Tribune News Service
Chandigarh/Patiala, April 28
The deletion of 23 chapters from the Class XII history book of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) — pertaining to important aspects of the Sikh history— has raised a storm in the state.
The PSEB, after reviewing the syllabus, has reportedly removed the chapters concerning the history of Sikh gurus and their teachings — Anglo-Sikh wars; the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and annexation of Punjab among others, from the textbook.
While newly inducted Education Minister OP Soni said he was not aware of this, PSEB officials admit that certain chapters from the last year’s syllabus have been deleted to “bring the syllabus on a par with the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT)”.
They added that these chapters would now be taught in Class XI, and the new textbooks were currently in print. However, the syllabus of class XI, circulated online to some schools, does not mention that the ancient Sikh history will be included in their textbooks. It is learnt that while a print order for 11,000 history books was made, 3,500 have already been printed. The new syllabus of Class XII , without the above mentioned chapters, has also been shared online with the affiliated schools.
Among other important aspects of Punjab history that are no longer part of the Class XII history book are chapters on Sikh struggle against Mughals and Ahmad Shah Abdali and the origin and growth of Sikh Misls and Banda Singh Bahadur. These have been replaced by chapters on modern history, early and medieval history and political and economic developments in these periods and the rise of nationalism and freedom struggle.
As the matter took political overtones with former Education Minister and SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema demanding a high-level probe and action against officials guilty of deleting chapters and wrote a letter to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the latter dismissed as malicious the SAD’s allegation of deletion of chapters on Sikh gurus.
Lambasting Akali Dal leaders for trying to spread “misinformation” on a sensitive religious issue, the CM said Akalis had shown gross irresponsibility by making a baseless public statement without bothering to check on the facts. “The fact is that the courses have merely been realigned with the NCERT syllabus to enable students from Punjab to compete at the national level," said the Chief Minister, making it clear that not even a single word had been deleted by the board.
The history chapters had been now spread across classes XI and XII, on the recommendation of an expert committee, of which a SGPC representative was also a member, he said. He added that under his directive, a chapter on the lives of four Sahibzadas had been incorporated in the textbooks.
Prof Gurmeet Singh Sidhu, head of the department of religious studies, Punjabi University, said the PSEB had omitted major parts of Punjab history from classes XI and XII syllabus. Moreover, the facts were wrong and history had been distorted.
“Removing the Sikh history means we are depriving our students of knowing their past, which is highly damaging for any culture. I have read Class XII and I am shocked to find so many factual errors in the book, which shows that the board was least concerned about Punjab history. We have constituted a three-member committee which will be presenting a report to the CM and the Education Minister, along with supporting documents highlighting all mistakes,” he said.
Chapters were based on history of Sikh gurus, their teachings
- The PSEB, after reviewing the syllabus, has reportedly removed the chapters concerning the history of Sikh gurus and their teachings — Anglo-Sikh wars; the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and annexation of Punjab among others, from the Class XII history textbook.
- PSEB officials admit that certain chapters from the last year’s syllabus have been deleted to “bring it on a par with the National Council of Educational Research and Training ”.
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