Rewriting the History of Pakistan

Posted on November 8, 2009 by


by Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy and Abdul Hameed Nayyar

[Source: Islam, Politics and the State: The Pakistan Experience, Asghar Khan (ed.) Zed Books, London, 1985, pp. 164-177.]

From indoctrination’s foul ropeAug11ad
Suspend all reason, all hope
Until with swollen tongue
Morality herself is hung.


Education in Pakistan, from schools to universities, is being fundamentally redefined. This development is expected to have profound implications for the future of the country’s society and politics. Most changes are traceable to factors related to the stability of the present government, but there are also others which cannot be analysed as a mere response to immediate threats. A new concept of education now prevails, the full impact of which will probably be felt by the turn of the century, when the present generation of school children attains maturity.

Having pledged to divorce education from liberal and secular ideals, Pakistani rulers view education as an important means of creating an Islamised society and as an instrument for forging a new national identity based on the ‘Ideology of Pakistan’. Important steps have already been taken in this direction: enforcement of chadar in educational institutions; organisation of congregational zuhr (afternoon) prayers during school hours; compulsory teaching of Arabic as a second language from sixth class onwards; introduction of nazara Qur’an (reading of Qur’an) as a matriculation requirement; alteration of the definition of literacy to include religious knowledge; elevation of maktab schools to the status of regular schools and the recognition of maktab certificates as being equivalent to master’s degrees; creation of an Islamic university in Islamabad; introduction of religious knowledge as a criterion for selecting teachers of all categories and all levels; and the revision of conventional subjects to emphasise Islamic values.

It is not the intent of this chapter to analyse in its totality the restructuring of education under the present martial law regime. We focus, instead, on a relatively narrow area – the revised history of Pakistan as currently taught to college students at the intermediate and degree levels. To this end, all officially prescribed Pakistan studies textbooks have, been examined, together with books recommended at different institutions. In addition, material has also been included from a number of other books dealing with the history of Pakistan which were written after 1977 and which have discernible official approval. We have discovered that, apart from relatively minor variations in emphasis and style, all present-day textbooks are essentially identical in content. Thus this chapter accurately represents the currently taught version of Pakistani history.

The task of rewriting history books started in earnest in 1981, when General Zia ul Haq declared compulsory the teaching of Pakistan studies to all degree students, including those at engineering and medical colleges. Shortly thereafter, the University Grants Commission issued a directive to prospective textbook authors specifying that the objective of the new course is to ‘induce pride for the nation’s past, enthusiasm for the present, and unshakeable faith in the stability and longevity of Pakistan’ [1]. To eliminate possible ambiguities of approach, authors were given the following directives:

To demonstrate that the basis of Pakistan is not to be founded in racial, linguistic, or geographical factors, but, rather, in the shared experience of a common religion. To get students to know and appreciate the Ideology of Pakistan, and to popularize it with slogans. To guide students towards the ultimate goal of Pakistan – the creation of a completely Islamised State. [2]

In fulfillment of this directive, modern texts of Pakistani history are centred around the following themes:

1. The ‘Ideology of Pakistan’, both as a historical force which motivated the movement for Pakistan as well as its raison d’etre
2. The depiction of Jinnah as a man of orthodox religious views who sought the creation of a theocratic state
3. A move to establish the ulama as genuine heroes of the Pakistan Movement
4. An emphasis on ritualistic Islam, together with a rejection of liberal interpretations of the religion and generation of communal antagonism

In the remainder of this chapter, each of the above has been examined in turn.

