Why our textbooks should include Ranjit Singh

Published: October 14, 2011

The writer works on a USAID-funded economic project called FIRMS and holds a master’s degree from the University of Warwick, UK

Senator Raza Rabbani’s recent assertion that teaching students about Ranjit or Bhagat Singh would not harm Pakistan should be warmly welcomed. Altering a country’s history to serve its interests is a common practice in the world. But in our case, we have taken it to a whole new level. Our history books, which are meant to shape the worldview and mindset of future generations, are currently only a tool to indoctrinate the impressionable minds of the younger generation.

The history of Pakistan, as told in these textbooks, is nothing more than a history of Muslims in the Indian subcontinent. The books exalt Muslim rulers of the subcontinent, depicting them to be epitome of righteousness with the sole agenda to spread Islam, even though all of them were invaders with an expansionist agenda. They vilify all local non-Muslim rulers as having an inherent hatred towards Islam, even though they might have been simply fighting an oppressor or invader. The names of the non-Muslim rulers are never mentioned. That’s why the books are replete with the names of the Ghaznavis, Tughlaqs and Mughals, even though they were invaders, but the likes of Ranjit Singh fail to earn a mention even though they were sons of the soil.

May I ask our writers of history that if Mehmud Ghaznavi was such a great preacher of religion, as most textbooks portray him to be, why did he go on killing and destructive sprees against, for example, the Muslim rulers of Multan? And what should one make of the fact that he killed his own brother to capture the throne? Or that why did he have to attack the subcontinent 17 times? What was the motive for him invading places like Mathura, Kannauj and Kalinjar, known primarily for the treasures found in their Hindu temples? Was it not to ransack them and take away their riches?

The Ghaznavids were succeeded by Shahabuddin Ghauri. Ghauri is famous for challenging the Hindu king Prithvi Raj Chauhan, at the start of the Battle of Tarain in 1192, to either convert to Islam or be crushed. If spreading Islam was his agenda, one wonders what about the war he waged against the last Ghaznavid king, Malik Khusro? Why are our history books silent on this?

Such textbooks have contributed to a skewed and prejudiced understanding of history, and created a sense of fear in many of us of all that is non-Islamic. This fear then creates a mindset of the average Pakistan, steeped in paranoia and a sharply anti-West worldview. This also creates a superiority complex among many of us, in that we consider ourselves and our faith the best, and denigrate that of others.

We forget that our land has given birth to and helped nurture major world religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism, so it’s about time we embrace our history in its entirety and learn from it. Maybe that will help induce much required tolerance in us.

In the end, I would narrate a story that I have grown up hearing as a member of Lahore’s historical Fakir family. The rulers of Afghanistan never reconciled with the fact that Peshawar had slipped out of their hands and went to Ranjit Singh. When Dost Mohammed Khan attacked Peshawar in 1834 to regain it, Ranjit Singh sent Fakir Azizuddin, his prime minister, for negotiations. When the Fakir reached his camp and talks started, the courtiers gave it a religious bend and he was taunted severely for his allegiance to a non-Muslim. Shrewd that the Fakir was, he asked all present that being a good Muslim, wasn’t it his moral duty to loyally serve his king? The aggressors who were in no mood to let go, cleverly started alluding to the massive bloodshed of Muslims on both sides if the war ensued. The Fakir took a pause and asked Dost Khan that if he convinced Ranjit Singh to give Peshawar back to him, would he return peacefully? The answer was a resounding ‘yes’. And then the Fakir retorted: “Don’t brand your campaign Islamic, it’s a fight for a piece of land.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (163)

  • zalim singh
    Oct 14, 2011 - 10:13PM

    @ Farhan

    astounding article. I hope u have not touched a raw nerve. I dont know why Pakistan taints Hindus so much. India has been home to such diverse people like Parsis, Jews, Christians, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, atheists apartv from muslims.

    Islamic history of India is soaked in bloodshed. We forgave this, but still we are presented in negative light in Pakistan. Pretty funny.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Oct 14, 2011 - 10:18PM

    We are muslims and story of pakistan is gonna be islam or Budhist i dont understand u
    librals why not start teaching us Mahabharath and ranjit singh, bhagath singh, and british
    raj most importent time when we start leaning english i never seeing such a thing what
    going on in pakistan we lost every thing all ready former commando try to change urdu
    litter even though he was from Dehli and u know in U.S.A History book is all about white
    americaa its nothing about Red Indians who were native of this land.

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  • Mirza
    Oct 14, 2011 - 10:27PM

    Great Op Ed. We are great at praising ourselves. Mehmood G’s love for his lover Ayaz is portrayed and praised as Islamic brotherhood. While even the poetry of Iqbal tells another story. I am not saying M. G did not have a right to love Ayaz. However, making this love “Islamic” is not fair. Mehmood loved the beauty of Ayaz and it was simple as that.
    Na wo ishq main rahin garmian na wo husn main rahin shokiyan
    Na wo Gaznavi main tadap rahi na wo khum hai zulf-e-Ayaz main.

    Where is Islamic brotherhood in this simple love between two men? The question is who was Bhai and who was Chara?

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  • tauseef
    Oct 14, 2011 - 10:29PM

    If, we could understand what’s there in the article! Facts cant be twisted. Someone who attempts that fools no-one but himself. Alas, we have turned into a psychologically skewed people.

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  • observer
    Oct 14, 2011 - 10:30PM

    We forget that our land has given birth to and helped nurture major world religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism,

    Aw that hurt.Accepting that the Kuffar have something called religion, that is.

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  • Paras Vikmani
    Oct 14, 2011 - 10:32PM

    You forgot to mention Jainism.

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  • ayesha
    Oct 14, 2011 - 10:36PM

    Excellent article. While yuo are at it. Should Pakistanis not be taught about the sacrifices of Lala Lajpat Rai, tilak, Gandhiji, Rajendra Prasad, sardar Patel etc. All these people spent many eyars in jail to throw the British out. Neither independent India nor Pakisran would have been formed if British were notpushed out in the first place.It is not as if hundreds of thousands of Muslims did not work alongside all these leaders in the QuitIndia movement.

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  • Homa
    Oct 14, 2011 - 10:39PM

    Most awesome write up! Should be translated into all local languages in PK for mass dissemination. Pakistan needs to wake up to the real history of its land.

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  • Doctor
    Oct 14, 2011 - 10:45PM

    Great article. Our history books in Pakistan are full of lies. These lies feed a national psyche of ignorance and hatred. We think we are perfect and invincible. We think everything is about religion. How did our Mullah brigade feel when we lost to India in the World Cup after all their statements about how Pakistan was the Islamic Team and therefore, must win?Recommend

  • Cheddar Man
    Oct 14, 2011 - 11:06PM

    Commendable article. The incident narrated at the end actually reminded me that the history taught in pakistan, most of which is rather anachronistic, has led people to believe that Pakistan was founded as an Islamic republic when, in fact, it was founded as a dominion.This is just one example out of countless many.

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  • M Ali Khan
    Oct 14, 2011 - 11:08PM

    Funny that we never talk about the importance and brilliance of Ranjit Singh, but our Pak Studies mention the failed joke of a “jihad” by Syed Ahmed Barelvi and Shah Ismail against him and his Pashtun vassals like some “glory of the past”.

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  • Raja Islam
    Oct 14, 2011 - 11:14PM

    Mahmud Ghaznavi invaded India 17 times to loot the wealth from its temples. Mohammed Bin Qasim invaded India and conquered Sindh. On his return to Basra he was put to death by his uncle Hajjaj Bin Yousuf the governor of Basra. The Mughal emperors were also invaders from Mongolia and conquered India and Afghanistan. Aurangzeb was a warrior with expansionist tendencies and had his brothers beheaded and his father imprisoned.Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli.
    Oct 14, 2011 - 11:18PM

    Sikhs said in 1947 they dont wanna joint pakistan when Quaid azam asked and reason
    they are part of Hinduism even though in there believes and in book lot of littrature they
    barowed from muslim saints of sub contienent now please we dont wanna know about them
    and why not teach your country some thing creative open some tech colleges and vocational school they need jobs they dont care who ranjit or ghazi was. when u dont have bread. anna key mange do ankha.

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  • Kaur
    Oct 14, 2011 - 11:19PM

    Your parents must have brought you up right ..kudos to them . Your country still has some hope if people like you reside in it.

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  • from india
    Oct 14, 2011 - 11:24PM

    unfortunately islam was not embraced by the native indians, it was enforced ….the true spirit of islam is based on peace and tolerance which the rulers failed to understand !!

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  • Salahuddin
    Oct 14, 2011 - 11:52PM

    Wonderful article- I think Raja Porus should also be included as a hero in our history books. We the inhabitants of Indus valley should be proud of our rich culture and history and we should understand that Arab culture has nothing to do with Pakistan, India or the sub-continent.
    Our next generations need to know that the freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh and Rai Ahmed Nawaz Kharal were brave sons of the soil who fought bravely against the foreign rulers.

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  • Nadir
    Oct 15, 2011 - 12:06AM

    Very sound, well reasoned and logical argument…now confess! Which nefarious foreign agency paid you!!!Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli.
    Oct 15, 2011 - 12:08AM

    We should write this too how we rape each other in 1947 after living centuries together
    and also our leaders gandhi and jinnah did not got agreed on what lang should make
    in india and never agreed to give rights to there peoples and forget if in future any northern
    person will come for your help in any agression by any body….

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  • Ishant
    Oct 15, 2011 - 12:18AM

    Good one, do you know Ranjit Singh is probably the only great monarch from Pakistan, historically. Almost all the “muslim kings” or emperors in South Asia were Turkic invaders from Central Asia who ended up in what today is North India(Delhi, Agra). Ranjit Singh is the “son of the soil” of Pakistan, he was one among you, he was from Gujranwala and later made Lahore, the capital of his empire. It was the first time that Punjab was political center of any empire, in fact, much of today’s Pakistan is the legacy of Ranjit Singh’s conquest, had it not been for him, KP & FATA would not have been part of Pakistan today.

    70% of his empire’s territory was in today’s Pakistan. Pakistan should respect him, at least give him more respect than you give to people like Ahmed Shah Abdali, Abdali invaded and looted Pakistani cities many times, the great Punjabi poet Baba Waris Shah said about him, “khada peeta wahy da, baqi Ahmad Shahy da”, meaning, “we have nothing with us except what we eat and wear, all other things are for Ahmad Shah”. Recommend

  • Khalid Ahmed
    Oct 15, 2011 - 2:01AM

    Wow, nailed it! One of the best articles I’ve read on ET.

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  • Ashamed
    Oct 15, 2011 - 2:13AM

    Excellent article. But Pakistani textbooks are as likely to reflect true history as pigs are likely to fly!

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  • Arindom
    Oct 15, 2011 - 2:13AM

    Islamic invaders plundered and killed in the Sub-continent. But never have our textbooks in India teach hatred for Muslims. Rather it was treated purely as ‘whats happened has happened’ and History is History!! Stress was on buiding the future of the country and the theme of “Unity in Diversity”. i.e. respect diversity and the other man’s religion, language and culture. As a school child in a Catholic school I remember taking part in Islamic, Christian, Sikh and Hindu prayers at Scouting Clases. I thank the Indian Education system ( with all it’s other faults) of at least getting it right on Secularism!!!

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  • Mirza
    Oct 15, 2011 - 2:30AM

    I would add the heros like Subhash Chander Bose, Bhagat Singh, Ram Muhammad Singh and Jhansi Ki Rani who gave her life while fighting along with Muslims against the British occupiers. These are just a few examples of the brave freedom fighter that we have ignored in our history.
    The fact is Aurangzeb inherited the largest Mughal empire, but nobody knows what happened to that empire after him. He put his very old father behind bars, killed his brothers for the crown and put the red hot iron rods in their eyes. How could a person be a hero who has done such horrible things against his own family for the crown?

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  • John B
    Oct 15, 2011 - 2:31AM

    I have. qualms about PAK teaching Ranjit Singh. However, the author should also be clear in his knowledge of Pakistan history.

    “We forget that our land has given birth to and helped nurture major world religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism”_ heard all nonsense before but this one in new.

    The pride goes to the masses of Indian civilization that existed in Indian subcontinent for over 5000 years that assimilated varying varying people and synthesized their thoughts from Vedic period to Vedanta , not to Pakistan.

    Understand that PAK needs to clean up the history. But at least this time around that she can do it honestly. All of Pakistan history happened in recorded history and it is simple and straight forward.

    The history India is like this- As long as incoming populace assimilated with the cultural and religious norms of that vast land ie. Indianized, they all lasted for long. The Mongols were very much part of the Indian gene pool marrying with Rajputs. When they rebelled against Indianization, as in Aurengzeb era, they were lost. British and Pakistan founders are no exception.

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  • Ammad
    Oct 15, 2011 - 3:24AM

    Sorry but our heart has Islam in it, in whatever level that would be. Plus your liberal thoughts do not touch the hearts of 98% majority population of Pakistan. Also Islamic concept is on Allah’s earth there needs to be Allah’s sovereignty, so its not about denigrating others its simply about confessing the truth given by Allah that Islam is the last right religion to follow( that is in answer to statement that our soil gave birth to Hinduism, Sikhism etc.). Being proudly Islamic country it is absolutely right that we are telling our younger generations about Islam.

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  • Deb
    Oct 15, 2011 - 3:30AM

    I am quite disappointed, actually very sad that nobody mentioned Abul Kalam Azad, one of the tallest among those who fought for independence from British.
    May be his secular views, not being a rabble rouser failed him to be acceptable to jingoists.

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  • Sindhvoice
    Oct 15, 2011 - 3:34AM

    What about including great Sindhi martyr”Shaheed Hemu Kalani” who fought against British Raj for the freedom of Sindh .India respects his name and even they recognize his service and they have named streets on his name in India but Alas this freedom fighter who belongs to Sindh Pakistan got no recognition in Pakistan because he was from minority religion.

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  • Oct 15, 2011 - 3:36AM

    Amazing Article. fully agreed with it. Infact Ranjit Singh in reality was a secular leader from Punjab and for us Punjabis, he should be our hero. Sadly the state of Pakistan have used Islam so much that ordinary muslim Punjabis wont accept Ranjit Singh as hero while we all know that Muslims and Hindus both fought in Ranjit Singh’s army. Ranjit Singh even gave “Punjab Qaeda” to punjabis which was present in every household in Punjab and hence Punjabis became literate way before other people could become. Sadly when British took Punjab,they “banned” Punjabi,got rid of “Qaeda” and now Pakistan as a state have continued the same policy and “Punjabi Language” is still banned in Pakistan.
    Punjab is the largest province in Pakistan and still the establishment,military-bureaucracy nexus, Punjabi PML and Sindhi PPP leaders have stolen the “Punjabi culture and language” away from us Punjabis.
    Punjabi language should be enforced in Punjab at all costs. we Punjabis have 6000 years worth of history behind us. This land is of the mighty Rajputs,jatts,gujjars etc etc. This land is of Ranjit Singh. This land is of Bulleh Shah,Waris Shah, Khawaja ghulam fareed etc.
    Give real Punjab back to us Punjabis.

    Pakistan can only become successful when Punjab along with other provinces are given full provincial autonomy, when lies taught in text books are stopped, when languages like Punjabi,Sindhi,Pashto,Balochi and Shina are given National languages status.

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  • Ahmed
    Oct 15, 2011 - 3:40AM

    @Zalim Singh ! First of all your comments doesn;t reflect your name :P Coming to your comments … as if you were living in peace before Muslims came in … your major scriptures are based on war stories …. before Muslims came in none of the indian states were living in peace with other ! (btw I am assuming you know history that before Muslims came India, there are very infrequent and short eras when india was ruled by a single ruler) so be fair with history …. now as far as potraying hindus as bad …. yes I am (and most of the Pakistanis as well) are against portraying someone bad who actually was not bad …. whoever this guy is referring too I don;t know he was good or bad …. but that should be a two way trade …. except for Akbar (which according to true Islamic principle was not a Muslim, I have used the word principle not the family or anything else be careful of that)…. which other Muslim leader or for that sake human being do you glorify ! or for the sake of argument (except for few authors) which Muslim do the west glorify so why should we …. simple is that !

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  • Cynical
    Oct 15, 2011 - 3:50AM

    Well written.
    Would like to have more articles like this giving us an insight into our past.

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  • Cool
    Oct 15, 2011 - 3:57AM

    @Mirza:
    Ishq mention here is with the God Almighty not between Mehmood & Ayaz. The poet is alluding to the exterme love they had with God. It is not love between men.
    Cool

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  • Geronimo
    Oct 15, 2011 - 4:18AM

    @ Ali Tanoli…

    I would urge you to think before you write. What you write seems confused and does not make sense. Try understanding the “spirit” or the “intention” that the author has in highlighting an issue.

    Getting all defensive and hitting back with what I would call “gibberish” does not help you grow or help others understand what you actually mean…

    Pls understand that learning the “untarnished history” and the facts means learning the “Truth”. What you are highlighting is that we must forget the true events and stick with the “lies” just because it makes us feel good about ourselves..? This is the height of lunacy and burying head in the sand.

    You have me totally amazed..!!

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  • Ambreen Misbah
    Oct 15, 2011 - 4:34AM

    I would like to ask the writer how it is exactly we have taken the distortion of history to an entirely new level. While our history is hero-centric and it does leave out many episodes, I would like to know which country in the world does not do that.

    Is anyone here familiar with Robert E. Lee? The general of the confederate army who fought against the union army during the American civil war. Till now, the South remembers him as a hero and even the Northerners pay tribute to his legacy. Remember he is the same man who was fighting for slavery! The slavery of millions of African Americans who suffered more than any other people have suffered in history. When a man like Lee can be hero-worshipped by a people who are supposed to be living in one of the most educated countries of the world, why is it surprising that much lesser evil men are given the same amount of respect?

    As for leaving out contributions from people belonging to other religions, Pakistan as a country was made in the name of Islam. We Pakistanis (I am not talking about the burger class) connect only with those in history who are Muslim, be it Arab, Turk or Persian. Those who are not Muslim, might have been our ancestors, but we will always see them as a separate people. When we read only the Muslim history, we are doing so because of the will of the people. Always in history, there is one dominant group that is studied and we have chosen ours on the basis of our religion. Likewise, the Americans choose the white man as their dominant group, which is why till now Columbus’ voyage to America is called the ‘discovery of America’, not the first European contact to a land and people that had been in existence for thousands of years.

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  • Afran Hamid
    Oct 15, 2011 - 4:41AM

    Well i would rather say it as a baseless article. ABout Mehmood Ghzanavi its clearly mentioned that he did attacked some of the richest state just to strengthen his army, therefore nothing was wrong in that.
    And About Mohammad Bin Qasim please read the history again Farhan Ahmed Shah (Article Writer), he attacked Raja Dahir (Ruler of Sindh) on the Plea of Muslims, and he was not killed by Hajjij Bin Yousuf.. read hstory first. you are just a person that watches Indian Movies way much! Start reading history!
    Did u forget the SIkh ruler who bought Kashmir from British for Rs. 7500000 and continued to opress Muslims of Kashmir and then treacherously handed over Kashmir to India when it was marked as a part of Pakistan?
    and Hindus were the one who enjoyed most during British rule, as they were given all the amenities and Muslims were deprived from the job and were in poor condition. Dont write biased articles. and please don’t hide the actual facts! STill there is a whole lot to answer.

    Thanks.

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  • Prakash
    Oct 15, 2011 - 5:02AM

    @ayesha:
    Correct.While Gandhi spend almost 11 years and Nehru 9 Years in British Jail,none of the Muslim League Leaders spend even a second in British Jail in 200 years of British Rule in India.

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  • Plal
    Oct 15, 2011 - 5:07AM

    @ayesha:
    You are right,Gandhi,Nehru and others spend years behind British jail (except the Leaders of Muslim League-none of them went to British Jail) For freedom from British and People of the Old British India deserve to be taught in their history lessons about their struggle.

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  • Analyst
    Oct 15, 2011 - 6:15AM

    Doctoring and distorting history is a strategic tool – which is part of the grand policy of strategic depth and strategic assets.

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  • Wasil Arian
    Oct 15, 2011 - 6:15AM

    It is a luminous article which may help to enlighten some minds darkened by prejudices, bigotry and hatered drilled therein by teaching of perverse history. The rot is very deep and lot of writers like Shah are needed to pull out the majority from the ditch. It was however heartning to note that most of the commentators see eye to eye with the author.

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  • Oct 15, 2011 - 6:26AM

    A well balanced and research oriented article. Government should support this move for balancing text book in Pakistan. According to Dr Mubarak Ali “Mutaliye Pakistan is now became Diniyat*”. Therefore government should consider their present text books.

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  • vasan
    Oct 15, 2011 - 6:29AM

    As long as Pakistan does not want to identify itself with S Asia, historically, culturally and socially, this kind of distorting the history will happen. Currently they want to identify with Arabs. It is upto Pakistan as to whom they want to identify with. But history cannot be re written and forgotten inspite of pakistani claims. Good article indeed..

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  • Verboten
    Oct 15, 2011 - 6:32AM

    To the author:

    Sir, you have restored my faith in the goodness of humanity. May your generation receive all help to reconcile what is now broken, but was once one.

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  • Pradeep
    Oct 15, 2011 - 7:06AM

    “Don’t brand your campaign Islamic, it’s a fight for a piece of land.”

    B.R.I.L.L.I.A.N.T

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  • Rafi Ka Deewana
    Oct 15, 2011 - 7:25AM

    Amazing articles and amazing responses! Some day the Pakistani government will realize that tainting facts to glorify and factualize what is not true is a bad idea.

    If being a muslim ruler is good enough, then why is Pakistan going through all this turmoil? In fact, the irony is, it’s the fanatic muslim (Zia) who has been the real curse for Pakistan. Apply the same logic to the era 1000 and 500 years back. You’ll understand.

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  • amir,
    Oct 15, 2011 - 7:36AM

    agreed 110%

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  • samaul
    Oct 15, 2011 - 7:48AM

    @Raja Islam:
    Mahmud Ghaznavi invaded India 17 times to loot the wealth from its temples…. EITHER HE WAS A BLITHERING IDIOT TO HAVE TO RETURN 17 TIMES OR IT NEVER HAPPENED AND HISTORIANS MADE IT UP.

    Mohammed Bin Qasim invaded India and conquered Sindh . HE WAS ONE THE MOST PROLIFIC MURDERS AND RAPISTS EVER TO VISIT TO INDIA.

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  • SKChadha
    Oct 15, 2011 - 8:31AM

    @ Ammad: There is nothing wrong in teaching or preaching Islam. It is one of the most beautiful religion and largely followed world over. Teaching or preaching it, not only to Muslims, but even to people from other religions, is welcomed. However, the Islam which is adopted by this region (Indus Valley) is of Sufism. It is not of Wahhabism or Salafism imported from Saudi Arabia. Remember teaching of Allama Iqbal that “Majhab Nahin Sikhata Aapas Main Bair Rakhna”. Recommend

  • csmann
    Oct 15, 2011 - 8:33AM

    @Afran Hamid:
    so much for ur history;kashmir was under ranjit singh;british took it with the punjab;dogras baught it from british;dogras bequeathed it to india-in a nut-shell

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  • csmann
    Oct 15, 2011 - 8:38AM

    pakistani history is children fiction

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    Oct 15, 2011 - 8:47AM

    @Mirza:
    @Cool:
    I think the poet was talking about Man’s Love. Nothing wrong with that. In those days an alternative life style were not attacked by Mullah Brigade and self-styled hypocrites. Each poet expresses his vision and his feelings and everything does not have to support the Divine. Divine is powerful enough to take care of itself and we need to take good care of ourselves.

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  • Mirza
    Oct 15, 2011 - 8:53AM

    @Cool:
    Wohi ishq main hain garmiyan wohi husn main hain shokhyan
    Bano Gaznavi to pata chale wohi khum hai zulf-e-Ayaz main

    Nice try to give the love between two men, the love to God. Since when God had garmian, shokhiyan and khum in zulf? In addtion there is poetry written by Mehmood on the beauty and love of Ayaz. The names of Sultan Mahmud’s nine wives, dozens of concubines, and more than fifty children are largely lost to history. Not so the name of Ayaz, his slave and male lover.

    I am not forwarding websites that give you full details about the man to man relationship. You can do some research yourself should you desire.

    Thanks and regards,
    Mirza

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malik_Ayaz

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  • Allah Ditta
    Oct 15, 2011 - 9:09AM

    History can be denied for few generations but cannot be re-created. Fast forward 200 years, Ranjit Singh will be read as a historical figure. But strange it is to deny it today. The problem with Ranjit Singh is that his history is very “recent’. His daughter-in-law died in Lahore in 1950. It is just like Partition. Many people do not wish to recall that. Now that Ranjit is being mentioned, some folks say that no one ever ruled Afghans / Pakhtuns. Wrong..Ranjit Singh ruled them with iron hands for decades. I have heard Ranjit Singh’s name from all most every politician or talk show hosts. Even Bhutto used to use that. The term they use often is called ” SIKHA SHAHI”. That is taking Ranjit Singh’s name even though they may deny him his place in history. Unke hothon par.. naam toh

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  • zia
    Oct 15, 2011 - 9:17AM

    Does the author suggest that we should also teach about his persecution of the people of Hazara and Kashmir? He may be a hero in the Punjab but the people of KPK consider him a complete villain. Is it to teach controversial topics to children? And if it is then why not teach about Osam bin Ladin?

    Frankly, teaching history in schools is not very important. This is a trivial subject that people can read themselves if they know how to read. The real challenge is to teach science and mathematics without which no progress is possible.

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  • faraz
    Oct 15, 2011 - 9:28AM

    Muhammad Bin Qasim was the son in law and nephew of the tyrant Hajjaj Bin Yousaf who was the Governor of Iraq. Hajjaj was the real brains behind the attack on Sindh. Hajjaj was notorious for his ruthlessness. Hajjaj attacked the holy cities of Medina and Mecca to crush revolts. When Hajjaj attacked Mecca to crush the Al Zubari revolt, the holy Kabba was destroyed. When Hajjaj died, his death was widely celebrated in Iraq. Tens of thousands of Muslims were released from his jails. The next Caliph ordered the execution of the entire family of Hajjaj; Qasim was also killed on the orders of Caliph.

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  • Sajjad Hussain
    Oct 15, 2011 - 9:29AM

    History tell us factual events which occured in the past whether we like it or not.

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  • Muslim
    Oct 15, 2011 - 9:41AM

    I don’t know what’s wrong with these so called liberals? They need to come down from their palatial homes into the reality as to why this country was made? The have come back from the West to “transform” this country…my advice to them: first start voting, learn how to read Urdu & then start having an informed opinion!

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  • Sanjay Sharma
    Oct 15, 2011 - 9:45AM

    I see a positive change in Pakistani intelligentsia in the recent times despite setbacks to nation. If brothers part, they don’t change names of parents. History is like that. We may disagree on many issues and live as we like but we must not forget our past. It not only gives us joy of living but also teaches us how to come out of any deep crisis. A shared history of Pakistan and India is the future of these two nations. If we learn from past, we can make our lands a better place to live peacefully. If we share history, I am sure, we may not seek help of other societies, like China and America, to solve our own issues.We can create our nations a wonderful place on Earth. Come on.. we have the potential to achieve our dreams, as brothers…, who fought jointly against colonial rulers and threw them out 62 years back.

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  • Mirza
    Oct 15, 2011 - 10:09AM

    @Billoo Bhaya: Thanks for the explanation. I am all for love, it is the most beautiful thing in the world. My point was that these two men were ordinary mortals and not Islamic hero as the Pakistani history portrays them. There is nothing wrong in being an ordinary man and being in love. This is just one of the examples from the history that we have tried to change.
    Thanks and regards,
    Mirza

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  • bashir
    Oct 15, 2011 - 10:23AM

    @samaul:
    Mr Mahmood G had no business to attack and loot places of worship sacred to the millions of people. . It is against the teachings of Islam. Ranjit Sigh was a very prominent figure of Indian history. Without him an important historical link will remain missing. Our muslim historians are biased. They only like to glorify muslim rulers whether they deserved it or not..They should bring out facts without discrimination. We should teach our children the true fact of our history.

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  • Pakistani First
    Oct 15, 2011 - 10:24AM

    Schools should first focus on teaching children English, Urdu, Mathematics, Science and the local language of the area. History can come later. Half of the schools in our country do not even have the proper facilities and you are more concerned about the content of history textbooks. Typical Pakistani mentality.

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  • Anand
    Oct 15, 2011 - 10:37AM

    To all my self righteous indian friends, id say that Indian history books aren’t necessarily embodiments of truth either. The mughals and sultans are presented as outsiders whereas the aryans are presented as people of the land. They have concocted lies to debunk the aryan invasion theory. They dont talk about how upper caste hindus persecuted buddhists and how hindu monks converted buddhist shrines to hindu temples, sometimes by force. Essentially hindus and hindu kings are invariably presented as peace loving patriots. Not a single indian knows about the maratha murder of brahmins and how tipu sultan saved them. Jinnah is presented as an obnoxious villain.

    Many indians will admit that despite all this talk of secularism, at the end of the day, india is a communally divided country. The majority of hindus will always look at muslims as outsiders and with suspicion. Things may change in the future, but lets stop kidding ourselves and lying to others.

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  • samandar
    Oct 15, 2011 - 10:45AM

    and how about a fair appraisal of the role of abdul ghaffar khan and an unbiased account of the struggle by shaikh mujeeb to bring a new nation on the map of the world.

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    Oct 15, 2011 - 11:02AM

    @Mirza:
    You are welcome. I agree with your comments. Too much is attached to the hereafter and Allah, instead of what we are as a Man and what we are here after in life. If you catch my drift??

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  • Observer
    Oct 15, 2011 - 11:31AM

    @SKChadha:
    “However, the Islam which is adopted by this region (Indus Valley) is of Sufism. It is not of Wahhabism or Salafism imported from Saudi Arabia”

    What makes you think “Wahhabism or Salafism imported from Saudi Arabia” is not the correct version?

    The fact is that many of the Sufi practices, especially mysticism, is not part of traditional Islam as they are derived from Hinduism. Please read the works of Anwar Shaik, the late Pakistani philosopher.

    It is for these reasons that traditional Islamic scholars reject Sufism as not being part of Islam.

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  • sanjay
    Oct 15, 2011 - 11:37AM

    I live in Dubai and never let my 5 yr old son know to what religion he belongs, however he is growing up on stories of great religions icons like Muhammad, Jesus and Krishna until he reaches a maturity to decide for himself. How can you be right, just because you believe you are right, even if you are right, end of the day it is just a belief nothing more than that. Belief that has been imposed by your parents and you impose it on your children. Your parent never taught you about sex, instinct, intuition, yet they are inherent with, you since they belong to you in real sense, they are not belief systems imposed by your society. I think baptizing a child into a religion before his own maturity, is nothing less than child marriage. I’m sure in future when we are more civilized we shall see the Child Baptism no less than how we see child marriage in today’s time.

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  • Ishant
    Oct 15, 2011 - 11:41AM

    @Anand

    “aryan invasion theory”

    as you wrote yourself, its a THEORY, a hypothesis, have u read about “out of India” THEORY, that is not taught either to maintain a neutrality. When you teach history, you only teach FACTS, not THEORIES.

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  • Tajdar Chaudry
    Oct 15, 2011 - 12:03PM

    They say you dont truly know where you’re going, if you dont know where you’re coming from. If we’re persistent upon going down a road that leads in from a fabricated past, then our destination itself is one that’s at odds with reality. Great article!

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    Oct 15, 2011 - 12:11PM

    @sanjay:
    Good argument. I see positive thought you have and how it could make this a better world.

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  • Aadil
    Oct 15, 2011 - 12:35PM

    This will only add on the agony of our allready burdned school children. Going by the comments here, more than 10 names of pre-independence ledears have allready been suggested. Where will it stop? With the same history books we were doing pretty good for ourselves before the trouble started next door. Inshallah once the Americans flee things will back to normal.

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  • wise counsel.
    Oct 15, 2011 - 12:43PM

    History repeats itself so they say.Whatever is being taught as history is repeating itself for pakistan. The mindsets of the young has been so twisted and turned that religious fervour has taken the place of patriotism and goodwill for humanity.Indian history talks of hindu kings who fought for their territories but never were there the likes of Ghaznavi, Ghori etc who plundered or tried to spread their religion through the sword.It is time , that every religon reshuffles their mindset and place a fresh view of things.I must submit my credits to the author here.Extremely well written.

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  • amit
    Oct 15, 2011 - 12:51PM

    Brilliant article.
    The question is how do you reconcile to the fact that once you lived together with hindus for thousands of years and then all of a sudden you tell everyone its not possible by coming up with Two Nation theory. you got to justify it somewhere, somehow.

    One of the beautiful things of a great society is multiculturalism. The different food, music – be it Bhajans or Sufi songs or hymns or Gurbani. All of this adds so much color.

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  • sanwar
    Oct 15, 2011 - 1:35PM

    Muslim rulers are treated as villains in Hindu textbooks and TV shows. Unless that changes, do not talk about glorifying Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan. Besides, none of these kings were heroes. They were merely after the throne.

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  • VD
    Oct 15, 2011 - 1:41PM

    We are a thousand years away from the time Ghazni attacked India and therefore instead of expressing our own views, do try to read Alberuni’s India who visited India along with Ghazni himself. He worked as a minister under ghazni’s son subsequently and himself criticizes Ghazni severely in his book for the type of person he was. Of course, historians do try to attribute motive to his writing also but when one reads his book, one is indeed impressed by his intelligence and thought process.

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  • Cynical
    Oct 15, 2011 - 1:41PM

    @Sanjay

    Very well put. This also shows that one’s religion is more of an accident of birth than anything else.

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  • zalim singh
    Oct 15, 2011 - 2:00PM

    @ Ahmed,

    Muslims are not a history of USA or Europe. The only muslims who the white people encountered were the ones who wanted to attack them and snatch their lands, women, children, wealth etc or to convert them by coercion. Do u remember convert or die? So can you blame them for no- trust towards muslims (as you feel)? But Pakistan is a different land. Most of the people here were descendants of hindus once. The great kings like Ranjit singh and Porus were of this region. So their story should be read. islam was brought here by force and bloodshed. Follow it if it suits you, but never lose reality of your ancestors….

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  • Oct 15, 2011 - 2:01PM

    I think history should be brutally objective. No glorifying and no defaming, and obviously that is only possible without prejudice. Unfortunately, history is not usually written that way, which is a writer of the textbook and its teacher should merely concentrate on facts. Glorifying Ranjit Singh because of his faith would be as absurd as glorifying Mahmud of Ghazni for his, except for their performance as generals and emperors historically. Not just Ranjit Singh, but great warrior kings like Raja Porus do not find the due attention. I would not say they are not given the right place in history. No one can take their place away, but it is true that the local textbooks could be made more objective.

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  • Haider
    Oct 15, 2011 - 2:06PM

    @ Sanjay. I couldn’t agree with you more Mr. sanjay. And even if your son doesn’t decide on any religion, it will still be alright, because we can not deny that religion does create discrimination. All religions are inherently ethnocentric, based on the belief that they are better than other religion. It is only not wrong to be associated with a religion if you have complete tolerance for other religions.Recommend

  • Khan
    Oct 15, 2011 - 2:26PM

    I distinctly remember studying Ranjeet Singh very very clearly in school. From his childhood to his death to his children and even some weird poetry I found about him. My school even had these Indian textbooks which were fun to go over. It gave me a perspective about skewed History is both ways. So, no I haven’t gone insane or pro-indian. My knowledge of the Indian subcontinent is now wider. Being more knowledgeable cannot be a bad thing for a person.Recommend

  • tariq arshad
    Oct 15, 2011 - 2:28PM

    thought provoking artical……i wish something balance chips in our fantisiezd history sotries…and mwy v accept d larger aspects….all those muslims rulers were only kings wanted to enhce their kingdoms…they had nothing to do with islam or islamic idilogy

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  • observer
    Oct 15, 2011 - 2:52PM

    @Ali Tanoli

    We are muslims and story of pakistan is gonna be islam or Budhist

    OK. Let us resolve,

    A. The World did not exist before the advent of Islam.

    B. India-Pakistan did not exist till Bin Qasim.

    C. No one should talk about going to China, a Budhist country, for whatever reasons.

    Anyone not agreeing is wajibul qatl. Happy?

