NCERT Revises Class 12 Textbook: Khalistan Demand References Dropped

by Manjari Singh

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has recently made revisions to the class 12 political science textbook, removing references to the demand for a separate Sikh nation called Khalistan. This decision came after objections were raised by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), as confirmed by officials from the education ministry.

Last month, the SGPC accused the NCERT of misrepresenting historical facts about Sikhs in its Class 12 political science textbook. The objection specifically revolved around the mention of the Anandpur Sahib resolution in the book titled “Politics In India Since Independence”.

The sentences that have been dropped from the textbook include: “the resolution was a plea for strengthening federalism but it could also be interpreted as a plea for a separate Sikh nation” and “the more extreme elements started advocating secession from India and the creation of ‘Khalistan'”.

Sanjay Kumar, the School Education Secretary at the Ministry of Education, explained the situation by stating, “Representation from SGPC was received regarding withdrawing objectionable content against the Sikh community by misrepresenting Sri Anandpur Sahib resolution. A committee of experts was constituted by NCERT to examine the issue, and the decision was taken based on the recommendations of the panel.”

Kumar further added, “A corrigendum has been issued by NCERT. While the physical books for the new academic session have already been printed, the changes will reflect in the digital books.”

The Anandpur Sahib resolution was adopted by the Shiromani Akali Dal in 1973. It emphasized the party’s commitment to the Sikh religion and called for greater autonomy for Punjab. The resolution also demanded that the city of Chandigarh be handed over to Punjab and that Punjabi be given second-language status in neighboring states.

The removal of various topics and portions from NCERT textbooks sparked controversy last month, with opposition parties accusing the government of “whitewashing with vengeance”.

The controversy arose because while changes made as part of the rationalization exercise were officially notified, some of the controversial deletions were not mentioned. This led to allegations of an attempt to delete these portions surreptitiously.

Initially, the NCERT described the omissions as a possible oversight but refused to undo the deletions, stating that they were based on the recommendations of experts. The organization also mentioned that the textbooks were scheduled for revision in 2024 when the National Curriculum Framework would be implemented.

However, the NCERT later revised its stance, stating that “minor changes need not be notified”.

Among the references dropped from the class 12 history textbook were certain portions related to Mahatma Gandhi and how his pursuit of Hindu-Muslim unity “provoked Hindu extremists”, as well as a section about the ban on the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh).

The deleted portions from the textbook included statements such as “Gandhiji’s death had a magical effect on the communal situation in the country,” “Gandhi’s pursuit of Hindu-Muslim unity provoked Hindu extremists,” and “Organizations like RSS were banned for some time.”

Additionally, references to the Gujarat riots were also removed from the class 11 sociology textbook, following the earlier removal of the mention of the 2022 communal violence from two class 12 textbooks by the NCERT.

Manjari Singh

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