Genesis of the ‘Ideology of Pakistan’

The ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ occupies a position of central importance in all post-1977 Pakistani history textbooks. This ubiquitous phrase permeates all discussion, serves as the reference point for all debate, and makes its appearance at the very outset in all textbooks: ‘As citizens of an, ideological stateÖ it is necessary to first know the basis upon which Pakistan was founded, the ideology of Pakistan.’ [3] A virtually identical beginning is found in another book: ‘Pakistan is an ideological stateÖ the Ideology of Pakistan was the inspiration and the basis of the Movement for Pakistan.’ [4] General Zia ul Haq considers the ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ to be of crucial importance. In one of his speeches he stressed that ‘the armed forces bear the sacred responsibility for safeguarding Pakistan’s ideological frontiers’. [5]

The ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ is defined in a number of ways. For example, one source states that ‘the Ideology of Pakistan is Islam’.[6] In another textbook, the ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ is more explicitly defined as:

. . . that guiding principle which has been accepted by the Muslims of the majority regions of the South Asian subcontinent and which allows them to lead their lives individually and collectively, according to the principles of Islam. [7]

The above definitions do not limit the ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ to the boundaries of Pakistan. All Muslim majority areas of the subcontinent, including Bangladesh, are covered. Moreover, the manner in which Muslims ought to lead their collective lives in the modern world is assumed to be well defined and beyond controversy. The underlying belief is that there exists a unique definition of an Islamic state.

In stark contrast to modern textbooks, no textbook written prior to 1977 contains mention of the ‘Ideology of Pakistan’. Indeed, this phrase was not a part of the political parlance then. Although its precise genealogy is hard to ascertain, ex-Chief Justice Mohammad Munir claims that it has relatively recent origins. In his monograph From Jinnah to Zia he writes:

The Quaid-i-Azam never used the words ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ Ö For fifteen years after the establishment of Pakistan, the Ideology of Pakistan was not known to anybody until in 1962 a solitary member of the Jamaat-i–Islami used these words for the first time when the Political Parties Bill was being discussed. On this, Chaudhry Fazal Elahi, who has recently retired as President of Pakistan, rose from his seat and objected that the ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ shall have to be defined. The member who had proposed the original amendment replied that the ‘Ideology of Pakistan was Islam’, but nobody asked him the further question ‘What is Islam?’ The amendment to the bill was therefore passed. [8]

While this event may or may not be the first significant use of the term ‘Ideology of Pakistan’, it does hint at the involvement of the politico–religious party, the Jamaat-i–Islami, in the propagation – and perhaps creation – of the phrase in question. Therefore, with the aim of arriving at a better understanding of this important phrase, we turn to a brief discussion of the Jamaat and its political programme.

Founded by the late Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi, the Jamaat-i–Islami is a fundamentalist party which categorically asserts the superiority of the Islamic Shariah over all other principles and forms of political and social organisation. Much of the Jamaat’s appeal derives from rhetorical denunciation of Western civilisation and Western democracy. It has also evolved a version of an Islamic state – the same view currently being popularised by modern textbooks in Pakistan.

The Jamaat‘s view of an Islamic state is that of an Islamic theocratic state – a state governed according to divinely revealed principles wherein the head of state, elected or otherwise, interprets such principles and translates them into practical matters of the state. Although Maudoodi, in his Islamic Law and Constitution, states that ‘Islam vests all the Muslim citizens of an Islamic state with popular vice-gerency’, he is quick to point out that all vice-gerents need not be of equal consequence. He demands that constitution makers:

evolve such a system of elections as would ensure the appointment of only those who are trustworthy and piousÖ They should also devise effective measures to defeat the designs and machinations of those who scramble for posts of trust and are consequently hated and cursed by the people in spite of their so-called ‘victories’ in the elections. [9]

In this ‘state without borders’ any Muslim anywhere can be a citizen. It will be the best governed not only because its leaders are pious but also because only those will vote who are themselves pious.

With characteristic sternness, the Manifesto of the Jamaat-i–Islami (formulated in January 1951, reapproved by its Majlis-i-Shoora in December 1969) requires all political activity in Pakistan to obey the following code of ethics (note occurrence of ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ below):

Nobody should indulge in anything repugnant to the Ideology of Pakistan [emphasis added] Ö Any effort directed towards turning this country into a secular state or implanting herein any foreign ideology amounts to an attack on the very existence of Pakistan.

