The ‘evil’ in our textbooks

Published: August 31, 2013
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The writer is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution. She tweets @MadihaAfzal

The writer is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution. She tweets @MadihaAfzal

“His struggle was against the evil forces in the subcontinent.” No, this direct quote is not an excerpt from a badly written piece of fiction about wicked spirits. It comes from the official Pakistan Studies textbook for Classes 9-10 published in April 2013 by the Sindh Textbook Board (Jamshoro), which all students in the province taking their matric exams next year must study (and as we know, in Pakistan’s board examinations, study is a euphemism for memorise). The person referred to in the quote is Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi and the evil forces in question are the Sikhs.

Sindh has not yet published textbooks that follow the significantly improved 2006 curriculum; this one follows the old 2003-04 curriculum. Unsurprisingly, it has significant problems. Many of the most pernicious ones lie in the first two chapters on the ideological basis and making of Pakistan. The book begins with a chapter on Pakistan’s ideology, which should really belong in a religious book. I understand that we are an Islamic republic and religion will play a significant role in explaining Pakistan. But the book begins with no room for non-Muslims. In fact, the chapter states that we must “not discriminate on the basis of race, language, caste, colour, culture and wealth or poverty”. What about religion?

Read on, and our current tolerance breakdown starts to make sense. The same chapter lauds Pakistanis on having stood “like a rock against the enemy and foiled its evil designs” in the context of the 1965 war. Note that it doesn’t mention the ‘enemy’ by name (lest we think it is a friend). Next comes the chapter on the making of Pakistan and we are told about jihad in the context of Partition. Barelvi is said to have preached “jihad because it was not possible to get freedom from evil force without armed struggle”.

Our penchant for conspiracy theories also falls into place. We are taught that Muslims were victimised before Partition. The British conspired with the Hindus and the Congress to do so. One of the reasons given for “the fall of East Pakistan” is “international conspiracies”, with players as diverse as Russia, India and America conspiring against us. Little wonder, then, that we have an unhealthy sense of national paranoia.

In justifying Partition and Pakistan’s creation, must we keep things so biased and simplistic? Must we breed hatred? I understand the need for a national narrative, but other countries have reconciled more traumatic histories. Let’s take a page from their (text)books. It is time for us all to learn from the current academic research on Partition and our history.

The Sindh textbook is grossly deficient in quality. The language use is poor. The history content is very light, with little substance on Pakistan’s modern history and foreign policy. Instead, the authors engage in banal, unintelligent repetition. The geography content is chock-full of pointless facts without sufficient illustrations and maps. For example, it asks students to memorise the location of mountain ranges without those details given in a reference map. There are structural issues as well: the chapter order seems to make no logical sense.

There are some positives. The chapter on culture towards the end does not focus primarily on religion and actually counts celebration of non-Muslim festivals as part of our culture. But lest we start feeling too positive, here is another direct quote from the textbook, using the authors’ seemingly favourite word (see if you can guess this one): “Over-ambitiousness is the cause of all evil practices.” What a wonderful message for our youth: please don’t try too hard or you will become evil.

Punjab published textbooks following the new curriculum in 2013, seven years after the approved reform. I will be going through the Punjab classes 9-10 Pakistan Studies textbooks in my next column, but my initial impressions are positive: each chapter has learning objectives and there appears to be more substance on Pakistan’s modern history and foreign policy. If those initial impressions are indeed borne out by more detailed analysis, why did we lose so many years to the old textbooks?

Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2013.

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Reader Comments (63)

  • ModiFied
    Aug 31, 2013 - 11:59PM

    Wish these books are couriered to our Seema Mustafas aand Aakar Patels so that they can compare Indians texts and Pakistani texts to write their next article.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Sep 1, 2013 - 12:35AM

    less than one percent of non muslims dont go to muslim schools miss madhia i never seen one in my school and its also true what its said indian in there books calls mughal empire a occupation and Aurangzeb the dictator and sikhs even called him worst than what we saying
    and if u know the history then sikh raj was worst for kashmir and for pukhtoon area…… please use a wikipedia.

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  • Ahmed
    Sep 1, 2013 - 1:29AM

    @Author

    Please study history and stop trying to be an educationist. Stop commenting on religious personalities and historical events.

    One other thing. In any struggle or war there is one right and one wrong. I wonder if we can live with just observing and not choosing.

