The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) on May 30 announced the removal of references “Khalistan” from political science textbooks for Class 12.
The action was taken after a representation from the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) which sought the withdrawal of the content “against Sikh community by misrepresenting Sri Anandpur Sahib resolution”, NCERT said in a corrigendum issued on May 30.
The SGPC had last month said that the NCERT misrepresented historical details about Sikhs in its class XII political science textbook. The dropped sentences are: “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'”.
The Anandpur Sahib Resolution was a statement with a list of demands made by the Punjabi Sikh political party, the Shiromani Akali Dal, in 1973. The resolution affirmed the party’s commitment to the Sikh religion and demanded greater autonomy for Punjab. It also demanded that the city of Chandigarh should be handed over to Punjab and that Punjabi should be given second-language status in neighbouring states.
SGPC, in its resolution in April, said that the textbook, Politics in India since Independence, interpreted the 1973 Anandpur Sahib resolution as a “separatist resolution”, and demanded that the text must be removed immediately.
A chapter in the book said that a demand of regional autonomy was raised under the resolution. “The resolution also spoke of the aspirations of the Sikh Quam (community or nation), and declared its goal as attaining the bolbala (dominance or hegemony) of the Sikhs. The resolution was a plea for strengthening federalism, but it could be interpreted as a plea for a separate Sikh nation,” the textbook read.
“A section of religious leaders raised the question of autonomous Sikh identity. The more extreme elements started advocating secession from India and the creation of Khalistan,” the book added.
Subsequently, NCERT formed a committee of experts to examine the issue and following recommendations it decided to make changes in the text.
In its corrigendum, the council said it resolved to drop “… but it could be interpreted as a plea for a separate Sikh nation, and “…the creation of Khalistan” from the above-mentioned paragraphs.
“Representation from SGPC was received for withdrawing objectionable content against Sikh community by misrepresenting Sri Anandpur Sahib resolution. A committee of experts was constituted and the decision was taken on basis of (its) recommendations,” said Sanjay Kumar, secretary, school education, ministry of education. “A corrigendum has been issued. While the physical books for the new academic session have already been printed, the changes will reflect in the digital books,” Kumar added.