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  • observer
    Oct 15, 2011 - 3:20PM

    @Farhan Ahmad Shah

    I think a better and simpler title to your post would have been, ‘Why our textbooks should include More Facts and less Fiction’

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  • Satya Issar
    Oct 15, 2011 - 3:39PM

    If you falsify history, you are fooling no one but yourself. You are the poorer for it. Fasification of history whether past or recent only makes you ignorant. An example is the outcome of various wars between Pakistan and India. False glory has hurt Pakistanis beyond repair.

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  • SKChadha
    Oct 15, 2011 - 3:48PM

    @ Sanwar:

    Bro, the Lodi Dynasty, Babur, Himanyu, Akbar, Jahangir, Shahjahan, Tipu Sultan upto Bahadur Shah Zafar and many other great Muslim rulers are revered in India. There contribution to Indian art, culture and architecture is immense. Indian history is incomplete without referring to them. No doubt, there are many controversial Muslim rulers also in this long history. So is with ‘Ashoka the Great’ whose initial years of rule were full of debility. I will suggest you to first read Indian history text books before commenting.

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  • Rajendra Kalkhande
    Oct 15, 2011 - 4:15PM

    Interesting article. Pardon my saying, I find many contradictions in Pakistan. National language of Pakistan i Urdu, though its spoken in none of her provinces. In a way the language of minority muhajirs has been forced upon the majority of ethnic population. Pakistan National anthem is in Persian. Another contradiction, which I find difficult to understand. Its fine to glorify Islam and I have no issue about that. I find it difficult when someone starts denying or falsifying his true roots. Suppose my father was a Hindu and I am Muslim. Will I feel ashamed to call my father by his Hindu name? He still remains my father and deserves the same respect I suppose. On the one hand people like Orya Maqbool Jaan say that Muslims brought music to India, but have no answer when someone ask them why Music is haram to purist Islamist. Maqbool Jaan and his alike forget that muslic and dance is part of Hindu religion and culture. Lord Shiva is the master dancer and Lord Krishna is the master flutist. .

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  • rehmat
    Oct 15, 2011 - 4:20PM

    @Anand:
    “Many indians will admit that despite all this talk of secularism, at the end of the day, india is a communally divided country”.

    Please look at definition of secularism. It does not mean atheism. It just means that the state institutions will not discriminate in favour of or against any citizen on the basis of religion. It also means that all individuals in the state will have freedom of worship. It does not say anything whatsoever about what attitude individual citizens of the state will have towards each other. It is incorrect to describe an individual as secular because the concept applies to the state not to individuals.

    US is highly secular and there are dozens of mosques in the city where I live. That does not prevent Obama orHillary from openly talking about their Christian faith.

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  • Topak Khan
    Oct 15, 2011 - 4:29PM

    Ranjit Singh massacred pashtuns, Why do you want to alienate them?

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  • Zeeshan Khan
    Oct 15, 2011 - 4:52PM

    I was throughly happy to read this article. My suggestion to ppl who differ with the author is that let debate prevail but a decent one. Please read “Murder of History” by K.K. Aziz. He was a prominent Pakistani historian. One of his books is in CSS syllabus also. I will give you a small example. 1857, we call it the war of independence. But was it really? We all saw the famous Aamer Khan flick “mangal Pandey”. If it was Muslims fighting British, where does Mangel Pandey come in? It was never a war of independence. It was a MUTINY. Where some Muslim and Hindu soliders rebelled against Britishers bcoz of religious believes. For hindus cow is holy and for Muslims Pig is Haram. The bullets were supposed to have extracts from both these animals. The mutiny was crushed by Britishers. The whol world literature refers to the events of 1857 as “Mutiny”, while we call it war of independence. To understand in-depth the movement for Pakistan, please read “My Brother” by Fatimah Jinnah (Yes JINNAH’s SISTER) and to understand why Jinnah was the only leader we ever produced, please read “The Sole Spokesman” by Ayesha Jalal. One reason we argue baselessly is that we hardly read. In schools, universities and colleges we only read wats required to pass the exam. Any given day shisha clubs, cafes will be more populated than libraries….. then we ask, why are we not developing? Pitty !!

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  • G. Din
    Oct 15, 2011 - 5:44PM

    @Anand:
    “The majority of hindus will always look at muslims as outsiders and with suspicion. “
    Here we go again with the indecorous and thoroughly repugnant Hindu penchant for validation by others! Your statement, sir, may be factual but have you ever wondered why other outsiders such as Parsis, Jews and Christians are considered worthy of our love and admiration and why we adopted them as our own? Why do Muslims the world over stand out as sore thumbs in every society right to this day to such an extent that there is visceral abhorrence for even symbols associated with Islam such as minarets, mosques, burqas, abhayas, skull caps etc..? The fault, sir, does not lie with “majority of Hindus” but Muslims themselves. As long as you gloss over that, there can be no amelioration of that situation anywhere in the world, hardly in India where bitter memories of religious barbarism are imprinted on our DNA’s. Remember the Babri when a mob demolished the 500-year old infamous structure within a matter of hours using nothing but their fingernails?Recommend

  • Oct 15, 2011 - 6:07PM

    @Geronimo:
    I guess you are new to ‘Tribune blogg’,mr Tanoli is not new to us or his ‘Gibbrish’,spelling is wrong,it never bothered him,to him my Islam’right or wrong’ ‘I believe in lies and spread it as well as I can,and will’.You adopted the name Geronimo,he stands for unbending courage and bravery,never quit and accept dishonor and he died a hero to most american white,black and brown.But you must learn to ignore,which can not be reasoned.Wise,never argue

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  • Khan
    Oct 15, 2011 - 6:12PM

    Do we even mention our own leaders who were followed by millions in their struggle against the British rules ?
    Please name a single text book which mention Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (Frontier Gandhi), who spent every second day of his 98 years long life behind the bars. Teaching about our history and ancestors will give more knowledge to our children including the likes of Ranjit Singh et al who were our own forefathers and has nothing to do with their belief.

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  • ebw
    Oct 15, 2011 - 6:13PM

    Very enlightening ,it must be to a lot of Pakistanis.The writer must me congratulated for his unfettered look at history .Articles like this will go some way towards dimishing bitterness&suspicion.If we do not learn from history we will keep repeating the same mistakes.Well done&God bless.

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  • observer
    Oct 15, 2011 - 6:17PM

    @Sanwar

    Muslim rulers are treated as villains in Hindu textbooks and TV shows.

    A. Do yourself a favour. Read the History Text Book,Part 5, Theme 9, pp 224 onwards, Titled- The Mughal Court. Show the portions showing mughals as villains.

    http://www.ncert.nic.in/NCERTS/textbook/textbook.htm?lehs2=0-5

    B. Find out films like Mughle Azam,Anarkali, Jodha Akbar and Taj Mahal. Find out the real villains.

    C. Search for a TV Serial titled ‘The Sword of Tipu Sultan’ Villainous, did you say?

    Ignorance is not a crime. propagation of ignorance is.

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  • Oct 15, 2011 - 6:18PM

    @Ambreen Misbah:
    It a shame that you know so little about Gen.Robert E.Lee.He fought for Confederacy because as a Verginian,it was his duty to fight for it,as a military men,you do not have choice to select your orders on the basis of morality,you follow orders,and fight “my country,Right or Wrong’,I’m solder,and my duty to defend my country’,he is rightly honored for his sense of duty,after the war he worked unceasingly for union and he was the first to take mass with a blackman,there is a famous picture of him bending by the side of a blackman in Church,pl keep twisting your history , please spare our history,please.

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  • Oct 15, 2011 - 6:23PM

    @Afran Hamid:
    Mohd.BIN Kasim was very young,when he was sewed inside a raw hide and thrown in the hot summer of Basara,to shrink and die a miserable death,you need to study history,it is fact.,unpleasnt but factual.

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  • urs truly
    Oct 15, 2011 - 6:35PM

    So long as persons like Farhan Ahmed Shah are there to put forward a balanced and correct perspective of our history, THERE IS ALWAYS A HOPE. It is a brilliant article and I would be delighted to have such more writings from farhan. keep it up young man.

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  • call me crazy
    Oct 15, 2011 - 6:54PM

    what absurdity,we dont consider mughals as outsiders.with exception of aurangzeb all other mughal emperors are looked upon as great patrons of art and culture in india.akbar is regarded as one of the greatest kings of india in league with chandragupta,ashoka etc.i dont know who feeds pakistanis this propoganda about indians treating moghuls as aliens.Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli,
    Oct 15, 2011 - 7:04PM

    @ Observer,
    I understand what u trying to say and we do have those things in the text in sindh province
    text book of urdu we have complete story of sikhs baba guru nanak sahab and kamal ata turk of turkey and about taj mehal and aurangzeb alamgir.

