A simple comparison of history textbooks written by Indian Left-Liberal historians and Pakistani authors is highly revealing
Pakistani textbooks relate the birth of Pakistan not to the year 1947 but to the birth of Prophet Mohammed himself. To support this fantastic claim, many centuries are omitted from history. Only those intervening events are brought up, which may corroborate with the historical development of the idea of Pakistan. Hence their history books begin from the 8th century (Mohen-jo-daro, Harappa were unimportant civilizations of infidels, destined for destruction and hence find no mention.) Then we directly come to the twelfth century and next the sixteenth, as if there were no centuries in between or nothing happened during the period.
The first Islamic invasion of India by Muhammad-bin-Qasim in 712 AD, then the destruction of the Somnath Temple by Mahmud Gaznavi in 1025 AD, next Prithviraj Chauhan’s defeat at the hands of Mohammad Ghori in 1192, the establishment of Mughal dynasty in India by Babar in 1526, Hindu-Muslim conflicts from 1658-1707 during Aurangzeb’s period, Tipu Sultan’s victory over the English between 1782-1989, the revolt against the English in 1857, then via Shah Waliullah, Syed Barelavi, Syed Ahmed Khan and Iqbal to 1940, the Pakistan Resolution of the Muslim League, and finally Muhammad Ali Jinnah. These are the milestones of ‘Pakistani history’ taught in schools and colleges there. It claims that nothing else important happened in the land that is now called Pakistan.
Needless, many ludicrous acrobatics are needed to establish this kind of arbitrary, selective and exaggerated historical account. For example, to show the importance of the victory of the Arab aggressor Mohammad-bin-Qasim over the native Hindu king Dahir, the then ruler of Sindh, totally false accounts about Dahir’s cruelty and Qasim’s popularity have been inserted. However, the Sindhis in Pakistan know the facts of history and they secretly hold, even today, that in his time, Raja Dahir was very admired in the entire region and it was Mohammad-bin-Qasim who ordered the beheading of all Sindhi males above 18 years of age and sent thousands of Sindhi women in the harems of Abbasaid rulers of Arabia. Even to-day the Sindhis are soft-natured and fear the Punjabi Mussalmans.
Similarly, Baluchis in Pakistan know that their ancestors were fire-worshipping Parsis who converted to Islam to save their lives. Even today, when Baluchis take a solemn oath they face the fire while doing so. Even after a thousand years, old legends circulated by their Parsi ancestors, regarding the Sun and the Holy Fire are still current among the Baluchis. Afghans and Pathans (both were originally Buddhist) were repeatedly exposed to the wrath of Muslim invaders. The invaders would convert the Buddhists forcibly, but each time, they reverted to Buddhism after the invaders left. When the invaders returned once again, the same Afghans and Pathans tried to save their lives by posing as great fundamentalist Muslims.
Such ironies are still noticeable in the Pakistani psyche. The people of the West Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan today celebrate the victories of Muslim invaders whose cruelty was let loose on their ancestors centuries ago. Among the heroes of Pakistani history, alien invaders of the land have been glorified the most.
Muhammad-bin-Qasim, Mahmud Ghazanavi, Muhammad Ghori, Babar and Aurangazeb are great heroes in Pakistani textbooks. It is the inferiority complex of the converted Muslims which makes them forget their own land and their great (non-Muslim) ancestors. It is this that makes them take pride in associating themselves with the invading Muslim victors from distant Arabia. Pakistani writers trace Jinnah’s ancestry to the bloodline of the family of the prophet Muhammad! The indisputable fact is that Jinnah’s ancestors had converted to Islam only a few generations ago and even his father used to follow Hindu traditions in many respects. Stories about this still circulate in the interiors of Gujarat.
In this fashion, an innate obstinacy to justify exclusivist Islamic and anti-India origins of Pakistan leads to arrange its history textbooks in a bizarre fashion. In this context, we learn another interesting aspect.
Our Marxist or now, the Left-Liberal historians have in the last five or six decades (especially after they captured important institutions and academies) produced a terrible mess about the mediaeval history of India. This has caused a strange and comical situation. The very things that our Left-Liberal historians condemn about this medieval period as ‘falsehood and exaggeration made by the Hindu communalists’ have a majestic place in the Pakistani textbooks and are taught in detail with great pride.
For instance, Satish Chandra, Romila Thapar and gang describe the destruction of temples by say, