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HVK Archives: As Pakistan sees us

As Pakistan sees us - Organiser

M.V. Kamath ()
January 18, 1998

Title: As Pakistan sees us
Author: M.V. Kamath
Publication: Organiser
Date: January 18, 1998

On the night of August 14, 1997, several hundred Indians, led by,
among others, Shri Kuldip Nayar, a close friend and confidant of
Shri Inder Kumar Gujral, gathered at the Wagah border, in the
hope of shaking hands with Pakistanis across the divide in
celebration of 50 years of Independence. On the Indian side,
literally hundreds of people had foregathered. On the Pakistani
side there wasn a soul in sight, though, according to Shri
Nayar, several of his Pakistani friends had promised to come.
When a few days later he chanced to visit Lahore he checked with
those friends why. they did not keep their word. Writes Shri
Nayar: "They said that the Jamiat-e-Islami threatened to kill
anybody who would go to the border. Threats were followed by
telephone calls to prominent persons and leaders of several
organisations.... Still, more than 10,000 people would have
reached the Waghah border. But then the Punjab Government at
Lahore stepped in and issued an order under Section 144 to ban
the assembly of more than five people and also sealed the roads
leading to the border." So much for the Gujral doctrine of making
friends with Pakistan.

Those who think that Pakistan will never make peace with India
are living in a dream world of their own. Pakistan has no use
for India and has been going out of its way to damn it. Lies,
half-truths and sheer myths about India are the staple of
Pakistani textbooks and these have now been exposed by a
Pakistani himself, K.K. Aziz, in his monumental book : The Murder
of History in Pakistan: A Critique of History Textbooks Used in
Pakistan. According to Arvind N. Das who reviewed the book for
Biblio, Dr Aziz is "no crotchety old man given to nit-picking",
but is "one of Pakistan's most accomplished historians", who has
taught in Cambridge, Khartoum and Heidelberg and delivered
lectures at the universities of Dacca, Islamabad, Hull, Newcastle-
upon-Tyne, Geneva, Oxford and Bergen. His ainstaking
examination" of Pakistani textbooks prescribed for students from
Class I to B.A., says. Shri Das, 'makes a fascinating as well as
frightening cataloguer=94.

The lesson on history begins with the invasion of Muhammad bin
Qasim, attacks the Hindu religion and describes the Muslim advent
as a "visit'. The 1971 break-up of Pakistan is dismissed "in
four atrociously distorted lines". According to Dr Aziz, "the
real gem" is when a textbook states that India was once part of
Pakistan! As Dr Aziz sees it, Pakistani textbooks are based on
ten points: (1) Follow the government in office (2) Support
military rule (3) Glorify wars (4) Hate India (5) Fabricate an
anti-colonial past (6) Give undue credit to Aligarh and the
United Provinces for the formation of Pakistan (7) Impose a new
culture on Pakistan (8) Exclude Bengal from the national
consciousness (9) Create a history for the elite and (10) Tell
lies.

In reviewing Dr Aziz's book, Shri Das gives lengthy quotations
>from it to show how the author has exposed the lies, half-truths
and sheer myths about India that are presently being propagated
in Pakistani schools to poison entire generations.

Then there is an article: Political Psychosis in Pakistan written
by Yvettex C. Rosser of the Department of Asian Studies,
University of Texas at Austin. Smt Rosser was recently on a
visit to Pakistan and was aghast at what she saw and heard. She
writes: "From their government issued textbooks, students are
taught that Hindus are backward, superstitious, they bum their
widows and wives, and that Brahmins were all cruel and, if given
a chance, would try to assert their power over the weak,
depriving them of education." In their Social Studies classes,
"students are taught that Islam brought peace, equality and
justice to the subcontinent and only through Islam could the
sinister ways of Hindus be held in check. In Pakistani textbooks,
Hindu is a four-letter-word and rarely appears in a sentence
without the word 'conniving'. Evil and Hindu were, and are,
synonymous".

Adds Smt Rosser: "Mahmud of Ghazni is seen as a hero, a near-
Messiah, bringing truth and justice to the subcontinent. Pillage
and looting are not mentioned. Aurangzeb is seen as a devout and
pious Muslim; fratricide is not mentioned. Akbar is usually
omitted, his secularism does not fit in with the infallibility of
the Two-Nation Theory."

But what is her own assessment? Smt Rosser is unsparing. Noting
that non-Muslims, such as the Hindus in rural Sind have been
stripped of their rights and made to vote in separate.
electorates and that blasphemy laws are often used selectively
against non-Muslims, the American professor adds: "The pieces of
prejudice, the products of an authoritarian regime, whose
validity rested in perpetuating a state of siege, have lodged
themselves in the minds and hearts of a vast number of
westernised and highly educated young Pakistanis as well as those
who attended government schools. The large number of illiterates
in Pakistan must rely on radio and hearsay to develop a sense of
patriotism. Indian hegemony is perceived as a constant threat to
their very existence. With 60 to 80 per cent of the national
budget dedicated to military expenditure (estimates vary when
hidden costs are included), the threat from India on Pakistan's
national integrity is the raison dtre of public policy
planning. Less than 2 per cent of the budget is allocated to
education. Though a census has not been counted since 1981,
estimates of the level of illiteracy place it at 80 per cent. Of
the remaining 20 per cent of the population, less than 3 per cent
are educated to a high degree of competency."

According to Smt Rosser, at the intermediate and secondary level,
History and Geography are replaced by Pakistani Studies, a
composite of patriotic discourses, justification of the Two-
Nation Theory, Muslim heroes and discussions of the superiority
of Islamic principles over Hinduism. All history that concerned
pre-Islamic events of the territory which is now Pakistan, such
as Mohen-jo-Daro and Taxila are eliminated or made irrelevant by
brevity.

Quotes from ordinary Pakistani people make even more horrid
reading. As Smt Rosser - summarised it, Pakistanis see themselves
as not "South Asians" but people having "more cultural
connections with Central Asia, Tashkent Persia, dm with Delhi=94.

With that kind of mindset among Pakistanis, how can one ever make
any connections with them? Even more than Dr Aziz's book, Smt
Rosser's comments make frightening reading. When will we wake up
to the fact that in Pakistan we are dealing with a monster whose
only philosophy is Hate India?


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