Original Articles

A sequel to ‘White legend of Pakistan’s creation’ – by AZ

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As evidenced by the comments coming forth, my article “The White Legend of Pakistan’s Creation” seems to have received warm attention. I always value the viewpoints that diverge from mine as difference in views opens the doors unto learning. However, many of the comments suggest that I need to clarify a bit my article’s perspective. As I said right at the beginning of my article, so much has been written, by better minds, to debunk the inaccuracies in our history curricula that there is very little value I can add in that respect. Therefore, the purpose of the article was simple and can be recapitulated in three points as follows:

1. Like Physics, Chemistry etc, history too is a subject and should be viewed as such. History has nothing to do with religion. Also history is not a matter of opinion, belief may be.

We often base our opinions on our beliefs and, rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we choose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions. So many people in our society inhabit a closed belief system on whose door they have hung the “Do Not Disturb” sign, that they pick and choose only those facts that will serve as building blocks for walling them off from uncomfortable truths. Any journalist or writer whose reporting threatens that belief system gets sliced and diced by its apologists and polemicists. Examples include the rampant obfuscation of Shia Genocide, minorities’ persecution, women’s abuse, paedophilia etcetera. To be fair it happens in other societies too, but without violence. For example in the US many people still believe Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii, as his birth certificate shows; or that he is a Muslim, when in fact he is a Christian.

Therefore, History’s main purpose is to “set the record straight” with no judgment or steer as a narrator. Thus the history exposes what beliefs had obfuscated at the time of an occurrence. For example, we are beginning to come to terms with the realities of 1971. Descendants have a duty to reflect on “sins” of ancestors (we all have our share of skeletons) just to make sure these are never repeated. For example, an Indian may feel it a duty to think of the horrors of the caste system, even if he himself is not guilty of caste prejudices. Similarly, we need an honest account and appraisal of what we did wrong in East Pakistan. The problem I have with our curriculum is its lack of critical balance.

How do we expect to connect the present to the past, stretching young imaginations across the time zones of our experience, by rigging the account of the procession that brought us here? If that wise man George Orwell were around today he would confirm that “like the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket,” this kind of propaganda engenders a “protective stupidity” almost impossible for facts to penetrate. I have realized that it is only through an unsullied honouring of reality that we can approach the myriad and messy truths of human experience. Young minds must be nurtured to draw the right lessons to lasting effects from the truths that must be told. Otherwise we will see a Pakistan that will be more and more unable to deal with reality.

2. It is true that Pakistan does not enjoy a monopoly over toxic textbooks or demonization of minorities. Many countries do it. However, any number of wrongs cannot add up to one right.

That it takes place elsewhere also does not lend legitimacy to what is wrong or false. The nations that have prospered in modern times are the ones that exercise introspection and seek improvement in their matters. Justifying one’s shortcomings by citing others’ examples only denies progress. That’s why, in my writing or speech, I never cite analogies from elsewhere unless these serve a constructive purpose in helping understand the issue at heart. Otherwise I focus on what is wrong with us and what we need to correct it. What happens in (for instance) India or China is their problem and not mine. Similarly, in my previous article I confined myself to our curricula and that we need to correct it in order for our country to make progress.

It is a fact, for instance, that in many of our books religious minorities are often portrayed as inferior or second-class citizens who have been granted limited rights and privileges by generous Pakistani Muslims, for which they should be grateful. No amount of our rabble rousing fanatics and self-serving politicians could match the damage inflicted by toxic textbooks. Released in July 2010, the Brookings Institute report claims that the real cause of militancy in Pakistan is the public education system and not religious schools (madrassas) because the majority of Pakistani students attend public school whereas only ten per cent attend madrassas. It states that Pakistani public schools disseminate militancy, hatred, and jihad and distort history.

3. Many countries gloss over the painful episodes of their past while teaching history to their younger generation. That is fine; there is no point in unnecessarily reliving the trauma. However, as I explained in my article, our narrative of history is engineered to inculcate in our kids the attitudes that are not positive. For example, the right to judge, arrogance, superiority, self-righteousness.

