Maharana Pratap ‘patriotism’ tour for college students
Veteran RSS pracharak Sohan Singh had envisioned the Kendra to promote Pratap as an icon for the youth. Its foundation stone was laid in 2008 by Mohan Bhagwat, the current RSS chief.
Bhagwat opened the Kendra in November last year in presence of then Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma and Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also visited the place during his Udaipur visit this August.
The centre has a 57-foot metal statue of Pratap, weighing about 40,000 kg, and one of the Kendra’ galleries is Haldighati Vijay Yudh Dirgha, which tells the story of the Battle of Haldighati – fought between Pratap and Mughal emperor Akbar’s forces using illustrations. An e-brochure states: “Maharana Pratap was clearly victorious on the army of Akbar in Haldighati war.”
Congress leader and former Rajasthan education minister Bhanwarlal Meghwal said, “We love Maharana Pratap more than them and we are not against the tour. But the state government should not bind colleges to take its students to the Kendra. It is fine as long as students are willing to go there on their own, but there should be no imposition. So the order by the Education department is wrong.”
Congress state vice-president Archana Sharma said: “There are many monuments in Rajasthan which portray Maharana Pratap’s greatness, but there is no government initiative to promote them. So it proves that the government is promoting a project developed by the RSS.”
The state government has been under fire for undertaking a comprehensive review of its textbooks to give more space to RSS ideologues, while sidelining other national icons. It has also revised textbooks to state that Pratap did not lose the Battle of Haldighati.