Notwithstanding occasional sparring, there exists a confluence of basic interests and perceptions of the Jamaat and Pakistani rulers. It is highly significant that, with no essential change in meaning, the phrase ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ has been elevated from the relative obscurity of the Manifesto of the Jamaat-i–Islami into legally unchallengeable national dogma.

Religious Ideology and the Movement for Pakistan

Independent of precisely when and where the phrase ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ was first used, it is incontrovertibly true that its common use, both by national leaders and in textbooks, is a post-1977 development. In contrast, the ‘Two-Nation Theory’ – the basis of Pakistan – has genuine historical roots almost a century old. It was Mohammad Ali Jinnah who, for the first time, proclaimed that India was inhabited by two distinct nations – Hindus and Muslims – who could not live together in one state. In his presidential address to the Muslim League session at Lahore in 1940, he argued that ‘Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religions, philosophies, social customs, literatures’.[10] Jinnah expounded his views with such eloquence and force that most Muslims, and even some Hindus, came to believe in them. The Muslim League demand for Pakistan was rooted in this theory, and India was eventually partitioned on the premise that Muslims constitute a distinct entity. Modern textbooks state that this Two-Nation Theory was the predecessor of the ‘Ideology of Pakistan’:

This righteous demand (for a separate homeland) was given the temporary name of ‘Two-Nation Theory’. Now that right has been achieved, the same theory in this land is called the Ideology of Pakistan. [11]

In post-1977 Pakistan, the ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ is invariably equated to the ‘Two-Nation Theory’. This raises the following questions: prior to 1947, what was the new state envisaged to be? In what sense, and to what extent, was the demand for a theocratic Islamic state the driving force behind the movement for Pakistan? We now turn to a consideration of these questions.

From all historical accounts it appears that in the heat of the struggle for Pakistan the structure of the new state – theocratic, democratic, or whatever – received no serious thought. Although they made their case on the assumption of a distinct Islamic identity, the Muslim League leadership was generally liberal in religious matters, and there had been no sudden revival of faith among them. For Jinnah the matter was particularly clear: he wanted a homeland for the Muslims, not an Islamic state. But there was a definite conflict between this secular constitutional way of thinking and that of the more religious young Muslim Leaguers, who had responded wholeheartedly to the League’s call. There was, in fact, a long difference of opinion between Jinnah and the Raja of Mahmudabad, the youngest member of the League’s working committee.

Because it throws into sharp focus the issues of the times, it is extremely instructive to study the Raja’s memoirs, particularly with reference to the difference in opinion between Jinnah and himself on the nature of the future state:

I was one of the founder members of the Islamic Jamaat. We advocated that Pakistan should be an Islamic state. I must confess that I was very enthusiastic about it and in my speeches I constantly propagated my ideas. My advocacy of an Islamic state brought me into conflict with Jinnah. He thoroughly disapproved of my ideas and dissuaded me from expressing them publicly from the League platform lest the people might be led to believe that Jinnah shared my view and that he was asking me to convey such ideas to the public. As I was convinced that I was right and did not want to compromise Jinnah’s position, I decided to cut myself away and for nearly two years kept my distance from him, apart from seeing him during working committee meetings and other formal occasions. It was not easy to take this decision as my associations with Jinnah had been very close in the past. Now that I look back I realize how wrong I had been. [12]

According to the Raja – and this is also a view shared by many scholars – three principal factors, in descending order of priority, transformed the Muslim League from the position of a feeble political minority in 1937 into a great mass movement less than a decade later:

One was the Congress attitude of indifference and, at times, hostility. Another was the leadership which, under Jinnah, broke new ground and fashioned new political strategy. Still another was the part played by religious appeal in the heightening of this consciousness. The leadership at the top was generally secular-minded and trained in modern political methods, but on the lower levels and especially among the field workers propaganda on religious lines was the general practice. [13]

To understand correctly Jinnah’s concept of Pakistan, it is necessary to examine his position in greater detail.