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  • Razi
    Sep 1, 2013 - 1:49AM

    Seema Mustafas and Aakar Patels are difficult to digest for you guys because they are honest enough to break free from the compulsions of nationalism, something that most of the Indian commentators here are unable to do.

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  • sid
    Sep 1, 2013 - 3:08AM

    @ModiFied:
    No,u will become communal by doing so……..

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  • Pakistan
    Sep 1, 2013 - 3:43AM

    So does the author know what is the correct history of Pakistan creation? If yes, please share with us in next article.

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  • Dr. Zubair Uddin Siddiqui
    Sep 1, 2013 - 6:34AM

    I never believed anything I was taught in School. The propaganda was so blatant and in-your-face that it made me angry that the textbook writers could think I was so gullible. But sadly Pakistan is full of people who lack the ability to think critically.

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  • akash
    Sep 1, 2013 - 7:21AM

    @Razi Seema Mustafas and Aakar Patels are difficult to digest for you guys because they are honest enough to break free from the compulsions of nationalism, something that most of the Indian commentators here are unable to do.

    And I am sure you are also a fan of Arundhati Roy and other leftist authors from India. While they can write what they want, it does not mean that they are stating facts or telling other side of the story. For Example Arundhati Roy will talk about Kashmir struggle as if she has been brutalised by Indian Army but never once will she talk about the killing of Kashmiri Pundits. And this for us ‘nationalist’ is a problem.

    Further there are many centrist, or right of centre writers in India who state the facts. Just because a writer is a nationalist doesn’t mean that he or she will be wrong. May be try following MJ Akbar(Pakistanis may find him unpalatable though) or Tavleen Singh. It is sad the ET only allows writers from India who plays to the gallery in Pakistan.

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  • Mirza
    Sep 1, 2013 - 8:50AM

    I am myself a mogul but the fact is Moguls were invaders. Babar left his will for his son that be nice to locals, respect their religion and do not kill cows, etc. Akbar even married a Hindu and did not force her to change her religion. Most in India still like Akbar for his secular policies. However, Aurangzeb killed all his own brothers, threw his old father in detention. When he came to know that his father looks at the Taj Mahal he made him blind. In addition Aurangzeb himself circled the Hyderabad Fort and fought tooth and nail against Hyderabad’s Muslim rulers. Last but not the least he killed the most revered Sikh religious leader Gru Gobind Singh. It is not surprising that most sunni Muslims, Shia, Hindus, Sikhs hate Aurangzeb who annihilated his own father and brothers for throne. He inherited largest empire than any Mogul king but with his dictatorial policies it was the end of the empire.

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  • Anjaan
    Sep 1, 2013 - 8:52AM

    @ Razi,
    Which one is better ….. to identify oneself on the basis of nationalism …. or to put religion before nationalism, and identify oneself on the basis of religion, just as you Muslims do ….. ??Recommend

  • Observer
    Sep 1, 2013 - 9:55AM

    @Ali Tanoli:

    ” its also true what its said indian in there books calls mughal empire a occupation and Aurangzeb the dictator”

    What is your point? Yes of course Mughals were invaders and occupiers from central asia. What were they- central asians, Arabs, Persians, Afghans, Turks etc.- doing in India?

    Aurangazeb was indeed a dictator and tyrant.

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  • Feroz
    Sep 1, 2013 - 11:10AM

    Extremism and Militancy spring from these very textbooks and against the popular narrative that they spring from poverty. The educated are the most militant in their mindset which is reflected in the composition of many families with one member joining the military and the other joining a terror group, both of course are understood to be protecting the country — in reality they are protecting a fake ideology and destroying the nation they did nothing to deserve. Of course all of it is in “National Interest”, welfare of the people being of no relevance.

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  • Khurram Javed
    Sep 1, 2013 - 11:20AM

    @Ahmed : “One other thing. In any struggle or war there is one right and one wrong.”

    What an absurd statement! Most of wars are NOT that black and white. And instead of pointing out flaws in the article, you said, “Stop commenting on religious personalities and historical events.” Who are you to decide what others can comment on?

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  • csmann
    Sep 1, 2013 - 12:28PM

    And the party of “Naya Pakistan” has opted to put Jihad back into text-books. So far Jihad has been directed against ordinary Pakistanis and Afghans.So much for the forward-thinking!!!

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  • Razi
    Sep 1, 2013 - 12:34PM

    @Anjaan

    I put religion before nationalism while for you, nationalism is a kind of religion. And my religion does not tell me to take positions against people on the basis of their nationality.

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  • np
    Sep 1, 2013 - 1:08PM

    @Razi: “Seema Mustafas and Aakar Patels are difficult to digest for you guys because they are honest enough to break free from the compulsions of nationalism, something that most of the Indian commentators here are unable to do.

    Seema has not broken free of her nationalism. She just defines it differently from most Indians including Indian Muslims. She views herself as part of the Muslim ummah and actually feels happy when India faces economic challenges. She had also threatened the Indian government of a ‘Muslim revolt’, f it did not condemn the Iraq war. Remember, India never participated anyway and had even said that the war was not justifiable but she was not satisfied because the word condemn was not used. She did not care that her prposed course of action would not be in India’s national interest because for her, what happened to India was less important than what happened to Muslims.

    All criticism directed to Seema is based on facts.

    As far as Aakar goes, you probably did not read his last OpEd or maybe just read its headline. He basically concludes that discrimination is NOT responsible for lower representation of Muslims in white color jobs or his last couple of OpEds also.

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  • Razi
    Sep 1, 2013 - 1:16PM

    @Akash

    I like Arundhati Roy. I may not always agree with her but I believe she is a great writer. Have read M J Akbar occasionally but again may not agree with him on many things. But he too writes well. About being unpalatable, I don’t have issues with writers merely because they criticise Pakistan. In fact, I could agree with many things they say. Unfortunately, the Indians commenting here have serious issues with anyone even mildly critical of India. These ultra-nationalists see it as their duty to defend their country on a Pakistani news site while also doing the opposite with regard to Pakistan, which appears to be the main purpose of many who come on these pages, with the purported aim of providing “facts” to gullible Pakistanis. Facts and their interpretation is tricky business and anyone claiming a monopoly on these is deluded.

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  • gp65
    Sep 1, 2013 - 1:18PM

    ETBLOGS1987

    @Ali Tanoli: Babar was called an invader which he was. Akbar and Shah Jahan were not called invaders because they were born and died in India. Aurangzeb was called a dictator because that is how he governed – not because of his religion. If you read what he did to Guru Tegh Bahadur ji then it will be apparent why the Sikhs hold a grudge against him. But Aurangzeb’s atrocities against the SIkhs are not taught in school books nor his atrocities against Hindus. elaborated. In fact even facts about how Ghaznavi and Ghori destroyed temples and looted and raped are not taught in Indian school books to prevent anti-Muslim feeling.

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  • V. C. Bhutani
    Sep 1, 2013 - 1:47PM

    @Mirza:
    Sir, Your history needs revision. Aurangzeb fought Guru Gobind Singh as long as he was alive but Aurangzeb did not kill him. Guru Gobind Singh died a year after Aurangzeb. Babar’s teaching was good and was followed closely by Akbar. But Aurangzeb proved a very different kind of a ruler. He did not conciliate his non-Muslim subjects or even his Muslim contemporaries, e.g., those in Hyderabad, as you say. Besides, Aurangzeb’s title of Alamgir (literally, ruler of the world) was not to the liking of the contemporary Safavid emperor of Iran: in those days the Mughal empire in India and the Safavid empire in Iran were the Great Powers of the age. Unfortunately, after Aurangzeb his legacy of opposition to non-Muslims in India brought about the fall of the Mughal empire, combined with several other factors. You may like to consider Riazul Islam (PhD, Cambridge, 1957), Indo-Persian Relations: A Study of the Political and Diplomatic Relations between the Mughul Empire and Iran, Teheran, Iranian Cultural Foundation, 1970. V. C. Bhutani, Delhi, 1 Sep 2013, 1417 IST

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  • islah jan
    Sep 1, 2013 - 2:12PM

    It is good to know, courtesy this article that us being bemused by conspiracy theories is not something new. It is deeply rooted as it appears from this article that even our forefathers, at least some of them tended to believe that it was the West etc behind their woes just like people in our times attribute every bad thing to have been done by ‘outsiders’. Farid Zakaria was perhaps one of those pioneers who first disclosed that Pakistan and some countries in Africa are good places for conspiracies to thrive. Madiha seems to draw inspiration from him.

