Capt Amarinder corners opposition over school history books issue
Chandigarh April 30 : Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday warned the Opposition against harming the interests of the state by playing politics on over the issue of Sikh Gurus in school history books.The Chief Minister lambasted Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal for his statements on the issue, in which he said had the potential to disturb the peace and harmony of the state.
He also condemned the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for joining the vilification campaign against the government without bothering to verify the facts of the matter.
In a statement issued here, the Chief Minister countered the claims of the Opposition.
He pointed out that it was during the Akalis regime, in 2014, when the decision to realign the courses with the NCERT syllabus was taken.
"Further, the SGPC was party to all the discussions on the issue since his government took over in March last year," said Captain Amarinder in a release.
"It was on January 9, 2014 that an expert committee was proposed to be set up to discuss the issue of realignment and to finalise the History syllabus from Class IX to XII," said the Chief Minister.
He added that the subject was discussed by the committee over a series of meetings held thereafter, with inputs taken from the Director (Assistant professor, NCERT).
"The syllabus thus finalised was uploaded on the Board's website in March 2014. The SGPC had then objected to the syllabus finalised for Class IX in 2015, while there was no consensus achieved on the course for other classes. Eventually, after re-doing the syllabus, the books for Classes IX and X were published by the Board in 2016, and those of Classes XI and XII were decided to be published in 2018," said the Chief Minister.
The Chief Minister further disclosed that soon after taking over the state's reins, his government had written to SGPC in March 2017 for discussion on the issue of the History course realignment, given the sensitive nature of the subject.
He added that in response, the SGPC had deputed Prof Paramveer Singh of Panjabi University Patiala, who attended all the meetings held to deliberate on the matter.
He flayed Longonwal for deliberately hiding the real facts on the issue for the sake of promoting his vested political ambitions.
"Contrary to what was being wilfully wrongly projected by the Opposition as well as the SGPC, my government had taken every precaution, in the process of the syllabus realignment, to ensure that there is no dilution of Sikh religious history in the course study," the Chief Minister said.
The Chief Minister said the Class XI history book they were citing and quoting in support of their allegations had not even been printed yet.
"Their charges that the chapters on the Sikh Gurus were missing from the books were an obvious lie which they were trying to peddle as a truth with their false propaganda," he added.
The Chief Minister made it clear that the entire history of the Sikh Gurus has been retained in the realigned syllabus, with no cutting or pruning done.
"The chapters and materials on Sikh history had been organised in a more cohesive format for ease of learning, across Classes XI and XII," he added.
Following the realignment, the entire period from Guru Nanak Devi ji to Guru Gobind Singh ji, and martyrdom of the four Sahibzadas, are now being taught in Class XI in a coherent manner, he said, adding that the history of the four Sahibzadas had been incorporated on his personal recommendation. In fact, also on his personal suggestion, the Class X history has now incorporated information on the Sargarhi Battle and the noted Sikh General Sham Singh Attariwala, said the Chief Minister.
Clarifying that the entire period of Sikh history is now being taught at the Secondary and Senior Secondary levels, the Chief Minister pointed out that the outline of any syllabus prepared by a Board or University is based on themes and not chapters. The chapters are created by printers and publishers as per their own choice and convenience, he said.