Jinnah’s Mind: Secular or Communal?

It is frequently said that without Jinnah there would have been no Pakistan, and Jinnah is himself known to have remarked that it was he, with the help of his secretary and typewriter, who won Pakistan for the Muslims.[14] Irrespective of the extent to which this is true, it is certainly the case that Jinnah is revered in Pakistan to an extent which no other political personality approaches even remotely. His speeches and writings, therefore, often serve as a reference point for debates on the nature of the Pakistani state and its future.

Modern textbooks invariably portray Jinnah as the architect of an Islamic ideological state:

The All-India Muslim League, and even the Quaid-i-Azam himself, said in the clearest possible terms that Pakistan would be an ideological state, the basis of whose laws would be the Quran and Sunnah, and whose ultimate destiny would be to provide a society in which Muslims could individually and collectively live according to the laws of Islam. [15]

Paradoxically, Jinnah began his political career as an exponent of Hindu-Muslim unity and as the leader of the liberal left wing of the Congress. His efforts culminated in the Lucknow Pact of 1916 between the Congress and the League. But when he again led the League almost twenty years later, the call was no longer for unity but for Hindu-Muslim separation. Khalid bin Sayeed, one of his more respected biographers, gives convincing evidence that in the period 1929-1935 the Congress’ intransigence was a major factor that changed him from an ‘idealist’ into a ‘realist’ who saw no future for Muslims in a united India. [16]

In his personal life, Jinnah was liberal and Westernised. Overcoming the taboos of cross-communal relations, he married a Parsi lady in the face of her parents’ opposition – a marriage destined to end in tragic separation and the premature death of his wife. Jinnah maintained his inner secularism even in the seething cauldron of communal hatred following Partition, as is evident from the fact that he appointed Joginder Nath Mandal, a Hindu, to serve in Pakistan’s first cabinet. His famous 11 August 1947 speech before the nation is the clearest possible exposition of a secular state in which religion and state are separate from each other:

We are starting with the fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State. . . Now I think that we should keep that in front of us as our ideal, and you will find that in due course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual but in the political sense as citizens of the state. Ö You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State.[17]

In an interview to Doon Campbell, Reuter’s correspondent in New Delhi in 1946, Jinnah made it perfectly clear that it was Western-style democracy that he wanted for Pakistan:

The new state would be a modern democratic state with sovereignty resting in the people and the members of the new nation having equal rights of citizenship regardless of their religion, caste or creed. [18]

Note the highly significant phrase ‘sovereignty resting in the people’. In contrast, in Maulana Maudoodi’s Islamic state, ‘sovereignty rests with Allah’. Thus, Jinnah rejects the basis for a theocratic state. This is stated even more explicitly in his 1946 speech before the Muslim League convention in Delhi: ‘What are we fighting for? What are we aiming at? It is not theocracy, nor a theocratic state.’ [19] The historian K.K. Aziz has remarked that ‘on the record of their writings and speeches, Jinnah comes out to be far more liberal and secular than Gandhi’. [20]

All of Jinnah’s speeches were not so unequivocal about the nature of the future state. In the 1945 elections, the Muslim League was aided by a number of influential ulama. It is in this period that we find in Jinnah’s speeches the greatest number of references to Islam and society. For example, in November 1945 he said that ‘Muslims are demanding Pakistan so that they may live according to their code of life and traditions, and so that they may govern themselves according to the rules of Islam’. [21] How does one interpret this speech of Jinnah’s, together with others of essentially similar nature, with the outright secular declarations quoted earlier? At least two interesting possibilities suggest themselves.

Jinnah may have made a compromise with the ulama in the interest of achieving unity on the primary goal – the attainment of a homeland for the Muslims. On the other hand, it is possible that he saw Islam in such liberal terms that he saw no essential conflict between it and his desire for a modern, democratic state along Western lines. Here one might add that Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, a venerated religious authority whose understanding of the Quran was no less deep than that of his contem-porary, Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi, nevertheless interpreted the political message of Islam in a totally different way from the latter. It is evident that Jinnah also did not accept the fundamentalist interpretation of Islam and the Islamic state.