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  • LIAQAT ALI
    Sep 1, 2013 - 2:44PM

    @Observer:
    Where will you stop.By extension , isnt it true that Araians were invaders too so cast out brahmins who are araians. Finally you will be left with people, indians called untouchables until few years back. Same is true for most Americans today.Demographics always change, nations merge,evaporate , born , if you broaden your horizon a bit.Nobody or nations own a land forever.

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  • Abubakr
    Sep 1, 2013 - 3:26PM

    What do you say about the EVIL America is doing to Muslims all over the world? Now it’s Syria’s turn.

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  • jssidhoo
    Sep 1, 2013 - 3:31PM

    @Ali Tanoli: As per your suggestion i did use Wikipedia and i quote “In 1831, Ranjit Singh deputed his mission to Simla to confer with the British governor general, Lord William Bentinck. Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, Fakir Aziz-ud-din and Diwan Moti Ram ― a Sikh, a Muslim and a Hindu representative ― were nominated at its head.”Now its difficult to get more secular than that . I read the article and i thought the Sikhs were rather tolerant and secular considering the times here is the link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranjit_Singh . Regarding Aurangzeb he was a tyrant and i am being very polite when i say that, however India lets bygones be bygones and we have a very prestigious road in the heart of Delhi named Aurangzeb Road contrast that with your failed attempts to name a chowk after Saheed Bhagat Singh . In our history books the most tolerant of the Mughal rulers Akbar is referred to as Akbar the Great. You may also be surprised to learn that our holy book the Guru Granth Sahib has many verses by Sant Kabir and Baba Farid . We are not as evil as you make us out to be .

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  • akash
    Sep 1, 2013 - 3:32PM

    @Razi I appreciate your honesty. May I add as much as I love India, I am happy to criticize my motherland for things that are not right. There is a perception in Pakistan that we do not talk about the issues plaguing India, which is is far from truth. If we do not confront our issues then how can we solve it. Every time harping on one riot, one issue, figures of poverty(which we know) is not the solution. One has to acknowledge the the huge size, complexity and diversity of the country and provide solution rather than just keep vomiting same stuff always.

    For example, I don’t have much problem with Aakar’s article today.

    I think most of Indians who post on ET generally rebut the author’s point. There may be few ‘ultra nationalist’. But more or less i think they raise some valid points. In fact, I quite like a good debate that sometimes take place on ET. Further, I would also like if Mustafas or other writers can answer some of the points raised by many of my Indian friends. If the author finds the comment incorrect, he/she can join the debate.

    Regarding issues in Pakistan, I wish them luck in solving it and I am not the one to poke my nose.

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  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan
    Sep 1, 2013 - 3:33PM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    Maharaja ranjit Singh conquered the western portion of pakistan namely Peshawar through nalwa Singh he stopped the eastward invasion of india by being the the first Indian ruler to cross the Khyber to the other side.The Peshawar city and the area which you got after partition was the part of Lahore darbar annexed by the British and you got it from them. He was a secular ruler with Muslim foreign minister and army Marshall who composed the French and the Italians who came to his services after their forces lost to the British in Europe. He was the “SON OF THE SOIL” unlike the abdali and ghori who came to pillage india. He got kohinoor diamond from shah shuja which now pakistan claims as its own like india. “TAKHT LAHORE” and “SHERE PUNJAB” is used to acknowledge him and likewise pakistani newspapers now use it to admire the shareef brothers now.Besides porus and ranjit Singh which other ruler has Punjab in 2000 years. He was a ruler and nobody is perfect but English never dared attack Lahore darbar till he was alive and it is a fact.Rab rakha

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  • F
    Sep 1, 2013 - 3:48PM

    Let us talk about evil in a straight forward manner and not cloak it in quotes. Children at a very young age are being taught to hate. What they learn in the classroom is amplified at the mosque and reinforced by the media. The results are there for everyone to see. Even the rich, with access to various points of view, firmly believe in fantastic conspiracies.

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  • x
    Sep 1, 2013 - 3:59PM

    History texts, in any country, are always a bit biased towards the home country. There is a reason why American kids, raised on a diet of hamburgers, and ideas of American freedom and American supremacy, believe their country to be the upholder of all human rights and ideal while disregarding all others as inferior. However, schools are supposed to teach the skill of critical thinking as well. And the texts and chocie sentences you have quoted are deplorable. Who is writing these textbooks? Where is the education ministry?sending their kids to private school and universities abroad, not the public schools or madrasas, hence the apathy.

