What are we teaching our children?

Published: May 8, 2011
The writer is consulting editor,
The Friday Times

The writer is consulting editor, The Friday Times

The overwhelming response to my earlier piece on the subject of jaundiced Pakistani textbooks has prompted me to continue with this theme. A large number of Pakistanis are aware of ideological twists given to basic learning materials in Pakistan. Of course, there are many who continue to be in denial and who insist that raising this issue is akin to defaming Pakistan. This strange logic — of accepting the ills of a society in the name of patriotism is simply incomprehensible. Perhaps ‘operation brainwashing’ has succeeded at many levels.

Sceptical readers ask for examples. There is no point in repeating what the seminal study on the University of Vermont website already says. However, a key problem is locating Pakistan’s creation in a battle for Islam. Jinnah was ready to give up the idea of a separate country as late as 1946 by accepting the Cabinet Mission proposals. Why do such lies have to be taught then? The answer to this rhetorical question is clear. A national security state had to construct enemies and prepare a mass constituency for militarisation of the country. This is why we have 110 nukes but 55 per cent of the population lives without access to proper sanitation.

Social studies textbooks teach that India attacked us in 1948 and 1965 (class five); and Kargil (class three, Meri Kitab). Bengali separatism was a result of Hindu teachers and traders; and “after 1965 war India conspired with the Hindus of Bengal and succeeded in spreading hate among the Bengalis about West Pakistan and finally attacked on East Pakistan in December 71, thus causing the breakup of East and West Pakistan.” In fact, some textbooks say that we had almost won the 1971 war!

Throughout the textbooks, subtly or brazenly there is glorification of war and the capability to wreak damage and contain the ‘enemy’. What could be more damaging to young minds than imbibing half-truths and accepting violence as legitimate? A class five Social Studies textbook teaches: “India is our traditional enemy and we should always keep ourselves ready to defend our beloved country from Indian aggression”. This is not to say that Indian or Bangladeshi textbooks are free of biases, but we need to fix our problems before imitating wrongs done by others.

In post-1979 Pakistan, the penchant for jihad has grown stronger. The National Curriculum guidelines for primary schools cite a key ‘learning outcome’ as recognising “the importance of Jehad in every sphere of life”. Another macabre gem is to train children in making “speeches on Jehad” and assessing “their spirits while making speeches on Jehad, Muslim History and Culture”. What happened to 5,000 years of Pakistan’s history?

Sadly, generations have now grown up espousing the cause of jihad so well laid out in our textbooks that the reversal of this process may take another 10 years or more. Little wonder, then, that when I received an invitation for the Saarc Literature festival in New Delhi, my eight-year-old emphatically advised me: “you can’t go to the enemy country”. What could be more worrying for a South Asia pacifist?

Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (57)

  • Cosmo
    May 8, 2011 - 2:27AM

    “This is not to say that Indian or Bangladeshi textbooks are free of biases, but we need to fix our problems before imitating wrongs done by others.” By saying this author just wanted to subdue the brazen lies in Pakistani text books. Am not sure about Bangladeshi Textbooks, but bias in Indian Textbooks, must be kidding. I have studies up till 12th grade under CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education-India) and please prove me a single instance of any , i mean any single reference to our wars with Pakistan. No hate mongering, no religion specific gloating. The best thing our education system has done is to keep religion and nationalism out of the textbooks. When I was studying, my classmates belonged to all form of religion that exists in India. In-fact, the concept of religion never came into my conscious till i grew up and passed out my 12th. The holiday of Bakri-Eid was equally exciting to make as Ganpati Pooja. Am not proud of many things that goes in India but one thing that gives me sense of clam is what my textbooks taught me. Recommend

  • Dr Mishra
    May 8, 2011 - 3:34AM

    Dear Raza
    Always a pleasure to read you here and in PTH. The Pakistani today is the most intellectually landlocked individual in the world.
    Why not take a film crew with you to India on your forthcoming visit so that the ordinary Pakistani can see how you interact with others in India, how India really is, how in a Delhi university cafe, young muslim students intermingle freely with the majority etc etc.
    Only then will a Pakistani ask a piercing question of his mullah or leader- how come we got so far left behind?
    Its not just your books, even your television anchors- and here I include English speaking ones like Meher Bukhari- are scary. Very aggressive. Will take a generation to reverse.
    Best wishes to all in PakistanRecommend

  • May 8, 2011 - 3:35AM

    Dear Raza,

    Referring to your last part of article, does your son studies the books referred?

