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N.C.E.R.T. Books Distort Sikh History

This article has been edited for clarity.

The Tribune, Amritsar (Punjab, India), Jan. 21, 2003

"Upset over 'distortions' in N.C.E.R.T. books, the S.G.P.C. chief, Prof. Kirpal Singh Badungar, has drawn attention to 'bunglings' and misrepresentations in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The letter alleges that N.C.E.R.T.'s class (grade) XI history book in a chapter on a 'Mediaeval India' mentions on page 125 that Guru Nanak Dev 'renounced' the world - a complete misrepresentation of Sikhism and against the first Sikh Guru's teachings of grahist jiwan (family life). Similarly, page 175 of the same book describes Guru Gobind Singh as a 'devotee of Goddess Chandi.' Since the Sikh religion does not accept any intermediary between God and man, the reference is against Sikh theology, history and philosophy, he said."
"Prof. Badungar also pointed out that in another instance on the same page the Sikh revolt has been described as a 'Hindu movement.' These distortions have hurt Sikh sentiments because these portrayed the Sikh religion in a different light, he added. The S.G.P.C. chief stated that earlier too some facts related to Guru Tegh Bahadur were distorted in N.C.E.R.T.'s history books. They were rectified after protests by the S.G.P.C. and other representatives of Sikh community. He also requested the government to include members of the S.G.P.C. whenever a book on history was prepared where references to Sikhs or the Sikh religion were included to avoid embarrassment to the community. Copies of the letter have been sent to Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi, minister for human resources, Mr. Tirlochan Singh, deputy chairman of the National Minorities Commission, and Mr. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, minister for chemicals and fertilisers for early rectification of the history books."