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  • Haseeb
    Sep 1, 2013 - 4:17PM

    same is the case with india which has sizeable muslim population but no voices raised there,looks like all human rights,love and peace issues pertain to Pakistan and Pakistan only

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Sep 1, 2013 - 5:01PM

    @OBSERVER
    Our heros are diffrent our villon are diffrent our food our thoughts our place of worships our
    way of living, eating our way of talking our merriages and deaths our way of ruled india diffrent i guess we are two nations and will be that way forever.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Sep 1, 2013 - 5:08PM

    @gp65
    We think of sikh raj the same way.

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  • Ram Ram
    Sep 1, 2013 - 5:29PM

    Even the rich, with access to various
    points of view, firmly believe in
    fantastic conspiracy theories.

    Why should this surprise?? Pakistan came into existence through conspiracy theories. No I don’t rue Akand Bharat, just stating the fact.

    @ahmed
    “Stop commenting on religious personalities and historical events.”

    This attitude is called fascism.

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  • Pappu
    Sep 1, 2013 - 5:49PM

    @ gp65
    “Aurangzeb was called a dictator because that is how he governed – not because of his religion”

    Aurangzeb was highly influenced by his religion. Please read his biography. He reversed everything what Akbar had implemented through his secular views of governance. I am sure you would even deny role of religion in the creation of Pakistan.

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  • Naveen
    Sep 1, 2013 - 6:18PM

    These band-aid type solutions can’t address the real issue. In my view, Pakistan needs a solid dose of Sharia for atleast 1-2 decades to get its lost senses back and re-emerge as a modern nation state. For those lost in illusions & day dreams, a tight slap on the face is sometimes the only cure.

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  • FactCheck
    Sep 1, 2013 - 6:55PM

    @Razi:

    Pandering and lies become truth to panders and piers. Read some good books on history instead of Wikipedia. In the last couple of years there are some great book written by Pakistani Authors who has done a great deal of academic research.

    Please read Punjab Bloddied Partioned and Cleansed by Ishtiaq Ahmed.

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  • Chulbul Pandey
    Sep 1, 2013 - 7:00PM

    @LIAQAT ALI: Where will you stop.By extension , isnt it true that Araians were invaders too so cast out brahmins who are araians.

    Liaqat ji, first of all, the word is “Aryan” a Sanskrit word for noble people: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Aryan
    .
    Secondly, I believe you are referring to Aryan Invasion Theory. The theory has been duly debunked. Don’t take my word for it and check for yourself. It’s about time we stop blindly following the factually incorrect version of history.

    Sincerely.

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  • Insaan
    Sep 1, 2013 - 7:00PM

    @gp65: Aurangzeb was called a dictator because that is how he governed – not because of his religion.

    Accused of idolatry and apostasy from Islam, Aurangzeb’s brother Dara was condemned to death, and the sentence was carried out on the night of 30 August 1659, one year after Aurangzeb took over the Fort at Agra and assumed the throne. Aurangzeb DELIVERED THE HEAD OF HIS BROTHER TO THEIR FATHER.

    Sikhs, whose leader, Guru Tegh Bahadur, was killed at Aurangzeb’s command when he refused to convert to Islam.

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  • Anjaan
    Sep 1, 2013 - 7:08PM

    @ Razi,
    But your religion tells you to take position on the basis of religion …… which is far more dangerous …… the result is, you Muslims do not care about the well being of a nation you live in, unless it is a Muslim majority ……. !!!Recommend

  • mirza
    Sep 1, 2013 - 7:12PM

    @Mirza:
    I am a mughal a sunni and i like Aurangzeb Alamgir…he was bad and he was good too.

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  • Insaan
    Sep 1, 2013 - 7:19PM

    @Pakistan: So does the author know what is the correct history of Pakistan creation? If yes, please share with us in next article.

    Jinnah called for a Direct Action Day on 16 Aug, 1946 also known as the Great Calcutta Killings. This was a day of widespread riot and manslaughter initiated by the Muslim league in the city of Calcutta (now known as Kolkata) in the Bengal province of British India.The day also marked the start of what is known as The Week of the Long Knives.

    Five thousand people died in the first 3 days, more then 100,000 became homeless and it all ended with deaths of millions of people. Muslims had pre-planned to kill Hindus and Sikhs and make Pakistan a pure Muslim country. Muslims succeeded in their plans.

