The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa elementary and secondary education department is understood to have decided to remove chapters on Pakhtun leader Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and his poet son, Ghani Khan, from the Pashto book for 12th grade in the province, it is learnt.
The revised book will be introduced in local educational institutions at the start of the next academic year, according to sources.
The chapters on the life of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, popularly known as Bacha Khan, a preacher of nonviolence, and his son, Ghani Khan, a philosopher, Pashto poet and sculptor, were included in the 12th grade Pashto book to inform Pakhtun youths about their leaders.
People in the know said chapters on Bacha Khan and Ghani Khan were part of the curriculum, which was developed by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Text Book Board in 2009 at the request of the federal government.
They said though other stakeholders from Balochistan and Islamabad were taken on board during the preparation of the curriculum, a section of society with a ‘different mindset’ was unhappy with the move to educate the new generation of Pakhtuns about its leaders.
When contacted, Zubair Hasrat, one of the co-authors of the book, insisted the provincial Directorate of Curriculum and Teachers Education had decided to exclude chapters on Bacha Khan and Ghani Khan.
He alleged that the directorate also intended to remove references to other progressive Pakhtun writers from the book.
Mr Hasrat said the Da Azadi Sapasalar (torchbearer of the freedom movement) was a chapter on the life of Bacha Khan.
He said the personality of Bacha Khan, his struggle in the independence movement and different aspect of his life were mentioned in the book.
Mr Hasrat said Pashto drama writer Professor Mohammad Hamayun Huma and Professor Yar Mohammad Maghmoom Khattak were among other authors of the book.
According to him, a portion of Ghani Khan’s works, Gady Wady, published in the Pashto language magazine, Pakhtun, which was launched before the independence, is also part of the current book as a chapter.
“We have not crossed the line and everything mentioned in the book is in accordance with the curriculum,” he said.
Mr Hasrat said the book was duly approved by the Provincial Technical Review Committee in 2012.
He said noted professors of Pashto language were part of the PTRC, who had no objections to the book.
According to him, the DCTE has decided to exclude both chapters from the book in light of the National Review Committee’s recommendations.
Mr Hasrat alleged that members of the NRC didn’t have the calibre of the book’s authors and the PTRC members, so there was no justification to follow its recommendations.
When contacted, Professor Fazl Naseer, one of the NRC members, said the authors of the book had exceeded the limit by getting additional material included in the book.
He said the authors had made chapters, which were not mentioned in the curriculum, part of the book.
On the other hand, Zubair Hasrat said the authors were respected and responsible academicians, who couldn’t include chapters in the book on their own.
He said the authors had categorically asked the education department to publish the book without excluding any chapter.
“We will go to the court if the government doesn’t agree with us,” he said.
When contacted, Bacha Khan Education Trust Managing Director Khadim Hussain said after 18th amendment to the Constitution, the federal government had given the right to each province to include its history, culture, literature, heroes etc in own textbooks, so the chapters on Bacha Khan and Ghani Khan were included in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa curriculum.
He said during the development of the new curriculum, it was decided to keep students from the material spreading hatred against other nations and glorying war, which was introduced during military dictator Ziaul Haq’s rule.
DCTE director Bashir Hussain Shah told Dawn that chapters on Bacha Khan and Ghani Khan would not be excluded from the Pashto book for 12th grade.
Insiders insisted though the relevant officials of the education department didn’t confirm the imminent exclusion of chapters on Pakhtun nationalists from the syllabus, that would certainly happen.