The account of history can be rectified later in life but these early-age attitudes remain with us for life. And that to me is the main drawback of our curricula. This attitude is evident in some of the e-mails I have received in response to my article, which instead of looking for the balance are pompous bits of meaningless fluff following our textbooks in presenting ourselves as noble people who are incapable of murder, genocide, and intrigue and assert that it is actually other races and religions who have been targeting us. This also reflects what is largely happening in Pakistan and, to me, we have reached this pass through a designed and steady distortion of history and textbooks.
I want to hammer home that the history and curricula we teach in our schools have a huge human impact. Clinical experience and research show that a child brought up in narcissistic environment grows into an adult with emotional and psychological problems without a clue about how he or she got that way. Denial is rampant in the narcissistic system. The narcissistic system hides profound pain. Hence, our calculated doctoring of the facts has a massive psychological, social, and human impact on young impressionable minds and psyches. It impacts lives as did the financial crisis of 2007-8 by looking single-mindedly for profits, without taking into account the collateral damage. Bloodshed is the result when one uses religion (or nationalism) for politics and enduring prejudice takes roots after finding its way into the kids’ history books.

CONCLUSION:

I won’t undermine my chances of keeping your attention by a lengthy summary here.

Our curriculum exposes the difficulty of navigating a world where one is expected to partake of western secular education and all the values and privileges that come with it, and still be hostage to the commanding beliefs of one’s own culture. It is a simple narrative of the practical difficulties in governing societies under two conflicting political systems rooted in incompatible values. While we yearn for western-style governance, we view many of its values –like equality, freedom of expression, liberation of women- cloaking sinister anti-Islam motives. Against these tendencies it is an uphill fight to stay the course of proclaiming the truth. We have to keep reassuring ourselves and one another that it matters and we have to join forces to defend and safeguard our independence. If we don’t we would be left to the mercy of the agitated extremist amnesiacs who make their own reality, banishing history to the memory hole, where inconvenient facts simply disappear, like does Big Brother in Orwell’s novel “1984”. Control of the present rests on obliteration of the past. While they may have not been able to ‘squeeze us empty’ they are surely ‘filling our children with themselves’.

I have had to spend long hours with my children helping them understand why ransacking the temple of Somnath, pulling down the Babri Mosque, demolishing the statues of Budhha, and blowing up the shrines of Sufis and Imams deeply revered by millions are all equally wrong and profane. Now, you can understand how it is that search for truth became for me a continuing course in adult education, matriculating as a perpetual student in the school of life. That’s what keeps us going, isn’t it? The conviction that all the bias and ignorance notwithstanding, truth is what matters to critical thinking, that if we respect and honour it, it just might help us right the ship of Pakistan before it rams an iceberg too big for it to survive.

Releated: https://lubpak.net/archives/253925

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Asif Zaidi

28 Comments

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  • It is important to promote alternate discourse to let the people know the real ideology of Pakistan. Difference of opinion should not be considered a threat to the monotonous Pakistan ideology imposed on the people. Revelation of more facts would lead to the amendments in the imposed ideology. Experience shows us that the monotonous ideology of Pakistan has neither strengthened the country nor united the nation. Permission to alternate discourse could have made things better for the country.

  • Even if we pride ourselves on our muslim past, let us not forget that by the time the british arrived in india and set about establishing their empire, the muslims had declined to an inferior position. They were no longer a master race. So much so, they were reduced to demanding from the british special safeguards, such as separate electorates, to protect their status and position. Consider the irony of this. Once the muslims, a tiny minority, had ruled india. Now they were afraid—or their leading lights were afraid—that they would be swamped by the hindu majority, fearful that in a united india their just rights would be denied them, that they would not be able to hold their heads above the water. This philosophy of fear was dictated by circumstances. after ottoman defeat in the first world war, Turkish nationalism found expression in the idea of a Turkish republic confined to the Turkish heartland: the Anatolian plateau. The idea of empire was no longer feasible. Mustafa Kemal realised this, his vision clearer and sharper than most of his countrymen. In India, muslim nationalism found expression in the idea of pakistan. Jinnah’s greatness lay in helping achieve this idea. But there was one vital difference between turkey and pakistan. The Anatolian plateau was the solid centre of the ottoman empire, what the turks called their true home. The centre of the muslim empire throughout the 800 years of muslim dominance in India was central india, around delhi. But indian partition and the birth of Pakistan meant retreating from this centre and creating a new nexus of existence on the western and eastern marches of the sub-continent. Pakistan thus arose on what used to be not the centre but the Peripheries of muslim power In india. This was a new challenge: of creating a new locus of existence where none had existed before. Muslim Kingdoms had existed in south India. But there had never been an independent muslim Kingdom in the areas now Constituting pakistan. We had roads and bridges, Canals and waterworks, a Judicial and an Administrative system, the Trappings of democracy, the concept of elections and Political parties, but, apart from the one example of Ranjit singh, no tradition of native ability. The idea of being turkish had always existed in the turkish mind. WE HAD NO HISTORY.

