Knowing your history: ‘Our children abroad face identity crises’

Historian and writer Hamida Khuhro talked about why she began writing books for children

Photo: Aysha Saleem/Fahmida Jan February 27, 2016
Day two of the literature festival offered games for the kids. PHOTOS: AYSHA SALEEM/EXPRESS


Pakistani-born children living abroad face identity crises and it is important for such children to know where they are from, said speakers at a session, titled ‘Our Land and People Through the Ages’, on the second day of the fourth Children’s Literature Festival at Dawood Public School on Saturday.

Historian and writer Hamida Khuhro talked about why she began writing books for children, while addressing the children and parents at the session. Khuhro said that it was because of her grandsons, who lived abroad, that she started writing books for young minds.

Settled in the United States, Khuhro said that she wanted her grandsons to know where they are originally from, which led her to the point that she has written so many books related to history and culture for children. Khuhro added that it is important for children to know their origins. For this reason, she has written books about all the four provinces of Pakistan, with the aim to teach children a little about the culture, tradition and people of this land.

Talking about how history can be made interesting for children, poet Fahmida Riaz said, “History becomes boring if it is only limited to wars and dates.” She added that in the books penned by Khuhro, the author has talked about the history from a child’s viewpoint. This makes it easier for a child reading the book to understand history, said Riaz. She urged not only the children but also the parents to read these books based on our history and traditions.

While sharing details about her upcoming book, Khuhro said that it is focused on Gilgit-Baltistan. “The book is about two boys who go to the north of Pakistan with their parents,” she said. The writer added that the boys get to know about the people of the area and its history when they visit the north.

Khuhro shared her experience of writing these books on history for children. She said that it took her around a year to write each book. She added that she has attempted to incorporate folk stories in the books for young readers.

Referring to the issue of rising religious intolerance and Islamophobia in Europe, Khuhro said that it is important to change this perspective through writing. She added that she wishes to write for the children regarding this problem and tell the world the history of Islam.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2016.


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