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Posted at: Nov 12, 2018, 1:41 AM; last updated: Nov 12, 2018, 1:41 AM (IST)

Panel head blames minister for ‘hasty’ revision of history books

Claims pressure led to unedited copies getting uploaded
Panel head blames minister for ‘hasty’ revision of history books
Prof Kirpal Singh, Head of revision panel

Sanjeev Singh Bariana

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11

Heading a six-member oversight committee on the revision of history books of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) for Classes XI and XII, Prof Kirpal Singh on Sunday accused Education Minister OP Soni of pressuring historians to do a “hasty” revision of books so that students’ classes were not delayed.

The pressure for fast results led to unedited copies of history chapters being uploaded on the department website, he claimed. The errors are being quoted as the reason for withdrawing the services of Dr Kirpal Singh as chairperson of the Sikh History Resource Editing Project by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

Prof Kirpal Singh has written a letter to SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal stating, “Chapters one to five of Class XII, which were written by Prof JS Grewal, were given to me. The copy of the text edited by me ran into four-five pages. I submitted it to the board. I still have the original copies with me. The copies that were uploaded on the website were only partially edited due to the pressure from the Education Minister.”

In a related development, the core committee of SAD also took note of a letter written by Prof Kirpal Singh explaining why distortions had been printed in the new books. It noted that Prof Kirpal Singh had not only vindicated the stand taken by SAD but also pinned down the blame for intolerable distortions and insults inflicted on the Gurus to Education Minister Soni.

Prof Kirpal Singh said, “The copies with controversial contents were later removed after my recommendation. I have not committed any mistake. I hope you will take cognisance of my submissions. Anyone who is being punished needs to be heard as well.” He also said he had tried his best to contact SGPC members during the progress of committee proceedings.

Talking to The Tribune, Prof JS Grewal said, “I am not aware of any such communication from Prof Kirpal Singh, so I will not like to comment.”

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh flayed the decision of the SGPC, saying it had been taken at the behest of their Akali masters. “Had the SGPC been even remotely concerned about the distortion of history syllabus of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), their two members, who were part of the oversight committee set up to review the syllabus, would have attended the meetings of the panel,” he said. The CM pointed towards the timing of the decision saying SAD was indulging in cheap political gimmickry to divert public’s attention from its internal crisis.

Rush Job: Historian

Chapters 1-5 of Class XII, which were written by Prof JS Grewal, were given to me. The copy of the text edited by me ran into four-five pages. I submitted it to the board.  I still have the original copies with me. The copies that were uploaded on the website were only partially edited due to the pressure from the Education Minister. —Prof Kirpal Singh, Head of revision panel

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