  • All the great muslim rulers of our past whom we look upon as our heroes were either turks or afghans, from Mahmud ghaznavi to the last of the Mughals. All of them, who, in successive waves of invasion and conquest from the colder climates of the north, made themselves masters of Hindustan. For 800 years—from 1192 ad
    When muhammad ghori defeated prithviraj chauhan in the second battle of Tarain (in present-day Haryana) to the Establishment of british rule in bengal in the 18th century every ruler of hindustan of any note or merit was of Central Asian origin. In all this vast expanse of History, the lands which now constitute pakistan could produce only one ruler of indigenous origin who could lay claim to any ability: Ranjit singh, maharajah of Punjab. We, the inhabitants of Pakistan, may claim in Moments of (misplaced) Exaltation that we are descended from those early warriors. But this is a false claim. We are now more sub-continental than central Asian. Just as empires and nations rise and fall, races too do not remain the same over time. The mughals were a hardy people when they Marched into india under Babar. After 200 years of unbroken rule their dynasty — descended from the great Taimur—had become degenerate and soft. We may name our missiles Ghori and abdali—although
    Abdali is somewhat inappropriate, considering That ahmed shah abdali in his repeated invasions brought much suffering to punjab— but this is a throwback to a past far removed from our present. Comfortable thought or not, ranjit Singh’s kingdom is more relevant to our present-day conditions than those distant days of glory and
    conquest. The challenge thus posed is a daunting one.

  • For 800 years we have produced no ruler of native ability. But if Pakistan is to come into its own, if it is to throw off the mantle of failure of the past 66 years and forge a new future for itself, then its native sons and daughters have to create something new: capacity and ability where none have existed before—except in the solitary example of the one-eyed ranjit singh. We are going to get no iInfusion of fresh blood from beyond the high mountains. Only Taliban. No ghaznavi or ghori is coming to rescue us. We are on our own. It is for us to
    make something of Pakistan or disfigure it. The kingdom of heaven is here; redemption is here; salvation is here. The very enormity of this challenge should teach us some tolerance. We expect miracles from our rulers without pausing to reflect that what we expect from them is nothing less than a reversal of history. We expect them to be the heralds of a miracle: the creation and expression of native talent and ability. Not that it can’t be done or will never happen. But at least we should be aware of the extent of the challenge. We have to create something wholly new, something which in punjab, the frontier, Balochistan, sindh, has not existed except in the dim annals of pre-history.

  • Listen guys, there are few things that need to be set out beyond doubt.

    1. that Pakistan is for Muslims alone;
    2. that Islamic teachings, including a compulsory reading and memorisation of Qur’an, are to be included in all the subjects, hence to be forcibly taught to all the students, whatever their faith;
    3. that Ideology of Pakistan is to be internalized as faith, and that India is our enemy and Hidnus have never liked us.
    4. students are to be urged to take the path of Jehad and Shahadat.

    If you are not fine with this, find another country.

  • Pakistan’s history is not distorted. It clearly records that the rejection of the Cabinet Mission Plan which Muslim League had already accepted led to the creation of Pakistan. Now the country should be run strictly in accordance with the 1973 constitution. I also disagree that terrorism has a direct link to our teaching about Islam. Extremism has taken roots in India despite its secular claims. Repeated military take-overs in Pakistan have actually played a major role in fanning terrorism. Continuity of democracy would have prevented the interpretation of Islam made by the Zia regime.

