India’s missing military history curriculum creates strategic void

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, December 29: At a time when India aspires to be among the top three economies of the world and take the high table on the global stage, strategic thinkers lament the missing Indian military history curriculum even while the global events are taught to the students. The strategic thinkers also lament the lack of awareness among the people within the country about some of the landmark military events.

Even while the Narendra Modi led NDA government at the Centre is pushing for the adoption of the New Education Policy with a thrust to the ‘Indianness’ of the curriculum, the strategic thinkers rue hesitation in including the Indian military history into the CBSE books. “We as students were taught the history of the military events in Europe and other continents. We never find curriculum in schools teaching the history of the Indian military events. This disconnect continues to persist,” Darshan Singh, Chairman of the Welham Boys School, told The Raisina Hills.

In fact, most of the Indian military events after Independence gained popular familiarity after they were featured in the films such as the Battle of Longewala in the 1965 War with Pakistan. Singh also stated that several representations were made to the CBSE and others to press for the needs of the inclusion of the history of the Indian military in the curriculum, but to no avails.

“We made presentation to the CBSE and others. Over 100 subjects are being taught by the CBSE, but the post-Independence history with reference to the Indian military largely is ignored, added Singh, who has a three generations connections with the Armed Forces. His paternal grandfather was in the Imperial Cadet Corps. Singh’s father served in the RIMC and was a Major General. His maternal grandfather went to Sandhurst, while his mother’s brother was Vice Chief of the IAF.

Singh recently made the case for the inclusion of the Indian military history in the CBSE curriculum at an event which was attended by Union Minister Gen (Retd) VK Singh and several retired personnel from the Armed Forces. The Indian Army in fact played key roles in the two World Wars, while India faced four more major wars since Independence – 1965, 1971 and 1999 with Pakistan and 1962 with China. Besides, the strategic affairs commentators argue that the Indian military has shown valour in several other battles, which may not capture the popular memory within the country, with Pakistan and China. The Indian Armed Forces were also involved in the peacekeeping efforts in Sri Lanka, which have also been conveniently forgotten. Yet, several books have come out to chronicle the Indian military history even while the CBSE gives it a miss.

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