Our ideological education

Published: November 27, 2014
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The writer teaches History at Forman Christian College Lahore and tweets 
at @BangashYK

The writer teaches History at Forman Christian College Lahore and tweets at @BangashYK

A few weeks ago, a lot of ink was spilled in various newspapers against the directive of the Higher Education Commission, which ‘reminded’ universities to prevent anything against the ‘ideology’ of Pakistan from taking place on their campuses. While the efforts of my colleagues in decrying this rather absurd directive is to be lauded, the truth is that the ‘ideology’ of Pakistan — whatever that really is — is in fact being stringently preserved in the universities, and clearly etched in the minds of our students. The ideologues need not fear.

A few days ago, I was passing by Mall Road in Lahore and glanced across the Punjab University Old Campus to see the statue of Dr Alfred Woolner, an eminent Sanskrit scholar and former vice-chancellor of the University of the Punjab (Dr Woolner’s statue is the only remaining public statue in Lahore and survived the ravages of the 1950s and 1970s when Lahore lost most of its public history). What I saw shocked me in the least. While the statue itself had weathered the times, some well-meaning person had added a line to his name and years of worldly life. The addition reads: Israel’s Mother’s Friend (the real meaning is lost in translation, but I hope most of you can figure it out). Of course, the reason for adding this extra line — and it has been there for months to the great oblivion of the scholars of the University of the Punjab — was to ensure that people get to know the real loyalty of Dr Woolner, who while working and dying in Lahore, trying to educate the people of Punjab, and strengthening the only university Pakistan later inherited, was actually working for Israel — a country which did not exist at the time of his death, and was against Pakistan — which also did not exist and nor was even the Muslim League committed to its establishment till four years after the death of Dr Woolner.

But then these are minor details. Just as setting up an Israel stall at the Model United Nations (UN) programme (Israel is a full member of the UN) is a great threat to the ideology of Pakistan, Dr Woolner’s educational work in Lahore was also an Israeli scheme. I was about to note that Dr Woolner’s scholarship on Sanskrit might have exhibited that he was an Israeli agent, but then Dr Leitner’s scholarship on Islamic law and promotion of the study of Arabic and Persian is also not acceptable in Pakistan since he was a Hungarian Jew. Government College’s proposal to rename Kutchery Road in Dr Leitner’s honour was shot down on this premise. People like these are always foreign agents, no matter what their contribution to life and scholarship in this region.

Therefore, I am very happy to note that the ‘ideology of Pakistan’ is very safe on our campuses and nearly every day, concerted efforts are made to preserve and promote it. For example, poor revisionists try and teach our students lies about Pakistan’s history, but little do they know that even after a full semester of trying to teach such objectionable material, our students — who even perspire ideology — will equate all Indians with Hindus, will have a visceral hatred of Hindus and disdain towards their religion (one vice-chancellor has even publicly ridiculed the religion and its people), and despise everything related to Israel — without knowing anything about the country. With such good students, the scandalous attacks on their good ideological education by people who write on these pages — and other such miscreants — will have no effect. These revisionists might try, but in the end, will only win one or two per cent converts to their reprehensible ideas. The Higher Education Commission should rest assured.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Rahul
    Nov 27, 2014 - 1:13AM

    You should write and speak more often. I listen to your speeches on Youtube. Be careful of the mob, they are out to silence anybody with any sanity.

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  • sabi
    Nov 27, 2014 - 1:36AM

    This is JI school of thought which has been allowed to flourish in society courtesy power hungry Generals.I believe their fate is sealed they have to go there is no other option.

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  • observer
    Nov 27, 2014 - 2:06AM

    Mr. Bangash,

    You are wasting your time pointing to the increasing radicalization of Pakistan. The country has descended into an irreversible deep spiral that is surely taking it back to the ignorant and intolerant 7th century.

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  • wb
    Nov 27, 2014 - 3:38AM

    ideology of Pakistan is based on considering India an enemy.

    The problem today is, Muslims across the world face insurmountable problems, mostly created by themselves. Pretty much every muslim country is a failure or failing or slowly failing.