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  • Oct 15, 2011 - 7:07PM

    @vasan:
    A civilization,a society and people of a country make a conscieous choice how ,what,and why to learn and teach their fellow citizen the history they desire.Others have no say in it.It is their history,the way they want to write or rewrite.I have my take on this,as a serious student of history,my elder sister is a doctrate in history,by just visting her over 50 year period,I became intrested in history as she has a great library in her house,she has original work such as “Babarnama’,AinneAKbari and Jahangir memoire.It is about learning,not feel good,good,bad and ugly warts and all.It is a known facts those who do not learn (REAL,UNVARNISHED) from history,are apt to repeat it,the West for good or evil,do not repeat the blunders of east,as they do not write history to feel good.Yes,there is interpreations favoring their take,but they leave events as it is,Alexander won’t die of old age and Lincoln and Julius Ceaser won’t retire to their villa,they are shown to have been killed,just as The British will tell you what a great tyrant was Henry the VIII.!!He beheaded which included 2 wives,close friends like thomas More,and total of 72000,estimated people out of 3 million unfortunate Britain,from 1509 to 1547,about 5 people every day,for 38 years,beheading was good paying job.!He is considerd a famous King who changed England for what Brtish Parliament is about,the supermacy of people over tyranical Monarch.Now tell me Vasan,if they wrote feel good history do you think British would have vibrant Democracy and strong Parliament?I don’t think so,you must remember,there is counter argument for just about everything,wise do not argue with known facts,ignorant and fools do.As a former national of India,I know how GOI,has just about rewriten everything after 1947,hence the plight of India,it is not whole lot better than Pakistan,it is like one eyed man saying to blind,he has no eyes and feel gratified,but you fool only yourself.No malice,just facts as I see and, best of my knowledge and ability.That’s all we can ask of ourself,Knowedge,Salvation and redemption is personnel and no one can attain for you,it is individual persuit,I leave it at that.Thanks.

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  • Oct 15, 2011 - 7:26PM

    @samaul:
    I’m sorry to refute your facts,all conquaror are by nature of war making their job are, killers and sometime indulge in rape. WAR is very cruel and terrible,if it was not,humans will indulge in it often, RoberE LEE .Bin Kasim was 18 year old when he came to sind,he was good in what was his job,plunder,convert and subjugate foreigners.He was the first of many who invaded India.Sultan,whatever his motive,put Bin kasim, sewed inside a freshly hide and thrown him in the hot desert heat,it used as a a form of torture,as raw hide shrank,i extreme heat, and killed one who was inside very slowly.In ancient time,death penality was meant as deterant,to others,every one of antiquety indulged in it,east,west,south north.Every one,that is the truth,nothing special.Religiom,seldom played any role,knocking fear of god in opponent,was the sole reason..Recommend

  • Vicram Singh
    Oct 15, 2011 - 7:47PM

    @Anand: “Many indians will admit that despite all this talk of secularism, at the end of the day, india is a communally divided country”.

    You might want to see this blog on Muslim belligerent activity in India.

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  • Ali Tanoli,
    Oct 15, 2011 - 8:28PM

    @ Hari hermani,
    What ever to happend to Bin qasim its nothing to do with sind invasion and peoples should
    know the history and reason of invassion too why they invaded sindh and history tells us
    how peoples of sindh were crying when invader left to Basra and back home his father in law Bin Yousef passed away and new ruler got in power in Damascus and he had a fueds
    with these two genral Bin Qasin & Tariq ibne Ziad who was incharge of Spain invassion.
    and by the way present day warfare killing more peoples than that time and muslim were
    first of its kind who dont allow to killed unarmed, women, elders, and children unlike now
    in 1945 american A- Bomb killed in one shot 145 thousand innocent peoples in japan and
    in germany and all over Europe more than 10 millions peoples got killed i agrred with u
    Mr Hari, when said west dont cry of there dafeats but are proud of making colonies of us
    colour peoples and loots of asia africa.

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  • Oct 15, 2011 - 8:53PM

    A worth reading piece, i wish everyone in Pakistan reads and understands it.

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  • smai
    Oct 15, 2011 - 9:13PM

    this article is best tribute to Salman taseer sahib. tolerence is the requirement of the day. keep it up.

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  • observer
    Oct 15, 2011 - 9:23PM

    @Ali Tanoli

    muslim were first of its kind who dont allow to killed unarmed, women, elders, and children unlike now

    Sir jee, ever heard of

    A, Taimur Lang (Tamerlane)

    after the city(Isphahan) revolted against Timur’s punitive taxes by killing the tax collectors and some of Timur’s soldiers, Timur ordered the complete massacre of the city, killing a reported 70,000 citizens. An eye-witness counted more than 28 towers, each constructed of about 1,500 heads
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timur

    B.Nadir Shah.

    (in Delhi) During the course of one day (March 22) 20,000 to 30,000 Indians were killed by the Persian troops, forcing Mohammad Shah to beg for mercy.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nader_Shah

    Now consider the fact that the total population of the world those days may be was less than 500 million and put these killings in perspective.This will cure you of your myopia.

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  • Zeeshan
    Oct 15, 2011 - 9:30PM

    Look at this article. It has self-immolation all over it. To the Indians here, Akbar was born in Sindh, wasn’t he the son of the soil of Pakistan too or only “Muslims” are “foreigners”? Given the hatred for Muslim rule, I am surprised how fast the land of the birth was brought into the equation. Most Punjabis, just like Kashmiris and most Northern Indians, are of “foreign” origins who migrated to the land they called their homelands now a few thousand years ago.

    Yes, we should mention about Ranjit Singh and that once Muslims were subjects of a Sikh empire. May I ask Farhan, what inspired these Sikhs to build an empire and turned 80% of Muslims within this empire as subjects? May you like to hear of Sikh
    “jihadists” in the form of Sikh Khalsa running amok and performing its religious duty of expelling “Muslim rulers” out of “Muslim lands”. Indeed, we should set aside a place in our history book for this courageous Sikh Khalsa for saving Muslims from “invaders and foreigners”. Ranjit Singh, a native “Pakistani”, should be celebrated for rescuing “Muslims” from the Mughal.

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  • Oct 15, 2011 - 9:39PM

    @Zeeshan Khan:
    I have pretty much your take.We are not of scholarly bend of mind,we are half baked cake,we hear,some names like Gandhi,Jinnah Iqbal and then try to show off,case in point,I’m sure by reading your comment,I can venture little deep.You know ,I assume you are from Pakistan,as such familiar with life of Iqbal.His life had two seperate face, like Quaid,pre-congress face,and post congress face,where their thinking went 180* change,from “SARE jahan sey acha Hindustan hamara”1910 ,Mahjab nahi sikha tha apas mey bear rahna’ to 1937 Iqbal,who believed in seperation of Hindu/Muslim,ditto Mr Jinhah.If you want to assess their life one does not exist without the other,one can be selective,just reading somewhere and try to show off the knowledge of these great complex characters and great people.We have to know when they said what/.What they stood for.I believe for good or bad,the division of colonial India was inevetable and history has born out was good for both community,you see for people bragging visavis,India/china, South korea , Both China and India are no where near s.Korea’s progress,both China /India are Languishing in U.N. figures in later last from last in pci figures138,128 resptly,Korea,Thiwan over $25000,india/china$1000/$3000. it looks very good compare to Pakistan and Egypt,but it is very deceptive,2nd and 5th economy looks good on paper.But we are not serious student,superfeciality,satisfy us.USA at $45000 is way ahead of both China/India.We have to study in earnest not with a view to pass exam and get a job,that is why all our study is superfecial and not geared for scholarly study,and nothing suffers more than history,Akbar not a good muslim even not a muslim,,Aurenzeb a true bonafied muslim,one expended Mugal rule other brought to abrupt end,but who cares for facts?This the feel good narretive which is popular in Sub-continent,is there any wonder why ,where we are?Just fact,Please.just facts for a change

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  • Rafi Ka Deewana
    Oct 15, 2011 - 9:41PM

    If Pakistanis become Pakistanis 1st and Muslims 2nd, Pakistan’s problems will be over. Islam which was the main reason for Pakistan’s creation is becoming its downfall.

    The Pakistani public has to respect and admire those who did a good job (Ranjit Singh) and criticize the ones who were bad (invaders) regardless of their religion.

    In the same class and the same history book, Indian kids learn to admire Akbar and Rana Pratap (who fought Akbar) and criticize Aurangzeb. It’s all on their deeds, not on which faith they followed.

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  • Zeeshan
    Oct 15, 2011 - 9:52PM

    @ all,

    It is interesting to note how myopic Indians celebrated Farhan as the symbol of tolerance in Pakistan (i.e. racism of the lowest expectation). For these Indians, Pakistan is a nation of “hate” whose citizens are walking around with AK47 in one hand and Holy Koran in another. This is a very strange view as Indians just man-handled their social activist for merely saying people of Kashmir deserved referendum (and threatened Arundhati with an arrest and please don’t tell me in India you don’t kill your activists:http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/27/india-rti-activists-deaths. ). Indians who beat this activist said: “we will break anyone’s head if they called for the breakup of our homeland”. How much narcissism, history twisting, bigotry, hatred and supremacy are needed and planted to turn Kashmir into “your homeland” and how much you accept this hatred and bigotry as part of your national ethos without finding any of that troubling. As the Marathi , said it worse: the comment by the social activist is “anti-national”.