    In 1971 Pakistani Muslims started killing East Pakistanis when they demanded equal rights. A total of 3 million people were killed by Pakistanis before they Indian forced moved to stop the slaughter. Ninety three thousand brave soldiers surrendered who were allowed to go back home safely by India.

    Do you know when Sunnis started killing Shias? No it did not start last year, it started when Shia religion was started.

    Lot of Muslim rulers killed other Muslim rulers in India. Now Pakistanis are following in their footsteps and are killing each others in mosques, funerals and markets.

    Killers think they will go to heaven for killing kafirs and those killed are considered martyred and eligible for heaven too.

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  • Naveen
    Sep 1, 2013 - 7:56PM

    Textbook issue is a mere symptom of a much larger problem – mixing religion with business of State.

    Anyway for an impassioned observer like me, Pakistan is a good test case to study what circumstances force countries to move towards Secularism.

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  • Khan Bhai
    Sep 1, 2013 - 7:59PM

    @Observer: Aurangazeb was as much a tyrant/dictator as Ranjeet Singh or Alexander. Personally I don’t think you understand the meaning of the word dictator but then again its not required for you to comment.

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  • Ammar
    Sep 1, 2013 - 8:12PM

    Ms author how much money did RAW paid you for this propoganda? And if you don’t know the rationale of creating Pakistan then just go through the details of the treatment which Congress meted out to Muslims after winning elections in 1930’s.Our forefathers were not mad!

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  • Deepwater
    Sep 1, 2013 - 8:58PM

    @Razi: I put religion before nationalism while for you, nationalism is a kind of religion.

    That one sentence, Sir, sums up the difference between the two sides of the border. We can have endless debates but, in the end, it all comes down to those few words.

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  • India First
    Sep 1, 2013 - 9:08PM

    Indian School History books have remained bit neutral mainly due to efforts of people like Romil Thapars etc. Had rightist been ruling India since 1947…Indian hsitory books wud have been worst than Pakistanis. Rightist in India wud have deimated all Islamic, Pre- Historis, tribal culture

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  • observer
    Sep 1, 2013 - 10:06PM

    @Razi:

    I put religion before nationalism while for you, nationalism is a kind of religion.And my religion does not tell me to take positions against people on the basis of their nationality.

    That is very civil of you. Now can you explain,

    A. Why East Pakistanis had to become Bangladeshis? The religion remained the same.

    B. Why Islamic Republic of Iran had to fight a 10 year war with Iraq?

    C. Why Saudi Arabia is allergic to the Syrians?

    D. Why Bihari Muslims heading for Pakistan are not welcome in Pakistan?

    I do not see any ‘religious differences’ here.

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  • Naveen
    Sep 1, 2013 - 10:06PM

    @Naveen:
    Apparently there’s more than just name that we share. Rigid Sharia for Pakistan would indeed be a very interesting experiment. Great leadership emerges out of great crises.Recommend

  • observer
    Sep 1, 2013 - 10:13PM

    @Ali Tanoli:

    its also true what its said indian in there books calls mughal empire a occupation and Aurangzeb the dictator and sikhs even called him worst than what we saying

    Are you sure about that/ Here is a link to History Textbook covering India from the 10th to 17th Century. Find out for yourself.

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

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  • Rakib
    Sep 1, 2013 - 10:56PM

    @Mirza:
    In the blood-soaked subcontinent Aurangzeb was not unique. From genocidal Asoka to Shah Jahan many indulged in fratricide even patricide. Central theme of one of the Indian epics is fratricide. And internecine war among Yadavs of Gujarat had gone on till an entire lot was annihilated. Babur invaded a Sultanate & too killed a Muslim & his son Humayun was betrayed by his brothers & chased by a Muslim Sher Shah. Aurangzeb, a notorious temple breaker had protected Palitana Jain temples & a fair minded Akbar did hurt Hindu sentiments in his campaigns & kept his brother in confinement for life. Both Jahangir & Shah Jahan rebelled against their respective fathers; Jahangir imprisoned & blinded his own son; Jahangir tortured & killed the 4th Sikh Guru Arjun; Shah Jahan killed his brothers & their sons..and yet it is Aurangzeb, a sound & incorruptible administrator, that is the most maligned villain by the historians! He was only as good or as bad as any other, much better, tad worse. But only he comes thru an evil man. It is the cold-blooded, remorseless, divisive personality of the man that made him appear more evil, not merely his deeds. The evil lived after him, the good was interred with his bones. Anyone hopeful of governing India in near future should learn from that.

