NCERT Drops Khalistan Mention From Syllabus: What It Means For Sikh History And Politics

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NCERT Drops Khalistan Mention From Syllabus
Image Credit: https://ncert.nic.in/

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has decided to remove the mention of Khalistan, a proposed separate Sikh nation, from its Class 12 political science textbook.

NCERT Drops Khalistan Mention From Syllabus

The decision was taken after the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex body for management of gurdwaras in Punjab, wrote a letter to the NCERT demanding that the “objectionable content” against Sikhs be removed.

What was the objectionable content?

The SGPC objected to a paragraph in the chapter titled ‘Regional Aspirations’, which describes the changes in India post-partition. The paragraph talks about the Anandpur Sahib Resolution of 1973, which was initiated by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), a political party representing the Sikhs. The resolution asks for more powers to states and greater autonomy for the state of Punjab, among other things.

The NCERT textbook read: “The resolution was a plea for strengthening federalism. But it could also be interpreted as a plea for a separate Sikh nation.” The SGPC claimed that this line was misleading and misrepresenting the resolution. They also objected to another line in the next paragraph that said: “The more extreme elements started advocating for secession from India and the creation of Khalistan.”

What has been changed?

The NCERT constituted an expert committee to examine the SGPC’s demands and made changes based on its suggestions. The line that said “But it could also be interpreted as a plea for a separate Sikh nation” has been dropped. The line that said “and the creation of Khalistan” has also been dropped. The NCERT issued a corrigendum and made corrections in the online version of the textbook. The printed books have already been distributed and will not be changed.

Why is this important?

The decision to remove the references to Khalistan from the NCERT textbook comes at a time when there is a renewed debate on the issue of federalism and state autonomy in India. Some states have expressed their dissatisfaction with the central government’s policies and have demanded more say in matters affecting them. The issue of Khalistan also has historical and political significance, as it was linked to a violent separatist movement in Punjab in the 1980s and 1990s that claimed thousands of lives.

The NCERT’s decision has been welcomed by some Sikh groups and leaders, who said that it was a step towards correcting the historical wrongs done to the community. However, some critics have questioned the rationale behind the decision and accused the NCERT of succumbing to political pressure and compromising on academic integrity.

FAQsNCERT Drops Khalistan Mention From Syllabus

What is NCERT?

NCERT stands for National Council of Educational Research and Training. It is an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Education that develops curricula and textbooks for school education in India.

What is Khalistan?

Khalistan is a proposed separate nation for Sikhs, who are a religious minority in India. The demand for Khalistan emerged in the 1970s and 1980s as a response to perceived discrimination and oppression by the central government. The movement turned violent and led to clashes between Sikh militants and security forces, resulting in many deaths and human rights violations. The movement subsided after the Indian Army’s operation to flush out militants from the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine of Sikhs, in 1984.

What is Anandpur Sahib Resolution?

Anandpur Sahib Resolution is a document adopted by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in 1973 at Anandpur Sahib, a town in Punjab. The resolution outlines the political, economic, social and religious demands of the Sikhs. It calls for greater autonomy for Punjab and other states, recognition of Sikhism as a distinct religion, protection of minority rights, decentralisation of power, and equitable distribution of resources, among other things.

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