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  India   All India  05 May 2018  Row over bid to ‘rewrite’ Sikh history in books

Row over bid to ‘rewrite’ Sikh history in books

THE ASIAN AGE. | TANVEER THAKUR
Published : May 5, 2018, 6:12 am IST
Updated : May 5, 2018, 6:12 am IST

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), a top religious body of the Sikhs, has sought an apology from CM Capt Amarinder Singh.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh
 Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh

Chandigarh: A political controversy has erupted in Punjab over an alleged attempt by the state government to “expunge” a few chapters on Sikh history from school textbooks for Classes 11 and 12 students enrolled for Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) exams.

The Opposition Akali Dal and the AAP both are trying to corner the ruling Congress on the emotive issue by saying that the state government is deliberately trying to temper with Sikh history chapters in the school books. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), a top religious body of the Sikhs, has sought an apology from chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

Chapters allegedely removed from the books were on Sikh gurus and warriors, Anglo-Sikh wars, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Sikh struggle against Mughals and Ahmad Shah Abdali and the origin and growth of Sikhism.

The controversy erupted when PSEB came out with a new syllabus of history for Classes 11 and 12. While the new Class 12 history textbook is out, the final draft of textbook for Class 11 has been almost finalised and will be printed within two weeks.

The leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly and AAP leader Sukhpal Khaira has accused chief minister of acting at the behest of the BJP in tinkering with the chapters on Sikh gurus in  history textbooks.   

Chief minister Amarinder Singh, who is a well-known military historian, has said that the new syllabus is an attempt to align the books with Ncert course so that students from Punjab can compete nationally.

He said that the Opposition parties are playing politics over an issue involving religious sentiments and sensitivities. The SGPC was party to all the discussions on the issue since his government took over in March last year, he said.

The SAD has kicked up a storm by accusing the PSEB of diluting the content on Sikh history by deleting most of the 23 chapters pertaining to the Sikh gurus and their teachings from the Class 12 book on the pretext of shifting the content to Class 11 books.

SAD president and former Punjab deputy chief minister Sardar Sukhbir Singh Badal challenged the  chief minister to produce before media copies of the PSEB’s new  book  on history for Class 11 to prove his claim that chapters on Sikh history  deleted from the syllabus of Class 12 and had merely been shifted to the syllabus of Class 11.

“I dare the chief minister to share with everyone the new book  containing all the old chapters on Sikh history today itself before his officers try to deceive the people by getting a new book printed now to hide their mischief in deleting Sikh history from the syllabus,” said Mr Badal.

The SAD and the AAP want a probe and action against those responsible for this change.

Tags: amarinder singh, sikh, punjab school education board
Location: India, Chandigarh