The Role of the Religious Parties

All history bears evidence that religion has been a powerful nexus between individuals and groups, a potent instrument which has often welded a heterogeneous group into a distinct nationality. Through appeal to supernatural authority, religion promotes national unity as a divine command. When coupled with appropriate social and economic forces, it can forge a powerful and irresistible nationalism. Contemporary history is replete with examples: the Greek church as a source for Greek nationalism, the Catholic church as a factor in Irish separatism, Judaism and the state of Israel, Islam and Pakistan.

Since the movement for Pakistan was rooted in the social, cultural, and religious distinctions between Muslims and Hindus, one might logically expect that Muslim religious parties would have played a major, if not a leading, role in mobilising the Muslim masses. Paradoxically, aside from exceptions of no great importance, these parties had bitterly opposed Jinnah and the demand for Pakistan. Indeed, the exponents of Muslim nationalism were forced to battle on three formidable fronts. First, they had to persuade the British of their separate identity. Second, it was necessary to convince Congress of their determination to live as two separate nations. And third, the efforts of the ulama, who opposed Pakistan on grounds that nationalism was antithetical to Islam, had to be nullified.

The pre-Partition position of the politico-religious parties on the Pakistan question contrasts oddly with their present enthusiasm for religious nationalism. Maulana Maudoodi and the Jamaat-i-Islami had rejected nationalism because it ‘led to selfishness, prejudice, and pride’. Till 1947 Maudoodi maintained that he would not fight for Pakistan, that he did not believe in Pakistan, and that the demand for it was un-Islamic. Some ten years before Partition he had maintained that ‘Muslim nationalism is as contradictory a term as “chaste prostitute” ‘. [22] Jamaat literature would sometimes use the derogatory word Na-Pakistan for the proposed state. There were frequent indictments of Jinnah as lacking ‘an Islamic mentality or Islamic habits of thoughts’. [23]

The Jamaat-i-Islami was not alone in its opposition to Pakistan. The Majlis-i-Ahrar, another politico-religious party, took a similar position. However, unlike the Jamaat, it was aligned with the Congress. Ahrar leaders termed Jinnah the Kafir-i-Azam (the great infidel) as a rebuttal to the title Quaid-i-Azam (the great leader) conferred upon him by the Muslim League. Allama Mashriqi’s Khaksar party went a step further and once sought to assassinate Jinnah, albeit unsuccessfully. Signifi-cantly, Jamaat-i-Islami, Jamiat-ul-ulama-i-Hind, Majlis-i-Ahrar, and Khaksar were absent at Jinnah’s funeral. A rather curious situation arose after Pakistan became a reality in 1947 since most political-religious parties were confronted with the dilemma of being in a country whose creation they had opposed. Political expediency caused many leaders to abruptly volte-face. For example, Mian Tufail Mohammad, now amir of the Jamaat-i-Islami, who had once denounced as ‘sinners’ all those who supported or joined Jinnah’s government, stated on television recently that, in fact, there had existed an understanding between Jinnah and the Jamaat that both would work separately towards the same goal. It has also become usual for many modern textbooks to refer to Maudoodi as one of the intellectual founders of the Pakistan Movement. This startling fact suggests that the influence of the Jamaat-i-Islami on national education may be deeper than is normally assumed.