  • I blame the distorted history of Pakistan movement for the conditions the country is facing now. One ideology of Pakistan was made by the Pakistani establishment and another by the Indian establishment what was not true.
    Majority of those who had worked for the creation of Pakistan rejected the establishment’s ideology and made a new country for themselves. Pakistan was made as a result of a political process which also led to the creation of Bangladesh. As this process is going on more countries can emerge if the establishment fails to correct its direction. There is no question that the systematic distortion of history by Pakistan’s ruling elite and its promulgation via officially sanctioned text books and state propaganda is the root cause of the country’s myriad problems.
    False history not only hides the “truth” from an academic point of view, it creates false perceptions, opinions, and expectations in the populace. And if this is done over a sufficiently long period of time – as it has been in Pakistan over six long decades – it results in a major national disconnect from reality. People are simply not willing to accept the truth regarding what ails them and are equally incapable of looking at their situation objectively to identify the causes of their misery. To use a computer analogy, once peoples brains become hardwired the wrong way – on account of systematic and extensive brainwashing – they cease to function normally and rationally.

  • I am often surprised how even well educated people are often influenced by the senseless conspiracy theories of Hindu/Jewish/Christian plots against Islam or Pakistan (which to them is synonymous with Islam). Everyday there are sensational revelations about how insults to Islam can be read in labels like Nike, Coca Cola etc. when one looks at them upside down, or in a mirror and what not. Such theories invariably pit Muslims against non-Muslim others. What hurts me the most is how sometimes seemingly sensible Muslims give credence to such nonsense.
    I totally agree with you. Textbooks in Muslim countries speak of the victories of Muslim fighters from an earlier era. Orators still call for today’s mujahideen to rise and regain Islam’s lost glory. More streets in the Arab world and Pakistan are named after Muslim generals than men of learning. Even civilian dictators in the Muslim world like being photographed in military uniforms. E.g: Saddam Hussein, Shah Iran etc.
    In the post-colonial period, military leaders in the Muslim world have consistently taken advantage of the popular fascination with military power. The Muslim cult of the warrior explains also the relatively muted response in the Muslim world to atrocities committed by fellow Muslims.
    While the Muslim world’s obsession with military power encourages violent attempts to “restore” Muslim honour, the real reasons for Muslim humiliation and backwardness continue to multiply.
    National pride in the Muslim world is derived not from economic productivity, technological innovation or intellectual output but from the rhetoric of “destroying the enemy” and “making the nation invulnerable.” Such rhetoric sets the stage for the clash of civilizations as much as specific Western policies.

  • Asif’s article superbly describes Pak Establishment’s brainwashing and its national impact.
    Pakistan must rediscover its proud and diverse past as to prepare for a future that maintains its distinct character. An unshakably secular and equitable society must be forged to protect our country’s inherited diversity for generations to come. Extremists are a threat but this intimidation must be resisted.

  • Equality, freedom of expression, liberation of women these values are not patented rights of the west, they belong to the civilized people of this world as they have over the centuries evolved as a specie and contributed something to our evolution. Yes, West has dominated the world for the past 200 years and over the last 100 years western associated ideologies have come to spawn civilizations across the globe. Without demeaning anyone, there is a victor and loser here. Progressive, dynamic western empires/governments/corporates are the success stories and the regressive, static societies of Middle earth the losers. Borrowing your words “search for truth became for me a continuing course in adult education, matriculating as a perpetual student in the school of life. That’s what keeps us going, isn’t it?” It is a human trait to search, question, explore and move forward. When we defy our genetics that is when problems arise and others appear to be superior simply because they choose to be honest with their natural instincts. People called Pakistan need exactly what you prescribe but that is not possible when they are fed medicine of religious superiority!