    Personal anecdote, during World Cup my 8 year son wept on loss to India and he never studied the books mentioned by you, as he is studying outside Pakistan.

    World and facts are not as simple as we portray them to be .

    All faults are not in our syllabus and please note the behavior of our Indian friends on comments section on this site also, does their books also contain VENOM? Recommend

  • Raja
    May 8, 2011 - 3:42AM

    The author wrote “This is not to say that Indian or Bangladeshi textbooks are free of biases, but we need to fix our problems before imitating wrongs done by others.”

    Mr.Rumi, you delude yourself thinking you are a progressive individual correcting your country. But your above statement unmasks your delusion.

    What do you know about Indian text books? They are secular. Any attempts to change them in BJP ruled states have been resisted successfully.

    Even thoiugh your country has descended to the lowest depths of religious bigotry and hatred, you have to pretend India and BD are also bad.Recommend

  • May 8, 2011 - 5:10AM

    Our masters really doubt the patriotism of their fellow countrymen that they need to perpetuate such vile propaganda!Recommend

  • Joginder
    May 8, 2011 - 7:33AM

    The Indian books also have bias but they are of the marxist variety besides excessively glorifying the Gandhi-Nehru duo; they are more or less given sole credit for gaining Independence. How WW2 precipitated the process, and the role played by the Azad Hind Fauj are skipped over in a few terse paragraphs, if at all. The glorification of Gandhi-Nehru is understandable as the congress party stands to harvest votes from a brainwashed population. The various wars of course will have the Indian point of view rather than the Pakistani one, but this can only be expected.Recommend

  • fus
    May 8, 2011 - 8:45AM

    Frankly, our ppl will stay in self denial. In world where facts can be found with little research we continue to believe in the brainwashing and lies that are taught to us from the early age. Athough this happens to certain extent in all the countries, to create love for the country, but in our case we are made to love our country by creating fear of other countries and religion.Recommend

  • SKChadha
    May 8, 2011 - 8:59AM

    Let us watch and see how the 2nd May, 2011 hilarious achievements of Pak Army and Intelligence Agency are included in future text books. Recommend

  • Ahmed
    May 8, 2011 - 9:23AM

    Great article! But, let us not make pretenses. The Indian way is (for the most part) inclusive and secular, and the Indian syllabus is largely unbiased. It is only us who have a survival need to brainwash our children about the “greatness” of Islam, the “evil” of India, and the “celestial virgins” who await our jihadis. But, also note that this “brainwashing” really is how we need to build our identity. Without it, we won’t be able to justify Pakistan’s existence. So, we can’t just do away with it, without some other rhetoric taking its place.Recommend

  • MastMaula
    May 8, 2011 - 10:54AM

    @Raza Rumi:
    I can’t stop myself from praising the words of sanity and wisdom from a learned common Pakistani like you.
    Though I’m an Indian, I was never kept from gaining knowledge about the glorious part of the subcontinent’s mughal history. In the text books from state/central boards I learned(all good things) about all the religions including Islam and prophet Muhammad as well.
    About our colonial history, I was never taught that muslims played any lesser part in the struggle of freedom. And I am glad that we are never taught any hatred or hostility against our neighbour Pakistan and moreover no mention of any Indo-Pak wars is made in our school curriculum. I learned about all the wars through other books and the internet.
    I believe that school text books in India are fortunately free of Posion till date.
    I admit that media of our country may be responsible for any such ill information (if noticed) among the masses.Recommend

  • NA
    May 8, 2011 - 11:17AM

    One should not forget in 1980s, it was US involvement in manipulating the text books to include so-called Jihad and again from Musharaf’s era, it is US who is assisting and funding the revisions again.Recommend

  • Syed Hussein El-Edroos
    May 8, 2011 - 11:24AM

    The extent of bias in our school text books couldn’t have been better put by Mr Raza when he writes “Little wonder, then, that when I received an invitation for the Saarc Literature festival in New Delhi, my eight-year-old emphatically advised me: “you can’t go to the enemy country”. What could be more worrying for a South Asia pacifist?”Recommend

  • Syed Hussein El-Edroos
    May 8, 2011 - 11:27AM

    Shows the extent of bias in our school textbooks when Mr Rumi writes “Little wonder, then, that when I received an invitation for the Saarc Literature festival in New Delhi, my eight-year-old emphatically advised me: “you can’t go to the enemy country”. What could be more worrying for a South Asia pacifist?”Recommend

  • Saad Durrani
    May 8, 2011 - 11:37AM

    Again. I will repeat. Shall we import the curriculum?

