Jihad culture runs deep in Pakistan
By Farhan Bokhari
Published: July 27 2005 03:00 | Last updated: July 27 2005 03:00
"The most supreme jihad [holy war] is offering one's life for sacrifice - the reward for which is eternal life for a martyr."
This line comes neither from a firebrand Islamic preacher armed with anti-western vitriol, nor from a sermon in a predominantly Muslim country where the Taliban brand of Islam influences many.
Instead, it comes from a school textbook, used for teaching Pakistan studies (history, culture and politics) to 15-year-old children.
Fifty thousand copies of its latest edition, titled "Pakistan Studies for Class 10", were printed in April - more than three years after General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's military ruler, turned his back on Afghanistan's Taliban regime and promised to root out militancy in his country.
Creating a Pakistan of distortions
Author: Amit Bhattacharya/ New Delhi
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: July 13, 2003
Hindus worship in temples which are narrow and dark places, where they worship idols. Only one person can enter the temple at a time. In mosques, on the other hand, all Muslims can say their prayers together.
*The religion of the Hindus did not teach them good things - Hindus did not respect women.
*Hindus, who have been opportunists, co-operated with the English
These aren't the views of a blinkered mullah in an obscure madarsa. They are passages from Pakistan Government-approved social studies textbooks being taught to students of Class IV to VI in the Pak province of Punjab.
Such and other illuminating instances of how young minds in Pakistan are being fed on falsehoods and hatred, find mention in a recently released document, The Subtle Subversion - The State of Curricula and Textbooks in Pakistan, prepared by the Islamabad-based Sustainable Development Policy Institute.
The document, part of an independent initiative for furthering a 'progressive, moderate and democratic Pakistan', highlights the extent to which public education is being used as a tool of national and social indoctrination for political ends. This, the study notes, 'has created deep social problems and encouraged the development of a more violent polity."
The trend of resorting to stereotypes, omissions of historical periods and falsehoods, says the study, found fillip during the dictatorship of Gen Zia-ul-Haq. In 1977, Gen Zia called a national education conference, the goals of which were "to redefine the aims of education... and bring education in line with Pakistani faith and ideology."
Under the new policy, Islamiat was made compulsory up to BA, as was the teaching of Arabic to students of all religions. Madarsa certificates were equivalent to university degrees. The measures literally thrust a narrow version of Islam down the throat of Pakistan's minorities. Islamisation was turned into an article of faith, as this line from a curriculum document shows: "The Ideology of Pakistan be presented as an accepted reality, and be never subjected to discussion or dispute."
One of the papers in the document argues that the hate material against Hindus was, in part, a result of promotion of the 'Ideology of Pakistan'. Interestingly, says the paper's author A H Nayyar, despite the bloody partition, school textbooks during Pakistan's first 25 years were relatively free of the current pathological hatred. For instance, "history books contained chapters on not only the Harappan civilisation, but also the mythologies of Ramayana and Mahabharata. The great kingdoms of the Mauryas and Guptas were extensively covered, often with admiration. One still found in school textbooks chapters on M K Gandhi, using words of respect for him and admiring his qualities. Some books mentioned that the most prominent religious leaders were all bitterly opposed to the creation of Pakistan."
Then came the 1970s and 'Indo-Pakistan History and Geography' was replaced with 'Pakistan Studies' and Pakistan defined as an Islamic state. The history of Pakistan became equivalent to the history of Muslims in the subcontinent. So much so that "the Quaid-i-Azam was turned into a pious, practicing Muslim."
In contrast, books like this 1956 edition of Tareek-e-Pakistan-o-Hind, were quite objective even with regard to Mohd bin Qasim, who brought Islam into the subcontinent.
The book says: "(Qasim) laid the foundation for Muslim rule in India. But the first brick of the foundation were defective... Had Qasim and the conquerors relied less on the sword to increase their numerical strength... we would have been spared the events because of which we are presently facing tribulations."
Compare that with this unprecedented piece of 'historical' narration from a current textbook of Pakistan Studies: "Pakistan came to be established for the first time when the Arabs under Mohd bin Qasim occupied Sindh and Multan in the early years of the eighth century and established Muslim rule in this part of the South- Asian subcontinent. Pakistan under the Arabs comprised the lower Indus Valley."
The textbook then proceeds to trace the development of 'Pakistan' during the Ghaznavids, Khiljis and the Mughals: "After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, the process of the disintegration of Mughal rule set in, and weakened the Pakistan Spirit."
Analysing the use of history as an official imagining tool to conjure Pakistan, Ayesha Jalal is quoted thus: "When petty officials carry the brief of writing history as victory, the imaginings of power can discard the stray 'truths' of pure inspiration and pretend to monopolise the enterprise of creativity. A sort of amnesia descends."
The study, that looked into problems associated with four key areas taught to Classes I to XII - Social/Pakistan Studies, Urdu, English and Civics - also makes recommendations to undo the damage and bring education in line with the democratic aspirations and pluralistic reality of Pakistan.
But, is anyone listening? Textbook case of falsehoods
*Hindus very cunningly succeeded in making the British believe that the Muslims were solely responsible for the (1857) rebellion- Social Studies, Class VIII
*In order to appease Hindus and Congress, the British announced political reforms. Muslims were not eligible to vote. Hindu voters never voted for a Muslim- Social Studies, Class VIII
*Hindus lived in small, dark houses- Social Studies, Class VI
*There ought to come out (in essays) an angle of propagation of Islam and the ideology of Pakistan- Class Iv, V Urdu curricula
*While Muslims provided all types of help to those wishing to leave Pakistan, the people of India committed cruelties against the Muslims. They were murdered and looted- Civics of Pakistan, Intermediate classes
I am aware of all the brainwashing and hatred towards India that manifest itself in Pakistan.
I, however, fail to see how fidayeen lunacy is equated with the soldierlike act of a Pakistani soldier.
In fact, all types of valour by anyone is a mere reminder that if 'A' can do it, I must do the same if such a situation comes to pass.
Shakespeare has written some excellent pieces of work. Why do we read and appreciate them. After all, must we not remember Gen Dwyer's inhuman act of firing on unarmed civilians which should be forgiven! It recalls a painful past burnt into the memory of those who witnessed the massacre and brought about a shocking disillusionment among the Indians who could until then never believe that the ``benign'' British Government would resort to such savagery.
Going by the above logic, why should be speak, write and read in English? The British were brutal! And yet we do! Matter of selective convenience?
One of the immortal lines that I always recalled before any combat is Rupert Brook's
"If I should die, think only this of me: / That there's some corner of a foreign field / That is forever England". (For "England", in my inner eye it was 'India"')
Should I have forsaken this stirring thought because of General Dwyer and other inhuman brutal acts of the British in India?
In fact, inspite of everything that some Britishers did which was not cricket, do we really dislike or hate the British?
Why should we have any CBM with Pakistan? They are such horrid litle tykes.
Why should we eat and relish tandoori chicken? They are, after all, Frontier food!