  • Those who think distorting history is a strategic tool need to wake up to the detrimental effects of this policy. Not only has it fanned intolerance by making us believe we are victims of some nefarious and well-coordinated chicanery, it has also instilled a misguided and one-sided sense of Muslim brotherhood in us. So we went to help our Afghan brothers. How did a country that has for 800 years attacked the subcontinent suddenly become our brother is devoid of any logic. Let alone the fact that the only country to oppose Pakistan’s entry into the United Nations was Afghanistan. What about Egypt, which provided supplies to India during the 1965 war? How about Iran, which refused to sign the gas pipeline project to protect India’s concerns? So why embark upon this one-way road?

  • It now sounds blasphemous to suggest that Pakistan was established, not as a religious state but, as a modern democratic country where citizen would not be identified or discriminated on the basis of their faith. Logic suggests that if Pakistan was to be established in the name of Islam then the movement for Pakistan would have been led by some holy name and not a person like Jinnah. However, it was dawned after Jinnah’s death on those succeeding him that Pakistan was an Islamic state, as if they were waiting for his departure to change the history. The Objective Resolution passed in 1949 set a new course for the country in compliance with the wishes of those vested interest groups who had no role in formation of the country.

  • Mark – Thursday, March 28, 2013 om 06:18:00 AMIt is important to promote alternate discourse to let the people know the real ideology of Pakistan. Difference of opinion should not be considered a threat to the monotonous Pakistan ideology imposed on the people. Revelation of more facts would lead to the amendments in the imposed ideology. Experience shows us that the monotonous ideology of Pakistan has neither strengthened the country nor united the nation. Permission to alternate discourse could have made things better for the country.

  • The best way to glorify Pakistan-bashers and Jinnah-bashers of 1940s was to change the history taught through the textbooks. When you glorify the villains, then you have to foster prejudice and intolerance of some segments of society; in our case the easy targets were Hindus and Christians rather than All India National Congress, nationalist mullahs and the British colonizers.

  • I have no problems with Muslim rulers being covered in history books. I do have a problem, however, when certain rulers are glorified at the expense of others on the basis of religion, regardless of who the aggressor was. I do have a problem when the names of non-Muslim rulers are conveniently skipped as if they never existed. I have a bigger problem when the mission of spreading Islam is attributed to the invasions of Muslim rulers. Because when the true motive behind their attacks is revealed, it’s Islam that gets maligned not them.

    Even if I were to believe that these rulers attacked out of a genuine wish to spread Islam, who authorised them to do so by the use of the sword? I would like to know who gave these rulers the authority to decide which disbelievers deserved to be punished and which people had reached the level of purity to be left alone? If spreading Islam was their intent, they could have just preached it. If anything, they should be discredited for contributing to Islam’s wrong image as a violent religion.

  • wonder why we are so quick to assume the role of a Muslim apologist. May I remind all such people how Mahmood Ghaznavi killed the locals of Lahore ruthlessly when he attacked and burnt the entire city? May I remind them of Nadir Shah who in matter of a day killed thousands of Muslims when he marched on to Delhi to snatch the throne from Mohammed Shah, one of the last Mughal kings of India and yet another Muslim? Or Ahmed Shah Durrani, who ravaged the Muslim population of Gujrat while fighting the Sikhs? What about the Delhi Sultanate which, over a period of 300 years from 1206 to 1526, saw five Muslim dynasties namely Slave, Khilji, Tughlaq, Syed and Lodhi dynasties, indulge in intrigues and murders of each other to capture the throne. Did any of these rulers care about Muslims that we are so religiously guarding them? Do we all know that Maharaja Ranjeet Singh was requested by prominent Muslims of Lahore to come and capture the city?

    All the rulers of the subcontinent, Muslims or non-Muslims, locals or invaders, were interested in ruling this land purely for political and economic reasons. Why bring in the religious angle or deprive ourselves of our multicultural history? Not only does this fuel religious bigotry and intolerance, it also plants a false sense of invincibility in our minds that allows us to deflect the blame of our failures on others

  • The sequel does not address the points raised in the comments. Maturity and insight of the writer is acknowledged and did not need any further elaboration but sincerity and purpose is confusing.More than being a search for truth or a critical evaluation of what ails Pakistan, it blurs or confuses the facts to direct into the suggested direction.

