to three lines as focus is on Shivaji's Maratha Empire'.

It is true that India has been raided, looted and its women raped repeatedly by the likes of Muhammad Ghazni and Nadir Shah. But we also have to remember, that in many cases the invader managed to conquer us, because some local satrap, to meet his own selfish ends, chose to side with the invader! This has repeatedly happened in Indian history: culminating with the entire Indian subcontinent coming under British rule. The local rajas and maharajas bought their 'autonomy', by unconditionally pledging their servility to the British crown.

Perhaps it is worth taking a dispassionate look at Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire. (See inset) He and his descendents ruled half of the known world – from Europe to Indian subcontinent to China, for more than 600 years. Taimur Lang (Tamerlane) was not a descendent, but married into the family. What was behind their sustained success?

An exhaustive, well researched biography published a few years ago, reveals that apart from having devised unmatched warfare strategies, he was a very able ruler. 'The name echoes through the history of Europe and Asia with a drumbeat of horse-hooves, accompanied by the screams of doomed townspeople. Incredibly, in a span of just 25 years, Genghis Khan's horsemen conquered a larger area and greater population than the Romans did in four centuries'.

'Going against custom, he put competent allies rather than relatives in key positions and executed the leaders of enemy tribes while incorporating the remaining members into his clan. Though he was an animist, his followers included Christians, Muslims and Buddhists'.

My take away from the massive book was: He was a ruthless attacker, but was not a raider! He encouraged his generals to settle down in the conquered territories, adopt local ways of life and establish good local governance. 'He devised a system of laws and regulations to run this new empire of his.

"In accordance and agreement with his own mind he established a rule for every occasion and a regulation for every circumstance; while for every crime he fixed a penalty," wrote the Persian writer Ata-Malik Juvayni, who lived in the 13th century, in his book "History of the World Conqueror".

Thus Babar, a descendent of Taimur established the Mughal dynasty in India. Another branch of the dynasty, similarly ruled China for over 600 years! Good, bad, indifferent or shameful, this is our history!

Do the re-writers of our history want the nation to believe that the above never happened? Lessons from Indian history should not be forgotten. And one lesson is, that it is our narrow self interest and lack of unity, which has helped others to conquer us! With divisiveness, are we on the right track?

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