Punjab

CAPT AMARINDER SINGH TAKES OPPOSITION HEAD-ON OVER SCHOOL HISTORY BOOKS ISSUE, SONI DEMANDED RESIGNATION OF SUKHBIR

April 30, 2018 09:09 PM

Chandigarh (Face2News)

• SAYS DECISION TO REALIGN SYLLABUS TAKEN DURING AKALI RULE, SGPC NOMINEE PART OF ALL DISCUSSIONS SINCE MARCH ‘17
• NAILS AKALI & AAP LIES ON DELETION OF CHAPTERS ON SIKH GURUS, COUNTERS WITH DETAILED MAPPING OF SYLLABUS

Taking the Opposition head-on over the issue of Sikh Gurus in school history books, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday trashed their vile allegations, and warned them against harming the interests of the state by playing politics on an issue involving religious sentiments and sensitivities.

Meanwhile Mr. O.P. Soni Punjab School Education Minister OP Soni has demanded the resignation of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal in the wake of the Chief Minister’s detailed rebuttal to his baseless allegations.

The Chief Minister minced no words in lambasting Akali president Sukhbir Singh Badal for his baseless statements on the issue, 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.

Lashing out at the parties and their leaders for their shameless and reckless statements, the Chief Minister expressed shock at their blatant efforts to mislead the people of the state. In the process, they were also playing with the careers and lives of school children by dragging them into a needless controversy, he added.

In a statement issued here, the Chief Minister countered the unfounded claims of the Opposition with hard facts. 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.

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, adding 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.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. In response, the SGPC had deputed Prof Paramveer Singh of Panjabi University Patiala, who attended all the meetings held to deliberate on the matter, said Captain Amarinder, flaying 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, his 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.

Nailing the Opposition’s lies on the issue, 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, trashing the Opposition’s claims on reduction in chapters on the Sikh Gurus.

The Chief Minister said he had personally sought a detailed mapping of the old syllabus of Class XI in New syllabus for Class XII and also of the old syllabus of Class XII in New syllabus for Class XI. Both clearly showed that not a single piece of information on the Sikh history or the Sikh Gurus had been dropped in the process of realignment.
What is more, to ensure that there is no mutilation of Sikh history and culture, the government has handed over the task of printing of these books to the Punjab State Education Board (PSEB), which was earlier not involved in the process, leaving it to private publishers to print the books and sell them at exorbitant prices.
With PSEB taking over the printing of history books, not only has the cost come down to less than one-fourth but the authenticity of the content is also assured, said the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister further said that he and his government have the highest regard for the Gurus and will never do anything that mitigates their contribution to the country and the Sikh religion.

SONI DEMANDS SUKHBIR RESIGNATION IN WAKE OF CM’S REBUTTAL CHARGES ON HISTORY BOOKS

Lashing out at the Akalis over the disinformation campaign unleashed by them on the issue of school history books, Punjab School Education Minister OP Soni has demanded the resignation of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal in the wake of the Chief Minister’s detailed rebuttal to his baseless allegations.Captain Amarinder Singh had not only taken on Sukhbir’s challenge but had gone a step ahead to expose the lies he had been branding about for the last couple of days, said Soni, adding that the detailed mapping of the syllabus of Classes IX and XII released by the Chief Minister clearly showed that there was no deletion or dilution of the history of the Sikh Gurus in the school syllabus.

The Minister expressed shock at the brazen attempt of the Akalis to politicise a sensitive issue like religion, saying the Badals had once again proved that they could stoop to any lows to promote their vested personal interests. Soni further ridiculed the Akalis for seeking to take a high moral ground about school text books after allowing such books to be used to promote vulgarity during their own regime. He recalled the 2013 controversy surrounding school books by private suppliers, said to have been hand-picked by then Education Minister Sikander Singh Maluka. Those books had to be withdrawn after they were found not only to be full of errors but to be making vulgar and sexist remarks about women, he pointed out.

Given the fact that those books had been approved by a panel of five officials of the erstwhile SAD-BJP regime, the Akalis were the last people who could be said to be qualified to judge the quality or standards of any school books, said Soni.

The incident, said Soni, had also exposed the total lack of quality control on text books by private publishers, who had been entrusted with the task of printing of all History books, and were selling these books at exorbitant costs. 
The Captain Amarinder government had, for the first time, handed over the task of printing the History books to the Punjab State Education Board (PSEB), which was earlier not involved in the process, the Education Minister pointed out, adding that this reflected the government’s commitment to ensuring that there is no mutilation of Sikh history or culture. The authenticity of the content will now be ensured with this move, he added.

AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira also came in for criticism by Soni, who pointed out that as the Congress spokesperson, Khaira had in 2013 been among the most vocal and vociferous politicians to attack the Akalis in the wake of the textbook controversy. 

WHAT BJP SAYS AFTER CLARIFICATION BY CAPTAIN  AMRINDER SINGH  

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has slammed Congress party and its government led by Capt Amarinder Singh for deletion of chapters pertaining to Sikh History from School History Books in the state. The BJP asked Capt Amarinder and Education Minister to revert the decision of deletion of chapters and tender an unqualified apology to assuage the feelings of people of Punjab. 

Tarun Chugh, the national secretary of the BJP said the Congress was continuing with its agenda of imposing and patronising British slavery and left ideology even after 70 years of independence.  "The Congress government is playing with the sentiments of the people as it is hell bent on hitting the original culture and pride of Indian history by ignoring/deleting chapters related to Sikh Gurus from the history books meant for school students," he said.   

Terming it as a deep-rooted conspiracy to deprive students of Punjab from learning the history and teachings of the great Gurus, Chugh said the Congress government was proving it to be the 'rightful' heir of Macaulay. 

Chugh said the Congress government was trying to divert the attention from the infighting within the Congress and has in the process exposed itself to be a government of atheists.

He said that people belonging to different religions, castes and creeds hold the Sikh Gurus in high esteem and derive spiritual inspiration from them but Amarinder government's rigid attitude to go ahead with the deletion of chapters indicates some 'hidden agenda' which needs to be questioned and exposed.

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