Those politico-religious parties which had resisted the creation of Pakistan may well have made good the political damage. Their allegiance to an Islamic state now entitles them to rewards which go beyond mere forgiveness: ‘the services rendered by the ulama and mashaikh to the cause of the Pakistan Movement are worthy of writing in golden letters’. [24] One textbook devotes an entire chapter to their role, claiming that ‘when Allama Iqbal and the Quaid-i-Azam presented their programme for an Islamic state, it met with the enthusiastic support of the ulama and mashaikh‘. [25]

1947 -77: The Gulf of Silence

Nations which can rationally analyse their past, and particularly their defeats and periods of collective suffering, are far more likely to survive and prosper than those in which absence of free expression forbids truthful self-examination. Japan and Germany after World War II, Argentina after the Falklands War – historical examples abound in which positive shifts in national policy, domestic and foreign, occurred as a result of decisive defeat. Indeed, there were expectations of a critical assessment of the role of elites and readjustment of regional policies within Pakistan following the 1971 civil war and the subsequent Indian invasion. In this war, tens of thousands died, millions were displaced, and the country was rent asunder. Thirteen years later, this optimism has proven to be unfounded.

From the year 1947, the establishment of Pakistan, through the year 1977, the start of the Nizam-i-Mustafa Movement, all recent Pakistan studies texts maintain total, or almost total, silence on political events of this period. The most detailed account of history until 1968 to be found in any of these books is reproduced in full here: ‘In October 1958, General Ayub Khan imposed martial law and thus saved the country from chaos’. [26] Of the few books which mention the Bangladesh episode, one has the following to say:

As a result of the 1970 elections, the political differences between East and West Pakistan grew and led to their separation. The cause of Islamic unity received a setback, but one should not interpret this as a rejection of Islamic Ideology by the people. Indeed, unless Islam is presented as a whole, and not as just worship and prayers, it remains incomplete. The forces of atheism and worldliness, in this case, can influence the minds of people through modern education and public media. [27]

This strict economy of words is in striking contrast to the extensive coverage given to Islamisation after 1977. Nevertheless, this small paragraph invites more than just cursory reading.

There is little doubt that the painful separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan strikes at the very roots of Pan-Islamism – the belief that Muslims all over the world belong to one nation and that differences among them are insignificant. Modern textbooks, therefore, are reluc-tant to discuss the issue in any detail. It should also be observed that the above quoted paragraph attributes the separation of East and West squarely to the fact that elections were held in Pakistan. This serves to create the fear that if elections and democracy broke up Pakistan in 1971, then Pakistan may again be mortally endangered if elections and democracy are restored at some point in the future. Finally, note that the last lines of the paragraph implicitly acknowledge the lack of success of the Islamic parties in the 1970 elections. However, students are instructed to disregard this because ‘modern education’ encouraged ‘atheism and worldliness’ and was the reason for defeat.

The 1947-77 gap in textbooks makes it difficult to develop an adequate background for the Nizam-i-Mustafa Movement, which culminated in General Zia ul Haq’s government’s accession to power. Restrictions, whether self-imposed or otherwise, do not allow explicit mention of the names of key national figures. This constraint occasionally leads to awkward situations. For example, all textbooks give ‘rigging of elections’ as a motivation for the Nizam-i-Mustafa Movement, but none can explicitly state that these were rigged by Bhutto. Curiously, we were unable to discover any mention of the PNA (Pakistan National Alliance), which spearheaded the movement against Bhutto.

Subtle propaganda is not a sin of which our textbook writers are guilty.

Islamisation in Textbooks

Islamisation is the central concern of all modern Pakistan studies textbooks. After Partition, only three subsequent events are discussed in detail. First, they treat the Objectives Resolution of 1949, which gave the sovereignty over the state of Pakistan to Allah and which separated Muslims from non-Muslims as having different rights of citizenship. Secondly, they harp on the presentation to the government of a twenty-two point programme framed by thirty-one prominent ulama in 1951. This programme later became part of the Manifesto of the Jamaat-i-Islami, acknowledged on the front cover of this document. The third event, which forms the bulk of post-Partition history, is the implementa-tion of Islamic principles by General Zia ul Haq.

