How does Pakistan teach children history, as most of their history is India's too?
Pakistan lives with a historical identity full of myths and lies. Pakistan has a simple solution to history, they just imagine that India was not there before the British came, it was all Pakistan under the Mughals. Indian kings like Ashoka, Chandragupta etc just do not exist in their historical books.
It was President Zia Ul Haq of Pakistan that started the Islamisation of Pakistan Textbooks with the official policy stating that
“highest priority would be given to the revision of the curricula with a view to reorganizing the entire content around Islamic thought … to refashion society according to Islamic tenets”.
While there were extremists on both sides, who agitated every now and then, Hindus and Muslims, had been living together for more than a thousand years. In the textbooks and official history of Pakistan, the impression was made that both communities were at war with each other.
Pakistan’s history is taught as if it began with the conquest of Sindh by the Umayyad army, led by the young General, Muhammad bin Qasim in 711 AD. A Text Book of Pakistan Studies claims that “Pakistan came to be established for the first time when the Arabs under Mohammad bin Qasim occupied Sindh Multan’; by the thirteenth century
Invaders like Muhammad bin Qasim, Mahmood Ghaznavi and Muhammad Ghauri are glorified as heroes who attacked the subcontinent to propagate Islam.
Akbar is presented as a villain because he married a Hindu woman and tried to include them in his ruling circle.
On the other hand, Aurangzeb is referred to as a hero for his extremist views and his “services” to Islam
Pakistan Text books say that at one point of time (during Mughal rule) Pakistan extended upto the Deccan and India was a small country limited to Kerala. Sample the language : “by the thirteenth century ‘Pakistan had spread to include the whole of Northern India and Bengal’ and then under the Khiljis, Pakistan moved further south-ward to include a greater part of Central India and the Deccan’. […] The spirit of Pakistan asserted itself’, and under Aurangzeb the ‘Pakistan spirit gathered in strength’; his death ‘weakened the Pakistan spirit’”.
This great historic discovery is taught to Std V students, “Previously, India was part of Pakistan.”
Most textbooks in Sindh at least do mention Moenjodaro and the Indus Valley civilisation, but it is not discussed in a meaningful way and there is no discussion about its extent and culture.
Important periods and events during subsequent centuries are also skimmed over, like the Aryan civilisation which introduced its powerful social system and epic poetry (Mahabharata in which Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa play important roles), the Brahmin religion, a thousand years of Buddhism with its universities and the Gandharan civilisation which was spread throughout present day Pakistan.
No students of Pakistani schools can tell us that Asoka whose capital was in Pataliputra in the east of the subcontinent also counted Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab as part of his domain.
Accordingly, what began with Zia has now resulted in a situation where the history of Pakistan is thoroughly islamised and is quite delusional.
I profusely thank Sh. Fakhir Jibran, a Pakistani who of course knows more about Pakistani education than me, for a point by point rebuttal of the text above in the comments section. I reproduce his comments for a well rounded view of the issue:
Sir, the subject of history is taught to the children to let them know about the “past which belongs to them” and to “engender a sentiment of nationalism and devotion” in them. Sir, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Chandragupt Moriya, Chanakya and others that you have mentioned, they do not belong to us. However, our books do mention their names where necessary. I, with all my honesty, would like to clear that I have never read in any of my history book that india was in pakistan, that palistan was there when M.B Qasim attacked Sindh. This is absolutely silly and erroneous to say such things.
However, once Jinnah gave a statement in one of his public talks that Pakistan came into being the day when the first Hindu of India became a Muslim. And this was just to explain the idea of Pakistan. I think the statements you mentioned were maybe misunderstood.
We do not consider Akbar a villian, we admit his valour and call him a great king, but we completely reject his idea of Din e Elahi. Why do we do so? Its a separate debate.
We admire aurangzebs efforts to purge the religion.
Muhammad bin Qasim attacked sindh because of the brutality of Raja Dahir Singh. Hajjaj Bin Yousaf, then governor of Iraq had invited Raja Dahir for negotiations before he sent Qasim to attack india.
Taimurs, mongols, moors, persians, turks, english, french, Ghaznavis and ghauris all were invaders and wanted to conquer other territories for their nations. Why dont u study the global history of that time. And sir the world admits the fact that Muslims were the super power of that time and their hegemony was not because of thier brutality or aggression but because of their valour, knowledge and glory.
Ggandhara , mohingadharo, sindh valley civilization and the arrival of Aryans in India is not the content of pakistan history. These things are taught in the books of social studies.
There is only one thing in your whole article which I agree upon is the Zia ul Haqs infringements on our education system. He was a short sighted person and a aspirant of power. He corrupted many institutions of state by the name of so called islamization. And our education system also did not stay immune to his evil ordinances.
I hope I have touched all points briefly.