Some Indians are calling for a Muslim empire to be wiped from history books

Image of Indian King Babur
Image caption King Babur was the first Mughal king who ruled over India - but now some Indians are calling for him to be erased from history books

Some Indians online are demanding that a key period of history be wiped out from books - but why?

They have been using the hashtag "Remove Mughals From Books" to try to scrub references to the dynasty that ruled the subcontinent in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Mughal Empire consolidated Islam in South Asia and spread Muslim arts and culture as well as the faith. The heritage that has remained from the era is rich in terms of architecture, literature and cuisine. However, the Mughals also killed Hindus, forced them to convert to Islam and destroyed Hindu temples.

The history-deleting hashtag gathered steam after a recent speech by India's Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani, a member of the ruling Hindu nationalist BJP party. In the speech, Irani railed against a history book aimed at primary school pupils, claiming that it misrepresented religious tensions in the country and insulted Shivaji, a Hindu warrior king who many view as a national hero.

After Irani's speech, chatter online reignited a long-simmering debate about the legacy of the Mughal empire, which has been a rallying cry for many Hindu nationalists. "Remove Mughals From Books" has since been used more than 35,000 times on Twitter.


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Some people likened the Mughal kings to the militants of so-called Islamic State.

"It is better that we remove Mughals from books. They were ISIS of India," reads one comment. But another tweeter argued: "Don't remove Mughals from books but show the brutality they did on Indians, just like what ISIS is doing today!" While the hashtag was trending in India, many opposed to editing history joined in the conversation, and the backlash against the idea was about as big as the support for it.

Some of India's most famous monuments, including the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort, were built by the Mughals, which prompted this response from popular author Chetan Bhagat:

Image copyright Twitter/@chetan_bhagat

In addition to art and architecture, many pointed out the popularity of Mughlai food, which is extremely popular in India and includes many dishes that are commonly considered traditional Indian fare, such as biryani.

One user joked that getting rid of mentions of the empire from history books was fine, "As long as they don't remove Mughlai from cuisine."

Image copyright Twitter/@tweet_Serious

Blog by Nooshin Soluch

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