    Every country in the world has a little bias in their textbooks. It helps them to create a drive for nationalism. Do you think that Israel will tell its children about the correct realities of the 2006 Lebanon war? Do you think India will tell its children why people of Kashmir are protesting? Do you think the British have told their children that the War of Independence 1857 was a war against them? Do you think that we should tell our children who are not even ten that Muhammad bin Qasim’s death occurred due to change of hearts and/or rulers?

    Rather than “correcting” our history books, don’t you think that we should establish a curriculum where reading is promoted as a hobby. In case you have noticed, almost half of our children cannot read properly. Don’t you think that our curriculum should tell children to speak the truth, respect the elders, cooperate with one another and enjoy diversity? Social studies is not only history; it has geography and civics/ethics too. Are we teaching that too?Recommend

  • May 8, 2011 - 11:59AM

    Raza – The only angst I have with regard to Indian history books is that they are bland at best. And we do not study post-Independance history. School history ends in 1947. So the wars of 1965, 71, etc – we have been exposed to only on the Internet or through memories of our parents – nothing more.

    Interestingly, when my children learnt Indian history in the Gulf countries, the entire chapter dealing with the bhakti cult (the rise of learned men in the 16th-17th centuries which lead to the rise of vernacular languages among other things) is removed. Pictures of Buddha etc are removed or children are asked to black ink them. In the Hindi text book – the ‘letter R is for Rishi – the picture of the Rishi is blacked out and there are more hilarious omissions. However for the 10th board exams, these chapters are taught behind closed doors. Recommend

  • Talib Haider
    May 8, 2011 - 12:21PM

    Raza Rumi, I have waited for such an article for an eternity. Had I been a writer, all my books would have focused oh what you have highlighted. Our people have all been brainwashed into believing that our military is a group of angels that comes out to save us from all evils. We have escalated them to a level where people do not question the 60% or so we spend on the expense of poverty in the country to feed an evil that has brought more bad than good to this country.

    Sir, you have one more fan!Recommend

  • Ashutosh
    May 8, 2011 - 12:22PM

    Dear Mr. Raza,

    The Indian history books and all other curricula are almost unbiased. It is far-far away from teaching hatred or creating divide of any sort. Also the wars after Independence is not part of history curricular at schools.

    I wish you could read to our history books before even giving even a passing reference of what is being taught in India. If you are interested then I can send you a set of these books for your reference.

    I, personally, appreciate your article(s), as I feel that the right curricula will root-out hatred to a large extend and prepare the right minds to take your country and out important neighbor to the path of peace and prosperity.

    Agreed friend. And why only Mughals, the entire Islamic history and their contribution is appropriately mentioned in the books in India.Recommend

  • Nasrat Baloch
    May 8, 2011 - 12:25PM

    Self explanatory hence no further comments:One thing I as Baloch want to ask whether any thing in Pak history or text books regarding Balochs contribution in the independence of this state(Pakistan) ? We were a nation, had a land full of natural resources,The Khan of Kalate weighed Mhoammad Ali Jinnah in pure gold and subsequently donated this gold to Pakistan. We gave our land, which is two third of Pakistan’s territory, with all natural resources but any young from Islamabad,Lahore or for that matter from any urban city knows this today? These youngs today even have no knowledge of Balochistan itself(recent survey from BBC Urdu exposed it).I wonder why they doing this and why they hiding every thing?. I think now it is high time to be realistic and tell the nation the truth. by doing this we may save this country otherwise by doing the double games, lying , hypocrisy and oppressing the people of smaller provinces i doubt the stability in this country. may God help us and give us the courage to be realistic and be a one nation.”God helps those who help themselves” Quran!!!!!Recommend

  • narayana murthy
    May 8, 2011 - 12:43PM

    Very nice.

    The more I read these articles on two of Pakistani liberal news papers, the dichotomy of the country seem terribly wide.

    While there are intelligent, thinking people, there are completely the opposite, completely irrational. I mean, a difference in the level of education is natural to any country. But this opposing things are probably unique to Pakistan. In India, even extremists (Hindus) are rarely irrational.Recommend

  • narayana murthy
    May 8, 2011 - 12:48PM


    “The Indian history books and all other curricula are almost unbiased. ”

    You are completely wrong. Because hiding the truth is worse than being biased.

    Tipu Sultan’s atrocities (against Christians from Mangalore or Hindus) is never mentioned. Nehru’s flawed policies are not mentioned. Babri Masjid demolition will not be in Indian texts in the next 100 years. Sikh massacre will never get a mention in our texts. Gujrat massacres will never get a mention in our texts. Extremist Islamic organizations (who are involved in terrorist activities) like SIMI, People’s front, will never get a mention. Our history lessons may not be twisted. But they are completely incomplete. Recommend

  • May 8, 2011 - 12:50PM

    Just browsed through the seminal study you mentioned and I can see some manifestations. At its most extreme you have Zaid Hamid and Orya jan (the latter dismisses Indian culture as nothing beyond what the muslims introduced) and at its somewhat benign you have Fareed Paracha who in a recent debate with Indian visitors said that Maneckshaw (the field marshall in 1971) wrote in his book about how hindus were trained to fight in dacca and during the debate Paracha cited the favourite prejudice against Hindus – Muh mein Ram, bagal mein churi (or something to that effect).

    Most disturbingly, you have anchors like Lucman who tells his Indian guests that we (Pakistanis) consider Bhindranwale a great man…really?

    And all these persons mentioned above grace the talk shows day in and out. Recommend

  • narayana murthy
    May 8, 2011 - 12:51PM

    “In fact, some textbooks say that we had almost won the 1971 war!”

    I remember watching a documentary or reading an article, where an eminent Pakistani (can’t remember), saying that the night before the surrender in 1971, Pakistani radios were telling the people that Pakistan was winning the war. Just a night before the surrender.Recommend

  • Ashutosh
    May 8, 2011 - 12:51PM

    Many like Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekar and Ashfaqulla Khan … you know the list is too long. All of them did they life for the Independence of India. But lets not forget that they did not even scratch the British rulers in UK. So, we just have a passing reference of these martyrs in the Indian History.

    The contribution of Subhash Chandra Bose is indeed unique. But there are two problems here. (a) They did not lead to the freedom of India and (b) to fight one colonial power (British) they sided with another (Japanese). Japanese do not have a great reputation of being a good colonial power, if you read carefully the recent history of China and Korea, it is difficult to believe that the Japanese, if won, who have treated differently.

    Also, the fact is that finally it was the Mahatama who led India to freedom. Recommend

  • Chander
    May 8, 2011 - 12:58PM

    Commendable article. I have read a few similar tones in a few Pakistani blogs as well.

    @Ahmed : I sought of agree with you. I am a high school student and my history book clearly paints a very heartbreaking picture of partition. The divide and rule policy of british, to repress muslims just after 1857 (consider all hindu as well as muslim leaders of revolt pled allegiance to Bhadur Shah Zafar) and later appease them when congress grew stronger was a clever ploy to break our unity. Muslim feudals and landlords adapted anti-congress stand and rallied behind Muslim League as congress had land reforms as one of its agendas. Similarly RSS gained support. This precipitated in partition.
    I don’t want to go for a history lesson. My point is that toady Pakistan exists as a sovereign country (nuclear power) and its leaders should have confidence in its existence.Unlike what you say I believe there is no need to justify Pakistan’s existence to anyone, Pakistan exists and the world knows and accepts it. I believe Pakistan should accept failure of “two nation theory” and instead build a modern country based around nationalism/secularism and not hatred. Not only will this help in cooling down rising extremism, but also increase national integration for Pakistan and there will no need to identify the “pure muslims” and “non muslims”.

    Just my 2 centsRecommend

  • May 8, 2011 - 1:15PM

    Never read history written by a native, cause you will always get biasness. I don’t believe our people and not even Indians. But tell me who to believe when we say our KASHMIR (AZAAD) and they say theirs. They show videos of our people torturing and blasting in their region and we show of their army personals invading our people.
    In short we are tying to prove, we are good people
    and they are trying to prove they are. Recommend

  • guest-worker
    May 8, 2011 - 1:29PM

    Our education system is in the hands of “Ali Babas and their 40 imported imams”. break free now and someone turn down the volume on the minaret speaker please. I cant think straight anymoreRecommend

  • Ali
    May 8, 2011 - 2:05PM

    Dear Mr Rumi,

    Do correct your knowledge as well. India attacked us:

    In 1948: by sending armies to Kashmir. (Pakistan never violated internationally agreed border). Secondly, Pakistan did not has an army then. Army was still under British command.
    In 1965: By entering army in the undecided border of “Run of Kuch”. After the 1965 war, the Run of Kuch dispute was resolved through Int’l arbitration.

