Some Indians are calling for a Muslim empire to be wiped from history books

“Some Indians online are demanding that a key period of history be wiped out from books – but why?

They have been using the hashtag “Remove Mughals From Books” to try to scrub references to the dynasty that ruled the subcontinent in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Mughal Empire consolidated Islam in South Asia and spread Muslim arts and culture as well as the faith. The heritage that has remained from the era is rich in terms of architecture, literature and cuisine. However, the Mughals also killed Hindus, forced them to convert to Islam and destroyed Hindu temples.

The history-deleting hashtag caught steam after a recent speech by India’s Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani, a member of the ruling Hindu nationalist BJP party. In the speech, Irani railed against a history book aimed at primary school pupils, claiming that it misrepresented religious tensions in the country and insulted Shivaji, a Hindu warrior king who many view as a national hero.

After Irani’s speech, chatter online reignited a long-simmering debate about the legacy of the Mughal empire, which has been a rallying cry for many Hindu nationalists. “Remove Mughals From Books” has since been used more than 35,000 times on Twitter.”