    For Indians here, spend sometimes reading hatred and venom toward Muslims in your newspapers and which could be found in your own vocabularies. Recommend

  • Bipul Rajput
    Oct 15, 2011 - 9:53PM

    @observer: Ali Tanoli will give you the standard line – Taimur Lang and Nadir Shah were not “true Mulsims”. There you go. Case closed.Recommend

  • Hashmi
    Oct 15, 2011 - 9:55PM

    Why did the article not mention that Ranjit Singh converted Badshahi Mosque into stables, one of his crimes, read history for others.

    Also the author has read some wrong history on Ghaznavi, there is a lot more to what he has written. Read this link

    http://goo.gl/PZWSf

    Do not propagate what you do not know, the article presents only a single eyed view.

    Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli,
    Oct 15, 2011 - 10:09PM

    @ Observer from Delhi,
    Bhai sahab its depend who writes the History and what relegion he got. I respect your emotions.
    I remeber one of great sufi poet of sindh Shah Lateef how he put it ( Allah Dauhee mathey
    Dukh Dusen) means oh god or allah dont make me smart then i will be sad allways. amen

    Recommend

  • Oct 15, 2011 - 10:32PM

    @observer: Do not bet your house on it, you will lose,do not under estimate my dear friend A.T.He is person,par excellence,one in a million.Recommend

  • Leader
    Oct 15, 2011 - 10:33PM

    how many of you exactly know history? and role ranjeed played…

    why do we need to present Ranjeet Singh as villain and create hatred for the other community, let alone what they did to us in 1947 muslim massacre, which we dont teach our children either…

    its good that Bad characters of history are forgotten… they have no place in history…

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  • observer
    Oct 15, 2011 - 11:32PM

    @Ali Tanoli

    oh god or allah dont make me smart

    Zazak Allah, He seems to have granted your wish.

    Bhai sahab its depend who writes the History and what relegion he got.

    Well the assertion, “Before the battle for Delhi, Timur executed 100,000 captives, mostly Hindus” comes from Chapter: XVIII. Malfúzát-i Tímúrí, or Túzak-i Tímúrí: The Autobiography or Memoirs of Emperor Tímúr (Taimur the lame). Page 389.
    Now that you know who wrote this history and ‘what relegion he got’ what is your next excuse?

    Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli,
    Oct 16, 2011 - 12:00AM

    @ Observer,
    muslims killed each other more than they killed others and about Ranjit singh how he become a ruller of punjab he was lucky Mughals down fall was running British in the name
    of Busniss sneaking in and last mughals rulers were in lux life they forgot the lesson given
    by Aurangzeb alamgir Shamshir o sanan aawal thaous o rubab akher..

    Recommend

  • Adil
    Oct 16, 2011 - 12:10AM

    Excellent article, plus thanks for letting us know that Ranjit Singh used to have Muslim ministers and officials in his government too, otherwise a famous perception is that Sikh rulers harrassed,persecuted and marginalized Muslim masses.

    Another scholar named Allama Ghulam Ahmed Pervaiz who was a close associate of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, wrote an article about the arrival of Islam in Indo-Pak Subcontinent, that doesn’t match with what’s been taught in Pakistani textbooks. In the article it was told that Islam made its way in India during the regime of the Second Caliph Hazrat Omar Farooq Razi’Allahu’Anhu, and that too not by invasions or wars but due to centuries old economic relationships between Indians and Arabs. It’s a known fact that South Indian seaports were connected to Arab and Chinese merchants/markets…and some king or minister from Kerala had met Hazrat Omar Farooq Razi’Allahu’Anhu in order to learn about Islam….I cannot say that Prophet Mohammad (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him) ever met any Indian during his lifetime as such a claim would need strong factual backing. Contrary to popular belief,Ghulam Ahmed Pervaiz denied any credit to Mohammed Bin Qasim for the spread of Islam, but many people still believe that even Jinnah turned the Arab commander into some sort of an inspiration for us, without any further investigation.

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  • sohaib
    Oct 16, 2011 - 12:49AM

    History is always written by the victors. In the case of history of India before British, it was all muslims who were victors. So naturally when muslims were the rulers, they would narrate history of their version. Why would i bother what Ranjit Singh, or his types did when i have my own inspiration in muslim history of India? And why do i even need to think about it? Do the schools in Spain teach that Muslim Spain was the reason for Renaissance in Europe? On the contrary, they vilify muslims and celebrate their defeat even today as an April fools day. In US, the history books teach about the native Indians as wild and uncivilised people. So here’s the advice to liberals of your type who work for foreign funded with god knows what agenda – dream on.Islam is in the roots of this country and even though we might be nominal muslims, we take pride in the history of islam in India and be proud of being Pakistani. Recommend

  • Doctor
    Oct 16, 2011 - 4:26AM

    @ Ali Tanoli – can you please start making more sense. I’ve spent almost an hour reading your comments and still can’t get the point you are trying to make.

    Recommend

  • mussarat
    Oct 16, 2011 - 5:01AM

    @zalim singh:

    Regrettably we avoid facts and truths.

    Ranjit Singh’s rule seems to be peaceful where there was no concept of minorities while people of different religions and sects were allowed to practise their faith without any fear.

    Basically, we are also allergic to Ranjit Singh because he was a non-muslim and blind of an eye. It is ridiculous that this nation hate Ranjit Singh but embrace “One-eyed dictator” General Ziaul Haq and buried his mortal remains in the holy worship place of Islamabad’s Faisal Mosque.

    Ranjit Singh didn’t introduce Kalashinkov culture, MQM, Sipah-e-Sahaba, drug like Heroin
    or exploited United States to pull out Russians from Afghanistan or Ranjit Singh wasn’t involved in promoting sectarian hatred between Shiite and Sunnis or crushing minorities like Ahmedis, Christians, Barelvis, Salfis, and Malikees etc.

    As compared to zia ul haq, ranjit sinjgh will definitely go in paradise.

    Mussarat

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  • amit
    Oct 16, 2011 - 5:04AM

    @Zeeshan
    well if we have few thousand nut cases amongst 1.2 billion Indians then I would like to think we are doing okay. Four major incidents of riots and communal disharmony in 64 years of independence is unfortunate but still given India’s complexity it is not too bad. Every country/society has problems and we are no different. I would like to think positives outnumber negatives and hence we are on right track.

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  • csmann
    Oct 16, 2011 - 5:57AM

    only a third party that is non-biased can tell WHICH ONE of the history of the same geographic area told by two people is more authentic.although there might be biases in indian history,it seems like history in pakistan is mostlly wrong ,and wrong of the type which is deliberate and fictional.that is the reason people of pakistan live in the past,remembering past glories and victories.By not mentioning and knowing where and why their ancestors go wrong,they dont and can’t have a perspective of the current and future problems.Hence the false bravado of pakistan about their current power and abilities.and difficulties in knowing who is their friend and who is foe.in any event,suffering is usually reserved for poor and low starata of a society,and not for rich peolple(like who can afford a computer).The backward mentality of this ostensibly creme layer of pakistan is a glaring proof of the assertion.Fortunately there are many people in this starata that long for the truth,have a right perspective of things as they are,and willingness to accept the truth for the betterment of their country.i pray and hope that these people will have the final say in pakistan’s future.

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  • Shaikh PhD
    Oct 16, 2011 - 6:11AM

    If ten years from now we have not killed ourselves in a civil war it will because of people like Farhan Shah. Thank you Farhan and thank you Economic Times.

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  • Ahmed Anwar
    Oct 16, 2011 - 7:19AM

    It is important that history of post Aurangzeb era be taught to learn the choas we had. This choas led to the rise of Sikhs and Marhattas. Sikh history is our immediate history prior to the arrival of Sikhs. It should be studied whether we like it or not. We can not eradicate our past

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  • narayana murthy
    Oct 16, 2011 - 8:54AM

    @Sohaib

    What you have written is a bunch of bona fide LIES.

    And this is exactly the result of your country’s flawed education and history.

    Recommend

  • Sanjith Menon
    Oct 16, 2011 - 9:12AM

    i think it would do well for Pakistanis to read k k azizs book, murder of history. You should see the love and bonhomie of Punjabis from both sides of the border when they meet up in places like UK, Religion cannot erase culture completely.

    Recommend

  • Tariq
    Oct 16, 2011 - 9:14AM

    @sohaib:
    No they dont. US history books portray the reality about the ‘Native Americans’ and it would be great if people actually read the stuff that they comment about it.

    Recommend

  • observer
    Oct 16, 2011 - 9:43AM

    @Ali Tanoli

    A. muslim were first of its kind who dont allow to killed unarmed, women, elders, and children unlike now
    B. muslims killed each other more than they killed others

    Both of the statements have been made by you within a space of less than 12 hours. Honestly, do you believe any of these statements? If yes, which one?

    And do you have some statistics to prove your second statement. For example can you give a final tally of the millions killed by Taimur Lang and show how many Muslims and how many others did he kill?

    And what happened to claims of peaceful spread ?

    Recommend

  • baldev
    Oct 16, 2011 - 1:03PM

    @Afran Hamid:

    Afran history is “what has happened in the past” simple as that. Selectively telling of events convenient to us while ignoring the wrong deeds(by rulers of any region or religion) does not make for learning of history in the true sense.