    To substantiate this observation, it needs a much longer time and concentration than what is currently available at hand. I should elaborate it a little later though the writer is much wiser to need any elaboration and is fully capable of comprehending the hints one of which is that there has not been any mimicking of Arabs but that the ancestors of 80% Pakistanis were Hindus who only adapted to the new religion wholeheartedly and very consciously.Ethnicity or history hardly shaped their beliefs.Islam shapes them, gives them confidence and inculcates in them the resistance/Jihad which is probably the number one abusive word for the west and they want it to be obliterated not only from our text books but from Quran as well (thankfully God himself has taken responsibility to protect it and thus we need not worry about it). Further, there is no confusion about benefitting from the liberal societies while remaining Muslims. Rather the confusion emanates from what the liberals claims and what actually is delivered. Iraq is a grave example and Huge defence budgets, veto to support Israeli settlements, drone attacks, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan etc have what been realities and confusing us due to difference between the words and deeds. The confusion seems to have permeated to the West itself where a lot is being re think and questioned by saner minds.

  • Well written. Look at what has happened to a country which has defied the core values governing the creation of a society. Today, no one is safe. The years of continuing lawlessness and political instability in the country have made everyone vulnerable. The collapse of institutions and inadequacy of celebrated icons, including the Army, have dangerously disillusioned generations of Pakistanis. Radical groups have smoothly stepped into this leadership vacuum, preying on people’s deepest insecurities and prejudices. But Lessons and images imprinted on young, impressionable minds do not just stay with us forever, they fashion our whole personality, outlook and approach to life.

    This is why there may be something in there in the claim that textbooks are to blame for the growing intolerance of minorities in Pakistan. Not long ago, four Hindu doctors were killed in an attack on a clinic in Sindh, the most serious crime recorded against the community in years.

    Nonetheless, it’s impossible to ignore growing instances of attacks on minorities. Apart from burning down two whole colonies of Chritians, there have been many incidents where Christians were meted out ‘vigilante justice’ after being accused of blasphemy under the much abused laws inherited from the British. Sectarian violence isn’t limited to Christians and Hindus though. The Shia Muslims have suffered the most.

  • This refers to some comments above about the great Ranjeet Singh. The name Maharaja Ranjeet Singh is symbolic and is used as an example to point out the need to look at our history objectively. For the critics who just could not shed their keyhole vision of looking at history through a religious lens, I would ask them a question. When Pakistan plays a cricket match with India, why do we support Danesh Kaneria, a Pakistani Hindu cricketer, over Irfan Pathan, an Indian Muslim cricketer? We support Kaneria for the simple reason that we associate his spirit of nationalism with the geographic confines that he represents, not the religion he follows. Going by the same logic, shouldn’t our hero be Raja Jaipal instead of Mahmood Ghaznavi? And if Ghaznavi being a fellow Muslim is enough for us to overlook his devastation in India, then we should also gleefully accept Taliban suicide bombings in Pakistan.

  • Nasir Qadri – Sunday, March 31, 2013 om 10:48:55 AMYou are right about political Islam affecting the history and negating the cultural aspects and heritage. Organizations like Jamat –e-Islami, Ikhwan ul Muslimoon, Jamiat e Ulma e Hind, and Tablighi Jama’at are all focused on propagating a cultureless Islam around the world. The profile of political Islam is drawn from the framework of Salafi and Wahabi interpretations. The literal understandings of Islamic norms are employed to dismantle the cultural elements. Thus even celebrating the birthday of the Prophet is viewed as heretical.

  • Until 1970, despite bureaucratic and military dictatorships, the Pakistani educational curriculum and textbooks, for example, had included the history of the Maurya and Gupta dynasties of the sub-continent conforming to the secular ideals of Pakistan clearly expressed by Mohammad Ali Jinnah in his speech to the constituent Assembly on 11th August 1947. Mohammad Ali Jinnah said:
    “We are starting with the fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal Citizens of one state … Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal, and you will find that in the 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 sense as citizens of the state. …You may belong to any caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”
    Mohammad Ali Jinnah never used the term ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ during the struggle for independence nor after independence. Mohammad Ali Jinnah sternly scolded a prominent leader of Muslim League Raja Sahab Mahmudabad when he wrote to the historian Mohibul Hassan in 1939 that we want the dictatorship of Koranic laws. Sharifuddin Pirzada documented another failed attempt of an Abdul Hameed Kazi to propose a bill to create Pakistan as an Islamic state in All India Muslim League’s 1943 session.
    In fact the term “Ideology” was first mentioned in 1962, fifteen years after independence, by a member of Jamat-e-Islami.