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  • amit (India)
    Sep 1, 2013 - 11:09PM

    An enemy of Pakistan can only fervently hope that this poison remains in Pakistan’s history books. Are they harming India or ‘Hindus’ by what they print in their text books? Hardly. It is their own society which is getting poisoned and it is Pakistanis who seem to be suffering the most at the hand of the self proclaimed ‘soldiers of the faith’. Closed minds and blind fanaticism are the most desirable properties for an enemy.

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  • csmann
    Sep 1, 2013 - 11:30PM

    @Naveen:
    Go watch Mohenjodaro Hotel

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  • Pakistan
    Sep 1, 2013 - 11:33PM

    @Insaan:
    So you guys didn’t do anything! Correct?

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Sep 1, 2013 - 11:44PM

    @P.SMadan,
    @JSsidhu,
    Madan ji Ranjhit singh went to peshawer but didnot come to Tanawel and chitral we were not part his rule and its a sad part of history when muslims of india got trap in diffrent conspricies from white christians who were allowed to do bussnis in india by libral hearts mughals but they took advantage of that and hired local naked and hungeries to control the country second thing mr Sidhu, he was not libral who had diffrent faith peoples in his cabinet
    but it was a way of rule invented and practiced by Mughals when they saw the diversity of india and the truth is Mughals were loved by 80% of local population and thats why they fought for Mughals even in 1857 freedom war. and we also know how and what english done to india after that war……

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  • Ali
    Sep 2, 2013 - 2:27AM

    @Rakib

    The greatest tribute (by default, or by drawing equivalence) to Alamgir Aurangzeb. Nuance can turn interpretation dance on the head of facts, even when gleaned from K K AZIZ and Jadoonath Sirkar.

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  • Pradhan
    Sep 2, 2013 - 2:55AM

    @Ali Tanoli:

    1857 was for mughals ??

    You are nothing but a big joke.

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  • Pradhan
    Sep 2, 2013 - 2:58AM

    @observer:

    You are wasting your time with Ali Tanoli.

    He speaks from what he has heard. He has no desire to find out what the truth is.

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  • csmann
    Sep 2, 2013 - 3:01AM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    Mythology is no history.As if there was any mughal empire left in 1857.it stretched from one end of the red-fort to the other.Mughals neither declared war on english,nor participated.They were just pulled into the fray for symbolism.It was the war of the masses-both Hindu and Muslim.

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Sep 2, 2013 - 3:22AM

    @Ali Tanoli: ” … but it was a way of rule invented and practiced by Mughals when they saw the diversity of india and the truth is Mughals were loved by 80% of local population … “

    What nonsense.

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  • Brookside
    Sep 2, 2013 - 8:53AM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    If Pakistan follows Aurangzeb as its ideal all I can say is good luck for future. He was one Mughal ruler who gave deathly blow to Mughal empire. It’s always good idea to read books beyond what is commonly recommended in country’s syllabus .

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  • Observer
    Sep 2, 2013 - 9:26AM

    @Ali Tanoli:

    “@OBSERVER
    Our heros are diffrent our villon are diffrent our food our thoughts our place of worships our
    way of living, eating our way of talking our merriages and deaths our way of ruled india diffrent i guess we are two nations and will be that way forever.”

    You are regurgitating the two nation theory. We are not disputing the creation of Pakistan. It is a done deal and the reality. We can agree on that.

    What is amazing is that many Pakistanis such as you expect the Indians to accept the Mughals, Turks, Persians, Afghans etc. invaders as their own legitimate historical heroes. If so, why not also accept British colonial rulers too as our legitimate rulers and heroes? For the Indians (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and native Muslims), the Greeks, Arabs, Turkics, Persians, Afghans, Central Asian Mughals, the British were all invaders of their ancient lands. What is so wrong in this view? Isn’t that the truth?

    Of course India is different. It has an ancient history and culture dating back to over 5000 years. On the contrary, Pakistanis think their history started with the invasion of Sindh by bin Qasim, though a vast majority of Pakistanis are converted Hindus. You have the right to imagine yourself as an Arab etc,. but doesn’t that, ipso facto, make you an occupier of ancient Hindu lands?

    Again, I am not arguing against the formation of Pakistan. Just pointing out the contradiction and fallacies of your views and the distorted history that you have been taught in Pakistan studies.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Sep 2, 2013 - 5:17PM

    @CSman
    Agreed sir.