    Most importantly, when Muslims and Pakistanis look around, they only see depressing gloom and not a ray of hope.

    Now, Pakistan being the self appointed leader of the Muslim world, (notwithstanding that it’s an utterly failed state) needs to find reasons to this failure.

    To look at itself and say that Pakistan is created based on hatred and imagined enmity would be tantamount to admitting the failure of Quaid e azam. That would be tantamount to destroying the ideology of Pakistan.

    So the easy way out…

    So, the easy way out to rationalize the failure of the 1.3 billion Muslims and the spectacular failure of Pakistan is to attribute the blame on others. Viz: India, Israel and USA.

    Also ask Muslims, they will tell you that Muslims must follow Islam precisely to reach success and glory. Muslims are flawed, but Islam is perfect. Very few (the most intelligent) Muslims admit that Islam itself needs reforms. To say that Islam needs reform is tantamount to saying Islam is not perfect. That is equal to conflicting with the words of god.

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  • Nov 27, 2014 - 5:35AM

    Prof. Bangash, is there any way the mistrust between people be eliminated to live in peace and harmony? The religion in state affairs has destroyed the trust between India and Pakistan. In realty everything is not as bad as it looks. And people like you will eventually will win. Thanks for writing this good article like many more you have written.

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  • AJAY Gupta
    Nov 27, 2014 - 7:53AM

    well, you asked for pakistan, didn’t you? Land of the pure? Oh so grand and mighty!! Now live with it!

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  • Ahmed Saeed
    Nov 27, 2014 - 9:42AM

    Rightly spoken but unfortunately, there’s nobody to notice and probably nothing will change. But I agree with you 100%.

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  • Sadhana
    Nov 27, 2014 - 11:11AM

    No need to force a relationship between Pak and India over such determined and deep rooted opposition. Pakistan should look west there are no Hindus and more than enough Muslims to build relations with. India should look east or anywhere other than unwilling and hostile Pakistan.

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  • Urvashi
    Nov 27, 2014 - 11:29AM

    May be you have cast pearls before you know who

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  • vinsin
    Nov 27, 2014 - 12:00PM

    @AJAY Gupta:
    Muslims who voted and created in Pakistan are in India and never allowed or say never moved to Pakistan. MIM is going to launch itself all over India in 2016 and then demand a partition again.

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  • Parvez
    Nov 27, 2014 - 11:49PM

    The fact that even one teaching professor has his head screwed on right…….is a good sign because one should never underestimate the power of ‘ one ‘.

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  • Yo2Da2
    Nov 28, 2014 - 11:44PM

    @vinsin: Boy, what logic (or lack thereof). First of all, if only Muslims voted to “create” Pakistan, then that was a fundamental flaw behind Partition. As British India was a multi-religious, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural nation, its division along a single dimension (religion) was not only unfair but wrong. ALL Indians should have voted in a referendum on whether to create Pakistan or not. If a similar demand from your side – repeated so often as it has become an article of faith – on Indian Kashmir seems so right to you, why wasn’t such a demand made for the division of a much larger entity – India – equally warranted and right? West Pakistan was given six times more land than the eastern wing despite glaring disparities of Muslim populations in the two wings (40 million in the East versus 32 million in the West). And since as many Muslims stayed behind in India as were part of the western wing (now the Islamic Republic of Pakistan), why was no land allocated to India for them? That, my dear friend, is the real crux of the issue that you and your side refuses to recognize. Instead indulging in all kinds of fog-inducing nonsensical blather Forget about another Partition of India along religious lines. That’s your mindset and kneejerk solution to any difficult problems. That is not how democracies work! To create and maintain a democracy, especially as complex and large as India’s, requirs constant hard work. (Dictatorships are relatively easy to operate – through force.) The American Civil War was fought because the slave-holding southern states wanted to secede from the American Union. President Abraham Lincoln wouldn’t have it. The Union soldiers fought against the rebels under Robert E. Lee and defeated them: The Union was preserved and slavery abolished. Today’s Southerners wear their American patriotism on their sleeves.

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