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Confronting Pakistan’s official narrative

November 15, 2010 1 comment

An average student exposed to 12 years of Pakistan Studies basically learns how to blame everything bad that happens in Pakistan on the proverbial Hindu conspiracy. Partition is depicted as a triumph of the Muslim mind and collective will in the face of almost insurmountable Hindu intransigence. Subsequently, the Hindus have conspired with just about everyone else to undermine Pakistan (by launching three wars of aggression and initiating other direct and indirect assaults against Pakistan’s core interests).

It would be one thing if the distortion of facts was the only problem with this narrative. More lethal is the effect of such ‘learning’ on the working of the mind. The ‘hate-Hindus’ story simply does not tally with what students are made to believe was the logic for creating Pakistan in the first place. Yet this basic contradiction is never confronted. In all of my time as a teacher I have found very few students who have been able to reconcile the fact that Pakistan was ostensibly conceived to allow Muslims the peace of mind and opportunities for independent development which they apparently lacked in a united India with the persistence of the ‘Hindu threat’ after partition.

In other words, if it was necessary to create Pakistan to free Muslims from majoritarian tyranny then why has the sovereign state of Pakistan been unable to build a future for itself free from the spectre of Indian hegemony? If one argues, as our establishment intellectuals do, that India’s evil designs have prevented Pakistan from moving beyond the bitter legacy of Hindu-Muslim rivalry in the last few decades of British rule, then surely these intellectuals made a mess of their prediction that all would be well once the Muslim mass secured a separate country for itself. (read more via Pol Eco, NOS, The News International).

The ‘official’ Pakistani narrative of history is full of holes – just like India’s. Indian history after more than 60 years of British departure, remains mired in colonial conclusions – with a Congressi overlay.

Those who control the past, control the future, said a British colonial writer. Changing Indian history is possibly more important for the world – as it is for India itself.

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