    Perhaps someone has succeeded in brainwashing yourself.

    Independent Pakistan was vision/brainchild of Ch. Rehmat Ali. All India Muslim League did not concur with that idea for a long time. However, it proved eventually that there was no alternate.

    For some of your answers, you may need to go personally to India on a “Reporting Visa”. Recommend

  • Uza Syed
    May 8, 2011 - 2:31PM

    What are we teaching our children?

    That it’s alright to be a hypocrite in the name of religion.Recommend

  • May 8, 2011 - 2:33PM

    Raja and Ashutosh
    I have not only read the Indian textbooks but also consulted many scholars in India in the past few years. Some links/references for you:

    Tendulkar, V. Muslims and I – available online: http://www.geocities.com/indiafas/India/the_prejudice.htm

    Safronisation of Indian History Elicits Deafening Silence accessible here: http://iviews.com/Articles/articles.asp?ref=IV0301-1828

    History in the New NCERT Textbooks: A Report and an Index of Errors by Irfan Habib, Suvira Jaiswal, and Aditya Mukherjee; Indian History Congress, Kolkata, 2003; pages 129 Rs.50.

    Parvathi Menon; Books of bias and errors in Frontline Volume 20 – Issue 18, August 30 – September 12, 2003

    All power to narayana murthy for speaking the truth without the burden of ‘patriotism’.
    Thanks for the feedback, dear readers.Recommend

  • Anthony Permal
    May 8, 2011 - 3:08PM

    Great article. One should also remember that Pakistani text books conveniently neglect the heroism and accomplishments of its non-Muslims patriots. The glory days of polity, sports and judiciary from the 50s to the 70s are conveniently sidelined to focus on India, wars and religion. Recommend

  • Sverige
    May 8, 2011 - 3:26PM

    i have studied the same books and i see nothing to complain about. its your personal judgement which counts in the end. child’s family is his first “Darsgah” we need to improve it first. OUr books do not have to be pessimist like ourselves. Recommend

  • Ashutosh
    May 8, 2011 - 3:28PM

    @narayana murthy:
    Dear Friend,
    The history curriculum in schools mostly ends with independence of India. So anything after the independences is not tough in schools at least.

    You did specify a ruler of southern India (Tipu Sultan). The fact is that almost every ruler was barbaric. In case of a battle (or war) the subject of the loosing state suffer a great deal of loss in terms of human being, wealth and culture and religion and their believes.

    The details of barbarism and humiliation does not help us in any way especially at the school level. The focus in the school curriculum should be on the historical facts like who win, why he/she or they win, how it affected or influenced India and the world.

    The world really changed with the modern concept of democracy, human rights, freedom of press, natural justice etc. came into play.

    I am not answering all your questions as some do not pertain to the topic which is the syllabus of history in school.Recommend

  • standard herald
    May 8, 2011 - 4:03PM

    I am reminded of the time I got a hold of K. K. Aziz’s Murder of History in Pakistan after considerable trouble as the book was not just 1 click away on Amazon. The next several days I spent asking myself the question if the truth is hidden in plain sight why don’t efforts to correct the wrong have more support. I am still not 100% sure I have the answer but I think I buy into M J Akbar’s retelling of “The Past & Future of Pakistan” in “Tinderbox”. I also tend to agree with him that the Pakistani has proved to be stronger than the idea of Pakistan – which of course is an optimistic reading as it implies the chance to once again redefine the idea of Pakistan. Which will need a re-examining of the teaching of history. So yes I think your piece is valuable. Recommend

  • Rajan Singh
    May 8, 2011 - 4:29PM

    as you were mentioning about history-brainwashed people in pak, one example you can just find here only saying in 1948 India sent troops in kashmir and started the war. Recommend

  • Chander
    May 8, 2011 - 5:25PM


    Laughable claims.
    1947 War: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/indo-pak_1947.htm
    1965 War: http://news.in.msn.com/international/article.aspx?cp-documentid=3224416
    you can cross check on various other websites I am sure.
    Not to mention this all this has nothing to do with the topic in discussion.