  • “The Quaid-i-Azam never used the words ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ … 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 Jama’at-I-Islami used the words for the first time when the Political Parties Bill was being discussed. On this, Chaudhry Fazal Elahi, [who later became Pakistan’s president during Z. A. Bhutto’s regime], 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’.”

  • The three rigid religious political parties Jamiat-i-Ulama-i-Hind, the Majlis-i-Ahrar and Jamat-e-Islami were opposed to Muslim league and the demand for an independent Pakistan. In Punjab Majlis-i-Ahrar exploited Islamic ideology to defeat Muslim League in pre-partition election of 1945 calling Muslim League leaders ‘Kafirs’ and opposing their demand for a separate state.

  • Ironically, the term “Ideology of Pakistan” was also first coined and used by Jamat-e-Islami who were against the creation of Pakistan and they did not participate with the Muslim League in the movement for the independence of Pakistan.
    After the independence of Pakistan, Jamat-e-Islami established its Pakistan chapter claiming that Pakistan was created for Muslims to live according to Islamic Shariah. Jamat-e-Islami even forgets that the Ahmadiya community supported Independence of Pakistan after Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s assurance that Pakistan will be a modern Muslim state, neutral on sectarian matters (Report of the Court of Inquiry, 1954: 196). However, Jamat-e-Islami Pakistan still cannot justify their opposition to the creation of Pakistan if it was being created only for Muslims to practice the literalist interpretation of Islam.

  • In late 1970’s, after the fall of East Pakistan, the Pakistani educational system began to implement the Islamisation project based on the literalist interpretation of Islam practiced by a very small percentage of the Muslim population. Jamat-e-Islami and other religious political parties championed the Islamisation project. This is a shameful testimonial to the twisted logic of the handful of Muslim literalists.
    The unholy alliance of 1980s, between the dictatorial military regime of Pakistan under General Zia-ul-Haq, the unelected literalist religious political party Jamat-e-Islami and American government, cemented Islamisation of all Pakistani institutions including public educational institutions. The national education policy was Islamised in accordance with the narrow literal interpretation of Islam. The national educational curriculum was revised and textbooks were re-written to re-invent Pakistan as a purely religious society only for Muslim citizens.
    Syed Abul A’la Maudoodi of Jama’at-e-Islami prescribed that all educational subjects should be taught from the perspective of the literal interpretation of Quran. Maudoodi did not accept the distinction between the religious and the non-religious worldly disciplines of education.

  • Literalists have always invented Islam depriving it of universalism and divesting its teachings of its historic context. ‘Pakistan ideology’ is also a case of their figment of imagination that has no basis in Pakistani history.
    Islam has multiple interpretations and only one of those interpretations, i.e., the literalist interpretation of Islam, is fatalistic and anti-humanistic. However, there are only a few Muslims who accept or live by the literalists’ interpretation of Islam, whereas more than 95 per cent of Muslims consciously reject the literalist interpretation of Islam. Literalists themselves fail in avoiding contradictions in their own literal interpretation in their attitude and lifestyle. They are not ready to allow equal human rights in their society while shamelessly demanding it from the secular societies. These literalists simultaneously benefit from all the modern technologies, like getting photographed, using phones, watching television, flying in airplane, using western banking and so on; and criticise them all for being ‘non-Islamic’ and ‘secular’. Literalists have a very small following because most people find it difficult to live in bad faith with a false consciousness, i.e. believing in one thing and doing its opposite. They have changed already, they should understand and accept it. The idea of a return is impossible; you cannot travel back in history.
    Pakistani public education needs to focus on re-designing its curriculum, re-writing and reconstructing teaching material including textbooks and constructing a non-violent, democratic learning environment in the public schools to disseminate tolerant views and employment-oriented education.