There is a "huge gap" in the history of Sikhism that needs to be filled, Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Thursday as he released a book on Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth guru of the Sikhs. At the launch of academician Kuldeep Chand Agnihotri's book 'Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur', Puri said British Indian historiography was very "deficient".
"As a student of history, I feel one should always ask who has written that history... In the Mughal period, Mughal emperors got history written from their own perspective, it was not from the perspective of people. This is called historiography," he said.
"British Indian historiography particularly was very deficient," Puri said, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that "we need to leave the colonial mindset". "When we talk about colonial mindset, where does it start?" he said.
Puri referred to British administrator and author Max Arthur Macauliffe, who is known for his writings on the history of Sikhism, saying, "He wrote on the 10 gurus. He was a civil servant... The British were ruling us, they sent a civil servant to India... I am not questioning his integrity, I am just trying to understand his mindset."
"Serious work on Sikh history needs to be started. If you read the history of that time and see who has written it, it's obvious it was not countered properly by us," he said. The Union minister also referred to British historian and politician Thomas Babington Macaulay and said "he said a single shelf of English literature was worth all libraries in the Indian subcontinent... ".
Macaulay is known for his 'Minute on Indian Education' which stressed the need to impart English education to Indians. "There is a huge gap in the history of Sikh gurus. Books like this will fill that void," he said. Agnihotri, in his remarks, said the history of Sikh Gurus as recorded was largely sourced from "Persian and British sources".
"Both are biased," he said. Chief of the National Commission of Minorities Iqbal Singh Lalpura, meanwhile, said not much research has been done on Sikhism.