Modern textbooks heavily stress the formal and ritualistic aspects of Islam, as against those which emphasise social justice. Science and secular knowledge are held in deep suspicion. Modern education, according to one book, should be shunned because it leads to atheism and worldliness. Another book describes an utopian society, one which supposedly existed at the time of Hazrat Nizam-ud-Din, as one in which ritual was meticulously adhered to:

Young and old, small and great, everyone had become regular at prayers. Apart from the five prayers, people enthusiastically said supplementary prayers of ishraq, chasht, zawal, and awabin. People used to ask each other of the verses to be read, or how many times to recite drud-sharif after prayersÖ they kept supplementary fasts even after the month of Ramazan. [28]

The emphasis on ritualistic Islam in modern textbooks is accompanied by a conscious promotion of sentiment against certain non-Muslim communities, particularly Hindus and Qadianis. This is not something new, one may legitimately argue, nor is the exacerbation of communal antagonism limited to Pakistan alone. India, which claims to be secular rather than Hindu, is nevertheless regularly ravaged by communal riots with the majority of victims being Muslims. Hindu chauvinism is a powerful factor in Indian politics and expresses itself through a variety of newspapers and magazines, even though propaganda through school texts is officially forbidden. However, in Pakistan, because of the adoption of an exclusivist national ideology, there are no constraints on the free expression of communal hatred. Thus, the Hindu is portrayed as monolithically cunning and treacherous, obsessively seeking to settle old scores with his erstwhile masters. This Hindu is responsible for the break-up of Pakistan:

The same Bengali Hindu was responsible for the backwardness of East Pakistan. But, hiding the story of his two-century old sins, atrocities, and pillage, he used ‘Bengali nationalism’ to punish innocent West Pakistanis for sins they had not committed. [29]

Justice Shameem Hussain Kadri, ex-chief justice of the Lahore High Court, writes of the ‘diabolical Hindus’ and ‘Hindu conspiracies’ in his officially circulated book.[30] There are countless similar examples.

In part, the existence of anti-Hindu sentiment is a consequence of the wholesale communal massacres during Partition, which left around half a million dead on each side. Even under the best conditions the scars would need many decades to heal. But the explanation for the revival of communalist sentiment is not to be found wholly in the tragedies of 1947. An examination of history texts written soon after Partition – a time when the grief of shattered families was at its peak – shows them to be incomparably more liberal. The history of the subcontinent was taken to start with the ancient Indus valley civilisations rather than with the conquest of India by the first Muslim invader, Mohammad bin Qasim, in 712. In contrast to present-day books, these books contained discussions of the empires of Ashoka and the Mauryas. The movement for Pakistan was presented as a defence against Hindu domination, not as a movement for religious revival.

The deliberate revival of communal antagonism over 30 years after Partition suggests that political expediency, rather than religious factors, has asserted a dominant influence in this matter. The permanent militarisation of society requires a permanent enemy. For many reasons, Pakistan’s other neighbours are unsuitable for this purpose. On the other hand, rulers in both India and Pakistan have long found mutual hostility and tension indispensable political tools.


The change in character of Pakistani education, and the rewriting of Pakistan’s history, coincide with the change in nature of the ruling elites and altered needs. The Westernised liberal elite, which had inherited political power from the British, had given to education a basically secular and modern character which might have eventually created a modern, secular-minded citizenry. But the self-seeking and opportunistic nature of this elite forced it progressively to abandon liberal values in the face of exigencies, political and economic. Discriminatory laws against non-Muslim minorities were passed, the feudal structure of rural society was left intact, and quality education was limited to a tiny minority. The ambient corruption in society gradually diffused into institutions which could have transformed and modernized Pakistani society. By the time of the 1977 army coup, liberalism was already moribund.

The recasting of Pakistani history is an attempt to fundamentally redefine Pakistan and Pakistani society and to endow the nation with a historic destiny. Islam is the integrative ideology, its enforcement a divine duty. Viewed from this angle, it becomes essential to project the movement for Pakistan as the movement for an Islamic state, the creation of which became a historic inevitability with the first Muslim invasion of the subcontinent. The revised history of Pakistan uses much the same idiom, and the same concepts of Islamic state and of politics in Islam, as the Jamaat-i-Islami. Its wholesale dissemination through educational institutions demonstrates both the influence of the Jamaat on education as well as the confluence of interests and philosophy of military rulers and the Jamaat.


