Intolerance is alarming: Pawar

Mumbai: Reigniting the debate on intolerance, NCP chief Sharad Pawar today said it has reached “alarming” proportions even as he alleged that attempts are being made to convert India into a “Hindu Rashtra” by distorting history in school textbooks.

Addressing a conference of 70 historians from across the country at Y B Chavan Auditorium here, he exhorted historians to come together and “pen the truth” for the sake of next generation.

“Historians are concerned about the intolerance under (the) present atmosphere. It is quite alarming. The manner in which the idea of (a) ‘Hindu Rashtra’ is being promoted can prove to be harmful to the unity and integrity of the nation,” Pawar said in a series of tweets, after his address.

The NCP chief said that his meeting with historians is only the first step and that he would take the issue ahead by organising various groups to keep the movement alive.

“I am happy that the section of historians and intellectuals have decided to open up and speak in the interest of the society,” he tweeted.

In his lecture, the veteran politician alleged that an awareness needs to be created among the youth that some people are trying to “corrupt” their minds to spread poison in society.

“Some people are working with an intention of converting India into a Hindu Rashtra by distorting history in school textbooks. This will prove to be dangerous as this will harm the secular fabric of the country,” he said.

“Articles need to be written, discussions should take place on this issue as it is a grave matter,” the NCP leader said.

Pawar said that the notion that Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji was anti-Muslim was a misleading one.

“Some people are spreading rumours that Shivaji Maharaj was anti-Muslim. The fact is that he placed Muslims in important positions in his army. Spreading such hatred is not good for secularism and national integration,” he added.

Pawar appealed to the historians to not let the “unscrupulous” elements succeed.

“If these elements succeed what will we teach the next generation? There must be a mechanism or institutions to take measures to correct distorted history,” he said, adding that he will provide help in correcting facts in every possible way.

He said a separate ‘history wing’ will be set up at Y B Chavan Centre, and historians can take up the responsibility of organising seminars and discussions there.

Pawar recently sharpened his attack on the saffron party in the wake of arrest of former NCP MP Sameer Bhujbal, nephew of the party stalwart Chhagan Bhujbal, in a money laundering case.