Punjab CM flays Kirpal Singh's removal from Sikh History Resource Project
Chandigarh (Punjab), Nov 12 : Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has taken strong exception to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) decision to remove noted Sikh scholar and eminent historian Kirpal Singh as the chairman of the Sikh History Resource Editing Project amidst a controversy over alleged distortion of Sikhs history in class 12 textbooks.
Pointing to the timing of the decision, the Chief Minister termed the decision as "patently politically motivated". He further alleged that Akalis are 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 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," Singh said in a statement.
A syllabus oversight committee comprising eminent Sikh scholars under the chairmanship of Kirpal Singh was constituted by the Punjab government to look into the alleged distortion of Sikhs history.
Singh slammed the Badals while accusing them of for indulging in a political witch hunt to create communal unrest in the state to further their political agenda.
On the issue of the history syllabus, Singh 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," Singh added.
He further pointed out that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (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," he added.
The Chief Minister further alleged that in the name of rationalisation, the history syllabus was formulated in such a way that the history of Punjab was introduced in four classes from 9 to 12 in an incoherent design.
He further revealed that only two topics of Sikh history were included in the class 12 syllabus.
"The study of Guru Nanak Dev Ji was included in the Bhakti movement chapter, thereby demeaning his status as founder of Sikhism.. The Akalis quietly acquiesced to the fate accompli but created hue and cry after they were shunted out of office," Singh said.
He further said that Kirpal Singh's removal as chairman 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.