    Take Care.Recommend

  • FactCheck
    May 8, 2011 - 6:24PM

    @Saad Durrani:

    I don’t know about children in Pakistan but, I do know Indian children read news papers. I remember my grand father insisting me reading English news paper starting 4th grade telling me you must learn English well, write and speak well and you must read English news paper every day and he will quiz me to check whether I read it or not. Hence, Indian education system does not not have need to alter history or to include it on their text books.

    By the time Indian children gets to high school, they are pretty much aware of what’s going on in the world around them. Recommend

  • Learner
    May 8, 2011 - 6:40PM

    I am a Pakistani and have been reading Hindustan Times online for 10 years. I also go to chowk.com frequently in addition to reading “liberal” Pakistani newspapers like this one. I have to say that while many Pakistanis definitely come across as biased and prejudiced, the comments by a majority of Indians too have mostly been quite venomous. Any mention of Pakistan and any balanced assessment of the situation by an Indian on Hindustan Times is always ridiculed, even abused by commentators. Chowk.com is even worse where Indian commentators are as abusive as it gets, which does not mean that Pakistanis fare any better. On tribune too, not many come across as reasonable and concerned but rather out there to score a point or engage in verbal brawls with Pakistanis. Invariably, any criticism of Pakistan by Pakistanis is cheered and any criticism of India by them is jeered at.

    So if it’s not their textbooks, which is the case in Pakistan, although many other causes can be cited too, what is it that makes them revile Pakistan so much. Some of the answers from our Indian friends are rather predictable but I am looking for something beyond the smoke screens. Recommend

  • May 8, 2011 - 6:59PM


    Really? Then how come our Indian friends never mention PAKISTAN in Naxalite area in India ? Recommend

  • Raja
    May 8, 2011 - 7:10PM

    @raza rumi

    Over the years, the left extremists in India have painted a distorted view of India to Pakistanis.
    Indian lefties are your biggest enemies.

    The things you have posted are leftist extremist exaggerations. This distortion presents a distorted view of India, which you like to believe in along with the rest of Pakistanis. Ironically you think you are correcting them.Recommend

  • Sanjeev Jha
    May 8, 2011 - 7:14PM

    Hi Raza,

    Till Class 12th Indian books have made every attempt to not to have negative connotations for Individual, Group, society or country.

    Be it Hindu King infightings, or Muslim king history in India or the freedom from British, the focus is to potray the truth in such a way that it does not create hatred for the readers to other sections of the society.

    Even topic like partiiton are covered in such a way that people dont have animosity between hindus, sikh and muslim.

    Even fundamentalist Hindus have been given a small space in those textbook.Recommend

  • Unbiased
    May 8, 2011 - 7:38PM

    Are you sure you passed fairly, I suppose not or you would not be writing such rubbish. Why are you guys at such pains to show India as a faultless state at every opportunity? Are you so insecur?. At least the author of this article had the guts to admit that what ever we are teaching our kids is not right!
    We are all exposed to the world print media these days and are very well aware of what goes on inside your country too, so kindly stop trying to take the moral high ground at the drop of a hat. Grow up!!Recommend

  • narayanamurthy
    May 8, 2011 - 8:07PM

    “The history curriculum in schools mostly ends with independence of India. So anything after the independences is not tough in schools at least.”

    That is not true. History lessens teach quite a lot of things from after independence. Starting with 5 year plan.

    Besides, it doesn’t matter whether Tipu was from South or North (I hope that’s not the point you were making). And it’s not true that every ruler was barbaric. There were quite a few of them and YES, that should be made known at the same quantity as their good deeds are made known. If you ignore the evil done by these people, then every barbarian will be and can be portrayed as a HERO. Even British rule can be turned into one of development and growth (railways, education etc) if you ignore Jalianwala bagh or thousands of other atrocities.

