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Days after govt deleted para on Mughals, culture section of govt website becomes a photo gallery

Two days after the Information Technology Ministry removed a paragraph on the Mughal Empire from its website, the ‘Culture and Heritage’ section of knowindia.gov.in has been turned into a photo gallery.

The section, which showcased India’s history, tradition, monuments, arts and other activities, was removed Tuesday. It reappeared Wednesday, without any text, displaying merely 30 photographs showcasing dance forms and monuments. Sources told The Indian Express that the “corrected text, portraying the actual history” will be floated on the website in a few weeks.

On Monday, a paragraph on the IT Ministry site describing the Mughal Empire as among the “greatest ever” was deleted when complaints tagging the Ministry of Culture were raised on social media. Even as the Ministry distanced itself from the issue, it also said that it was working with the agencies to “accurately portray the events”.

Maintaining that neither was the content generated by any department of it nor had it made any recommendations to the MeITY, the Ministry of Culture had tweeted: “It has been brought to the Ministry’s notice about content in Know India website (KnowIndia.gov.in) that misrepresents India’s history. The Ministry of Culture does not run this website and is working with the concerned entities to accurately portray the events.”

The paragraph on the Mughals, on the IT Ministry site’s Medieval India page, said: “In India, the Mughal Empire was one of the greatest empires ever. The Mughal Empire ruled hundreds of millions of people. India became united under one rule, and had very prosperous cultural and political years during the Mughal rule. There were many Muslim and Hindu kingdoms split all throughout India until the founders of the Mughal Empire came.”

The website is run by the National Informatics Centre, an attached office under the IT Ministry, which provides infrastructure to help support the delivery of government IT services and the initiatives of Digital India.

Mumbai-based author Ratan Sharda, who had flagged the issue on Twitter, says, “A lot of material or government websites and even on plaques outside the monuments misrepresent our history or are factually incorrect. Concerned citizens and authorities should revisit these contents and ensure any earlier attempt to whitewash any part of Indian history should now be corrected.”

He also cited the example of the Ajanta-Ellora caves, adding a board outside the UNESCO World Heritage Monument calls it “Buddhist, Jain and Brahmanical caves” while there is nothing called “Brahmanical caves”.

Besides the photo gallery that also has images of Indian customs and tourist spots, knowindia.gov.in mostly redirects users to the websites of other concerned ministries and states. A Profile page on the website calls India “one of the oldest civilizations in the world with a kaleidoscopic variety and rich cultural heritage”. It also adds that the country has “achieved all-round socio-economic progress since Independence”.

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