AMARINDER FLAYS SGPC’S DECISION TO REMOVE DR. KIRPAL SINGH FROM SIKH HISTORY RESOURCE EDITING PROJECT CHAIRMANSHIP
CHANDIGARH, NOVEMBER 11:
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has taken strong exception to the SGPC decision to remove noted Sikh scholar and eminent historian Dr. Kirpal Singh from his post as chairman of the Sikh History Resource Editing Project in the midst of the controversy over alleged distortion of Sikh history in Class XII school books.
Captain Amarinder Singh flayed the decision, which he said was clearly taken by the SGPC at the behest of their Akali masters.
The Chief Minister pointed to the timing of the decision, which he termed as patently politically motivated, to lambast the Akalis, who were controlling the SGPC, for indulging in cheap political gimmickry to divert public attention from their internal crisis and from the more serious issue of the sacrilege cases, in which the Justice (Retd) Ranjit Singh Commission had found them to be involved.
Had the SGPC been even remotely concerned about 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, said Captain Amarinder Singh. It is noteworthy that a syllabus oversight committee comprising eminent Sikh scholars under the chairmanship of distinguished Sikh historian Dr. Kirpal Singh was constituted by the Captain Amarinder Singh government to look into the matter.
The Chief Minister flayed the Badals for indulging in political witch hunt to create communal unrest in the state to further their political agenda, which had hit a nadir, as was evident from their rejection not just by the people of the state but also by their own senior party leaders.
On the issue of the history syllabus, the Chief Minister said it was the Akalis who were solely responsible for distortions and mistakes in school history books during their regime in 2014, when the Human Resources Ministry of BJP led NDA Government took the first step to ‘rationalize’ the syllabus of social sciences subjects in the name of ‘nationalistic’ approach.
Subsequently, the HRD Ministry gave directions to the states to include a representative of NCERT in the syllabus committee to be constituted for this purpose.
Further, the Chief Minister pointed out, the SAD-BJP government in the state had constituted a 14-member committee, mostly from amongst the teaching staff of Panjab University, Chandigarh, and no one was taken from Punjabi University Patiala or GNDU Amritsar. One junior lecturer from Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Khalsa college, Delhi, was included in the committee.
In the name of rationalisation, the history syllabus was formulated in such a way that history of Punjab was introduced in four classes from 9 to 12 in an incoherent design, Captain Amarinder Singh added.
He further revealed that only two topics of Sikh history were provided for in class XII.
The study of Guru Nanak Dev Ji was included in the Bhakti movement chapter, thereby demeaning his status as founder of Sikhism, Captain Amarinder Singh added.
The Akalis then quietly acquiesced to the fate accompli but created hue and cry after they were shunted out of office, said the Chief Minister, adding that Dr Kirpal Singh’s removal as chairman of the Sikh History Resource Editing Project at this critical juncture, when the syllabus was being reviewed in a rational and apolitical manner, indicated a clear attempt by SAD to sabotage the efforts of the Congress government to resolve the issue in the larger interests of the students.