[1.] University Grants Commission directive, quoted in Azhar Hamid, et al. Mutalliyah-i-Pakistan (Islamabad: Allama Iqbal Open University, 1983), p. xi.
[2.] Ibid., pp. xii-xiii.
[3.] Government of Pakistan, Federal Ministry of Education, Pakistan Studies (Compulsory) For Intermediate Classes by Safdar Mahmood, et al. (Islamabad: Government of Pakistan). Approved for the Departments of Education of the Punjab, Sind, NWFP, Baluchistan, Federal Areas, and liberated Kashmir vide notification number F.11-16/81-HST, dated 2 November 1981, as the sole textbook for intermediate classes.
[4.] S. Husain and M. A. Hasan, Mukhzun Mutalliyah-i-Pakistan (Lahore: Kitab Khana Danishwuran, 1981), p. 1.
[5.] Nawa-i-Waqt (Karachi), 14 August 1984.
[6.] S. Husain and M. A. Hasan, Mukhzun Mutalliyah, p. 2.
[7.] M. D. Zafar, Pakistan Studies for Medical Students (Lahore: Aziz Publishers, 1982), p. 20.
[8.] Mohammad Munir, From Jinnah to Zia (Lahore: Vanguard Books Ltd.,1980), p. 26.
[9.] Abul Ala Maudoodi, Islamic Law and Constitution, ed. Khurshid Ahmed (Karachi: Jamaat-i-Islami Publications, 1955).
[10.] Jamiluddin Ahmed, Recent Writings and Speeches of Mr. Jinnah (Lahore: Sheikh Mohammad Ashraf, 1947), p. 176.
[11.] Azhar Hamid, et al., Mutalliyah-i-Pakistan, p. 27.
[12.] Raja of Mahmudabad, ‘Some Memories’, in Partition of India – Policies and Perspectives 1937-1947, eds. C. H. Philips and M. D. Wainwright (Cam-bridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1970), pp. 388-9.
[13.] Ibid., p. 389.
[14.] C. H. Philips and M. D. Wainwright, Partition of India, p. 32.
[15.] Azhar Hamid, et al., Mutalliyah-i-Pakistan, p. 221.
[16.] Khalid bin Sayeed, ‘Personality of Jinnah and his Political Strategy’, in C.H. Philips and M. D. Wainwright, Partition of India, pp. 276-93.
[17.] M. Munir, From Jinnah to Zia, p. 30.
[18.] Ibid., p. 29.
[19.] Jamiluddin Ahmed, Recent Writings and Speeches, p. 248.
[20.] K. K. Aziz, The Making of Pakistan (Islamabad: National Book Foundation, 1976).
[21.] Quoted in Sarwat Sawlat, Pakistan Ke Baray Log (Lahore, 1982), pp.295-6.
[22.] Abul Ala Maudoodi, Mussalman Aur Maujooda Syasi Kashmakash, quoted in K. K. Aziz, The Making of Pakistan, p. 148.
[23.] Maulana Kausar Niazi, Maudoodiat Awam Ki Adalat Men (Lahore: n.d.).
[24.] Zia-ul-Haq, quoted in M. D. Zafar, Pakistan Studies, p.147.
[25.] S.M. Rafeeq, Tehrik-i-Pakistan (Lahore: Standard Book House,1983), p. 271.
[26.] Azhar Hamid, et al., Mutalliyah-i-Pakistan, p. 233.
[27.] Ibid., p. 235.
[28.] Ibid., p. 41.
[29.] Ibid., p. 32.
[30.] Justice Shameem Hussain Kadri, The Creation of Pakistan (Lahore: Army Book Club, 1983).