Actress Aishwarya Lekshmi, actor Chiyaan Vikram, and actor Karthi, whose historical drama 'Ponniyin Selvan 2' debuted in theatres on Friday, believe that our education system has generally treated the indigenous empires or dynasties of India unfairly. A recent controversy and debate about what should be covered in academic history erupted over the removal of references to the Mughal era from Uttar Pradesh's coursebooks.
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Compared to the dynasties that came to India as part of the conquest, the indigenous empires of India are mentioned in the history textbooks at the elementary and secondary levels far less frequently.
Aishwarya Lekshmi mentioned, “From what I know, yes there has been some level of unfairness towards the indigenous empires of India. It would take a lot of research to get a little bit of information about them in that direction. Kalki’s novel ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ (on which the Mani Ratnam magnum opus is based) is actually a window to the 10th century of southern India, how progressive we were at that time and how much chasing westernisation led us to go back in time.”
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Actor Chiyaan Vikram agreed with Aishwarya that Indian society at the time was highly progressive for its period. The actor said, “At that time, America wasn’t even discovered and we had thriving societies under different empires.”
Karthi also responded, “Only when the British came, they started doing a lot of research and started documenting the history. I’m sure a history student would know a lot more about each dynasty as per their specialisation. But, for school level history a proper panel of intellectuals should sit and decide what should be included in the course material to give a holistic view.”