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What is the most blatant lie taught through Pakistan textbooks?

Sunday 31 August 2014, by siawi3

Source: http://www.sacw.net/article9405.html

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15 August 2014

Nationalism and patriotism in Pakistan are contested subjects. What makes us Pakistanis and what is it that makes us love our land and nation?
The answers to these questions vary widely depending on who is being asked. A large part of our national identity stems from our sense of history and culture that are deeply rooted in the land and in the legacy of the region’s ancient civilisations. Religion has also played a big part in making us what we are today. But the picture general history textbooks paint for us does not portray the various facets of our identity.

The fundamental divide between Hindus and Muslims
The most blatant lie in Pakistan Studies textbooks is the idea that Pakistan was formed solely because of a fundamental conflict between Hindus and Muslims. This idea bases itself on the notion of a civilisational divide between monolithic Hindu and Muslim identities, which simply did not exist.

Anushay Malik holds a PhD in history from University of London and is currently an assistant professor at the Lahore University of Management Sciences

Eulogising leaders
In his preface to the Muqaddimah, Ibn Khaldun warned of seven mistakes that he thought historians often committed. One of the seven is “the common desire to gain favor of those of high ranks, by praising them, by spreading their fame.â€

Ismat Riaz is an educational consultant and author of the textbook, Understanding History

Excluding and manipulating historical periods
The most blatant lie in textbook accounts of Pakistan’s history is by virtue of omission, which is in effect the denial of our multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious past.

Hamida Khuhro is a historian and former education minister for Sindh

The other view
To say a large part of Pakistan’s history is shared with India would be stating the obvious. Yet it is this period of both our histories, or the portrayal of such, that is tampered with the most and has been used as a political tool by either side.

The Herald invited renowned Indian historian and currently a Jawaharlal Nehru Fellow, Mushirul Hasan, to give his take on the lies taught through textbooks on both sides of the border.

Wars with India
The most blatant lies in Pakistani history textbooks are about the events that are still in our living memory. Among the many examples, the three given below are about the wars of 1965 and 1971, and the partition carnage of 1947. The reason for the falsehood lies in our distorted view of nationalism. Rather than let children learn from our historical mistakes, we show them a false picture. Thus we are doomed to repeat the mistakes generation after generation.

A H Nayyar is a physicist and retired professor. He co-edited an SDPI report titled “The Subtle Subversion: The State of Curricula and Textbooks in Pakistan".

Pakistan was made for Muslims
The most blatant lie that covers page after page of history textbooks is that Pakistan was created for the promotion and propagation of religion. The idea of religion barely entered the discourse of the Muslim League until the elections of 1937, when the League lost elections and the Congress won decisively. It was at that time that religious nationalism was invoked vigorously to create a feeling of unity among the Muslims of Uttar Pardesh (UP), Bengal and Punjab in order to provide the League an ideational basis of support.

Rubina Saigol is a scholar and has authored several books on education and society and co-edited books on feminism and gender.