    Recommend

  • ethicalman
    Oct 16, 2011 - 1:06PM

    Finally a voice of sanity from Pak. When Indian ethics is destroyed in the sub continent it collapses. Examples are Delhi Sultate, Mughals, East India Company, British etc. Afghanistan is a total mess because it allienated from India 500 years before Pakistan was born and Pakistan is going to last lap because it killed Indian culture in the last 5 decades.

    Maharaja Ranjit Singh drove the afghans from most of present Pakistan, otherwise Afghan had come right up to Himachal Preadesh, Kashmir. And finally Muslim league members never went to jail for the freedom struggle and they got Pakistan for free, they only dependend on religious prosecution and British titles.

    Nice to hear positive words from most of pakis..and very glad that a Pakistani wrote it, if it was written by an Indian it would be a farce.

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  • baldev
    Oct 16, 2011 - 1:07PM

    @Verboten:

    I second that.

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  • Tony Singh
    Oct 16, 2011 - 1:37PM

    @sohaib:
    People who do not bother reading history tend to commit the same blunder time and again.

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  • Pragmatist
    Oct 16, 2011 - 5:33PM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    It is not about “liberals”. It is about truth. That is holy to every religion, isn’t it? Or are there exceptions?

    Recommend

  • sohaib
    Oct 16, 2011 - 6:43PM

    @Tony Singh So please go and read the history of India and the rulers of India and find me a neutral book on Indian history. And please Indians, stop teaching us. Your comments on our newspapers are arrogant and at many times derogatory.

    Recommend

  • Verboten
    Oct 16, 2011 - 6:47PM

    To my Indian and Pakistani (in alphabetical order) brothers/sisters:

    This is our common history as told in the 11th century Spain by the Muslim scholars there… read it and see what we have contributed to world history, beyond what we have contributed in spiritual and religious matters…

    “In the eleventh-century, an important manuscript titled “The Categories of Nations” was authored in Arabic by Said al-Andalusi, who was a prolific author and in the powerful position of a judge for the king in Muslim Spain. A translation and annotation of this was done S.I. Salem and Alok Kumar and published by University of Texas Press: “Science in the Medieval World”. This is the first English translation of this eleventh-century manuscript. Below is one complete chapter from this that pertains to the scientific strength of India. It demonstrates how European scholars felt about India prior to the colonial period, during which such works were stopped and prior manuscripts not translated and/or brought into the public attention.”

    Intro quoted above… read the rest here, and be jointly proud. The East is rising again… http://www.infinityfoundation.com/ECITkumarframeset.htm

    Salam and Namaste.

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  • jagjit sidhoo
    Oct 16, 2011 - 7:20PM

    @Ahmed: Tipu Sultan

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  • Waris...
    Oct 16, 2011 - 7:27PM

    @from india:
    You have totally msundrstood..!! Islam was’t forced on any bdy..!! It wass acceptd by the hindus and others bcoz of its valuezz..!! Like how da first Hindu bacame a muslm..Just bcoz he undrstood the true princplezz and values of Islam.
    Thankyou

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  • Waris...
    Oct 16, 2011 - 7:29PM

    @Cheddar Man:
    no ay.!! how can u prove that it ws founded as a dominian..!! It was an Islamic Republic of Pakistan.!! this the books in pakistan are not saying..!! this the world history book are saying writtn by themselves the British.!!

    Recommend

  • Waris...
    Oct 16, 2011 - 7:35PM

    @samaul:
    @M
    I dn knwo about Mehmood Ghaznavi y he returnd 17 times etc etc but but but your concpt about Muhammed Bin Qasim is wrong..search the net u will find authentic writings from even hindu writers dat muhammed bin qasim was the best ruler in India..!! the local people were fed up with there Hindu leaders..Muhmmed bin Qasim was a pious and just ruler..!! You r trying to ruin history nothng else..he was not a rapist not a looter..!!

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  • Waris...
    Oct 16, 2011 - 7:38PM

    @ayesha:
    No they didnt worked together..!! Hindus like Ghandi ji nehru jst wanted a one unit subcontinent nothing else no seperate pakistan..!! If that would have happend then u wud have been dreaming about freedom right now..!! b proud of Pakistan and freedom. Our one man only steeped forward and made an independnt Paksitan..u shud respect him and not the critics of Pakistan.!

    Recommend

  • Chandan Das
    Oct 16, 2011 - 7:59PM

    @sanjay:
    Great idea. It is truly an eye opener!

    Recommend

  • Raj
    Oct 16, 2011 - 8:58PM

    The history in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh must be same till 1947!! How can they be different? May be the events in 1947 may differ in view but the end result is same.

    Recommend

  • Analyst
    Oct 16, 2011 - 11:45PM

    Pakistan text books should not teach that entire Pakistan was predominatly and over whemingly Hindu before Bin Qasim came. Its a strategic secret and no one should divulge it or Pakistan will be in danger.

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  • Ali Tanoli,
    Oct 17, 2011 - 1:46AM

    @ Verbaton,
    Thank u giving refrence of such a beautifull book i will buy and study.

    Recommend

  • ijaz Mir
    Oct 17, 2011 - 5:46AM

    I visited Rangoon and visited Bhader Shah Zafers grave, It was very well preserved and kept. It was written ” last Emperor of India “. The caretaker was a Burmese Muslim, He gave us a tour of actual grave and short history.

    I was moved and wanted to pay to caretaker. This guy politely refused and said that he is well taken care by the Indian Government.

    History is preserved.

    Recommend

  • Ahmed Anwar
    Oct 17, 2011 - 6:13AM

    Why limit to Ranjit Singh period ? There is a dire necessity of learning post Aurangzeb period which will also highlight rise of sikhs. Ranjit Singh ‘s reign in particular is impotant from an angle of a local son of the soil being the ruler in milleniums

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  • Santosh
    Oct 17, 2011 - 6:26AM

    This debate has gone long and far. All I would ask all those who comment with much passion here to do is Read for heavens sakes
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RanjitSingh#SecularSikh_Rule
    Look up the links underneath the article. Read some independent books. Do not spew bylines from Zia era Pakistani textbooks. It reflects an intellectual laziness that reflects poorly on those who are on your side.

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  • vasan
    Oct 17, 2011 - 9:26AM

    “This guy politely refused and said that he is well taken care by the Indian Government.”
    I appreciate the Indian govt for this gesture of preserving the grave and paying to the care taker, even though it is in a foreign land.

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  • jagjit sidhoo
    Oct 17, 2011 - 11:36AM

    @ijaz Mir: Sometimes (sometimes) the Indian govt makes me feel proud sometimes.

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  • Ali Tanoli,
    Oct 17, 2011 - 4:59PM

    @ Observer,
    In love and war sometime something happend like that dont worry.
    All Others:
    Why sudenlly after six decades this love is born again why not india and pakistan get decision by asking those peoples who lost there families and properties and graves of these
    forefathers what they think about adding this in subject.
    we peoples of indopak never even completed and may dont want to be counting of those
    who died in 1947 and we dont want to remember even atleast build a musiam for them.
    so coming generations can say wise and wisdom of india were how cruel.

    Recommend

  • observer
    Oct 17, 2011 - 9:02PM

    @Ali Tanoli

    Why sudenlly after six decades this love is born again why not india and pakistan get decision by asking those peoples who lost there families and properties and graves of these
    forefathers what they think about adding this in subject.
    we peoples of indopak never even completed and may dont want to be counting of those
    who died in 1947 and we dont want to remember even atleast build a musiam for them.
    so coming generations can say wise and wisdom of india were how cruel.

    In your own words, “In love and war sometime something happend like that dont worry.”

    So don’t worry be happy.

    Recommend

  • basharat
    Oct 17, 2011 - 9:39PM

    Distorting of history is intellectual dishonesty, discarding Ranjit Singh from history is out come of religious bigotry, intolerance and hatred against other religions, prevalent in Pakistan since about three decades. Ranjit Singh is important historical personality who ruled a vast area of present day Pakistan,Kashmir and much of Indian Punjab. He was tolerant as compared to many other rulers
    that are being excessively glorified in Pakistan. His council of ministers comprised or Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus and Christians, there were many Muslim generals in his Army it indicates that discrimination was not in practice during his rule. There is no harm to be controversial whether RANJIT singh was hero or not but implying that he never existed is an atrocity. It will be exaggerative to say that he was flawless, like any human he must have committed many mistakes, most serious of them, in my view, was that he did not prepare someone who could successfully run the government after him and the empire collapsed within a few years after his death.
    It has been contended that in Indian school text books facts Muslim rulers with malafide intention, have been twisted. The allegation may be correct nevertheless, it is no justication for that what is being done with school text books in our country. I COPY AN EXCERPT from a Indian school text book, ” The people who followed revealed scriptures,such as jews, christians and lived under Muslim rulership, they paid jazia and gained the right to be protected by Muslims. In India this staus was extended to Hindus as well. As you will see ( chapter 9 ) rulers such as the Moghals came to regard themselves as emperors of not just Mulims but of all people.
    In effect, rulen adopted a fairly flexible policy towards their subjectsFor instance, several rulers gave land endowments and granted tax exemptions to hindus, jains, Zorastrians, christian and jewish religious institution and also expressed respect and devotion towards non mulims religious leaders. Are this musch is being done in Pakistan, the answer indeed, will be in negative.

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