    I’m not an art student, I’m a BE graduate. So, I wouldn’t know what real history do people learn when they study history at graduatiion level.Recommend

  • Manit Parmar
    May 8, 2011 - 8:14PM

    Rumi, I checked the websites that you have given to check out the biasness in Indian text books. I have studied in India all my life and never came across anything in my course books that states that one religion is superior over the other one. I agree that every country twists the history to suit their outlook and to that aspect Indian books are also twisted to suit Indian outlook. But please show me where in any Indian book it is celebrated that Muslims are crooks and not nice people hence showing the superiority of Hindusism. Where does it says that Mr. Jinnah was not a nice person and Pakistan is our enemy. At the most our books remain silent on any controversial subject. It does not glorify one relegion over other. Like it is mentioned by another reader here Indian text books stop at 1947 and briefly talks about Indian constitution, green revolution (major landmarks in history). It talks about how some muslim rulers destroyed temples but at the same time it also talks about the good things that they did to India. My objection is not to twist the history but I object to blatant lie and show India ( read Hindusism) in low light. This is what Pakistan needs to change. This is what will eventually change the mindset of people. Recommend

  • Joginder
    May 8, 2011 - 9:07PM

    @ Ashutosh. History is a lot more complex. Subhash didn’t directly achieve Independence: true. He ganged up with the Axis power: true again. But he shook the Britishers’ faith in relying on the British Indian Army to keep their empire safe for them anymore. Any lingering doubts were removed by the Naval Mutiny just after WW2. (Curiously, the Indian history books give a less than perfunctory treatment to this). Gandhi did succeed in mobilising the masses but it is doubtful if he would have achieved independence solely by this had the war not drained the colonial power so badly. The other Allied power USA played a role too. FDR kept leaning on the British to give more freedoms to the Indians. As for the Quit India agitation of 1942, our books make much of that. A lot of young people heeded Gandhi’s call and got killed taking part in this movement, but the books fail to tell us that it fizzled out in a few months due to the harsh measures that the embattled Britishers took. Churchill was the PM remember? And he had a deep and abiding hatred for Indians. An unexpected fallout of the imprisonment of Gandhi and the whole congress leadership was that Jinnah got the elbow room he so badly needed to push his demand for Pakistan. The books also fail to tell us that Jinnah had strongly advised Gandhi against exploiting the Khilafat agitation in the 1920s. “You’re playing with fire,” he had told him or words to that effect. Gandhi was not one who normally heeded advice. The jihadi genie was unbottled and the world is still reaping the bitter fruits. History, Ashutosh, is a helluva complex subject. Any objective history will have to wait for 70 or 80 years to get written.Recommend

  • Gautam Arya
    May 8, 2011 - 11:26PM

    @Raza Rumi:
    Dear Sir,
    This is the problem with the Pakistani intellectuals. You research and quote from fringe sources and try to draw equivalence between situation in India and Pakistan. BTW your your first link does even work. As I have mentioned before in on my my comments to another article, Indian society is a product of liberal, inclusive and secular idea (imperfectly implemented of-course) and Pakistani state and society is based on divisiveness, non-secular, and exclusive (fascist really) idea (imperfectly implemented as well). Obviously, there will be many similarities between the two countries, however, because the two societies are still evolving and are based on opposite ideals the gap between the two will increase in coming years and decades.
    Sad to say but even the “liberals” like yourself sir are really not free of mental baggage. If you really want to improve the situation in your country you will need to have much more open mind than you are currently displaying.

  • Rehmat
    May 8, 2011 - 11:27PM

    You SK “So if it’s not their textbooks, which is the case in Pakistan, although many other causes can be cited too, what is it that makes them revile Pakistan so much. Some of the answers from our Indian friends are rather predictable but I am looking for something beyond the smoke screens”.

    Indians know about the infiltration and terrorism in Kashmir since 1989 by Pak. This is now admitted even by Pakistanthat this was a state policy. Similarly in 1999 right after Vajpayee’s Lahore visit the Kargill adventure took place. Pak claimed it was non-state actors but in the end it was proved conclusively that this was architected by Pak army. The Parliament attack in Dc 2001 right after Musharraf’s Agra visit in July 2001 hasn’t been forgotten.
    The bomb blasts in Mumbai trains in 2006 and subsequent Pak supported bomb blasts in Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi to be capped by Mumbai 2008 have left deep scars on people’s minds.
    In 1965 commandos were sent and it was claimed these are non-state actors. Same thing in Kargill. So when Pakistan says that 2008 was work of non-state actors do you blame Indians for being cynical?