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  • Gp65
    Sep 2, 2013 - 9:40PM

    ETBLOGS1987

    ET mods(2nd attempt) :I am trying to respond to people who have written to me.

    @Pappu:
    @Insaan:

    Yes I am not unaware of Aurangzeb’s oppression of Hindus and Sikhs. All I was saying is that our Indian textbooks are silent on this point. Just as they are silent on the point about all the temples that were destroyed by Ghaznavi. This was in response to @Ali Tanoli who was trying to establish false equivalence between Indian textbooks and Pakistani textbooks which is the subject of this OpEd.

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  • Manoj Joshi India
    Sep 3, 2013 - 9:55PM

    The history of these two South Asian republics viz Republic of India and Islamic Republic of Pakistan have been a history of dichotomies, antipathies and distrust. The gist has been that the hero of one has been the villain for the other. Thus where Aurangzeb has been spelled for his bigotry the reference to the Sikh forces as evil by Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi has been the feature of historiography within India and Pakistan. This unfortunately has been the story since 1947 and a not very cordial relationship has remained and order of the day which now has started to show a certain degree of thaw. The political winter that had prevailed for almost six decades apparently seems to be on a retreat but it is perhaps too early to arrive at any conclusion. There have been political hiccups that still do occur on a periodic basis which do shake the growing edifice of trust, understanding and amity. The political tremors wherein antipathy towards the visiting sportsmen is a part does create an apprehension in the minds of the people of the two nations. The basic dichotomy of India and Pakistan has been their history which although common prior to 1947 had a dichotomy wherein the hero of one side was perceived as a villain by the other and vice versa and it is this dichotomy that the British rulers took advantage of and further promoted this political and historic virus by introducing the Communal Electorate System which was given the name of ‘Communal Award’ and it was this communal divide that created a further rift between the two communities the Hindus and Muslims which inevitably culminated in the partition of British India in 1947 into two dominions. However, the post independence era was a time when Cold War was at its peak and India and Pakistan opted different kinds of alliances viz Non-Aligned Group and CENTO respectively. It is rather easy to blame Pakistan at hindsight with regard to their having joined the CENTO as simple it has been to blame India for having adopted a policy of Non-Alignment and having remained a Third World. The truth or reality is that the leaderships of the two countries Pakistan as well as India took recourse to a policy that suited their national and geo-strategic interests and this was the reason why India got close to the Soviet bloc and Pakistan to the US bloc. Although now there has been a change in the entire geo-strategic situations and this has been a global development. India is now a well developed economy and Pakistan too has come a long way since 1947. Coming back to the point of Indo-Pak antipathy and distrust wherein political and diplomatic misunderstandings too have played a major role the change is possible only through public and political will. First and the foremost the need to review and modify the parameters of patriotism in the two neighbouring countries is very important. Even during a sports event the entire match is viewed with a perception of hostility and antipathy and defeat is perceived as some sort of an anti-national act of the players which is a rather unfortunate and the perceptions need to be changed. This negative patriotism of antipathy, distrust and dislike towards the neighbour must be shown the door. Secondly the need to develop a perception that the neighbour is as noble and as holy as we are hence they too need to be given a fair chance to prove their credibility. Thirdly economic relations between the two neighbours ought to be promoted and economic nationalism needs to be given the driving seat in place of a radical political patriotism. Finally old and obsolete issues should be shelved or put in the back burner as they are of no utility to either sides as these issues have only promoted distrust and antipathy and have had a detrimental impact on the economies of the two neighbouring countries. Hence these issues should be laid to rest after a sincere and comprehensive dialogue. Hatred towards the neighbour or spewing venom through vitriolic remarks or preventing bilateral sports is in no way a patriotic act but should be considered as one of the most malicious and unpatriotic acts. The people of India and Pakistan should therefore come forward and oppose any such act that is provocative and detrimental to peace in this region or has a negative effect on Indo-Pak friendship. TRUST, AMITY and UNDERSTANDING are the only pillars that can promote a more cordial bilateral relationship between the two neighbours.

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  • Observer
    Sep 3, 2013 - 11:58PM

    @Manoj Joshi India:

    With due respect, you need to learn some netiquette and proper composing. All capitals, all bold, no paragraph on long posts etc. are difficult on the eye and not proper writing technique.

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