    Please listen to famous Indian Muslims like Javed Akhtar. They too are resentful about Pakistan – not just Indian Hindus.Recommend

  • shandana
    May 9, 2011 - 12:47AM

    we have seen the result of a nation brought up on lies. Recommend

  • Manit Parmar
    May 9, 2011 - 1:22AM


    No body says that as a society India is free of biases. If we were we did not have 1984 and 2002 carnage against Sikhs and Muslims (not to mention few other blots) But let me clarify few things here. These things have happened because of political motivation and was a result of worst kind of vote banking. The people who were involved in these riots were generally low income group people who were instigated to kill for few rupees or a bottle of alcohol. That is shameful and I dont think majority of Indians are proud of it. What I am trying to tell you here is that these incidents are not the result of what is taught in the schools but the biases that we hold within the society.The school text books are to certain extent free of biases. We dont teach our children which religion is better. We dont say Muslims are bad etc. But as a society we are biased and that kind of racism is always there even in the most advanced societies. Recommend

  • May 9, 2011 - 3:32PM

    Raza – there is no burden of patriotism when I say that Indian text books are largely even-handed in their treatment of history. Of course, as a hindu I would probably identify more with the exploits of Shivaji and you would hail the exploits of Akbar. I recall your writeup on India when you recently visited our country – you seemed to be seeking all the dargahs and the sufis of India – there is no mention of a temple visit, though you were in Bangalore which has some great specimens.

    Having said that I appreciate your hard-hitting article aimed not at us (indians) but your compatriots. And open-mindedness is a habit that is learned every day. Thank you for the reminder. Recommend

  • Unbiased
    May 9, 2011 - 10:02PM

    @Manit Parmar:
    Thank you Sir and I really appreciate your response.Recommend

  • Ashutosh
    May 9, 2011 - 10:20PM

    @Raza Rumi:
    Of the two link one dose not work and the other article by Faisal Kutti is all non-sense in the sense that they are not part of what the curriculum. We are discussing what our children are being taught and let us stick to that.

    There was an attempt by BJP to re-wright history books but the academic fraternity in India fought back and the new NCERT books (you mentioned) never became part of the curriculum.

    If you had read the history books by NCERT, then i would appreciate that you quote from there.

    I appreciate the purpose of your article and request you for constructive criticism. Please don’t quote a right-wingers opinion (books and articles) as we tooth and nail against polluting young and tender minds.

    I restate that the history books published by NCERT used by most schools in India do not generate any hatred or ill will against any community or religion in India or elsewhere.

    However, my offer of sending you one set of history books by NCERT from class sixth to class tenth stands at my cost of course.


  • Khurram
    May 10, 2011 - 4:15PM

    Pakistan is suffering from a condition that Hitler’s propaganda minister defines by saying that if you lie enough you start believing in it!!! That is what has happened to Pakistan today!!Recommend

  • IndependentPakistan
    May 10, 2011 - 5:35PM

    Mr. Raza Rumi. I wonder why don’t you write anything about different academic systems in Pakistan with respect to classes? Like poor kids not even going to school as they can’t afford, Middle class mostly in Provincial or Fedral Board and uppper class in Cambridge or any other Uk based system. Is it just only history which matters for you and its 0.05 percent which is controversial? Not Science, Maths, Geography or even computer for that matter.
    These days history of Pakistan or Islamiat doesn’t make better students but Math science and computer do so what the point ..?Recommend

  • Javed
    May 10, 2011 - 8:39PM

    I agree with you raz. The today nursery is very sharp they asks many questions still in their early age. we can not decieve them. we must tell our childeren what actually right is. So that at later stage they theirself can justify the history. Thanks for drawaing the attention.Recommend

  • Ravindra
    May 12, 2011 - 12:21PM

    Pakistan’s education system is obviously in sync with its obsession with India. It is sadly a nation that holds together on a single point agenda of “Hate India”. Take this agenda away and it is possible the nation will disintegrate. Beg to differ about the author’s reference to bias in Indian text books. Indian school syllabus is a lot more healthier and is oriented towards intellectual enrichment of the child. There is absolutely no attempt at instilling hatred in the minds of our children. As a matter of fact do not think there is any reference to Pakistan in any bad sense. Recommend

  • S Swarup
    May 12, 2011 - 3:03PM

    @Saad Durrani:
    To be illiterate is better than be poisoned by bigotry and calumny!!Recommend

  • concerned
    May 13, 2011 - 12:11PM

    excellent writ up!Recommend

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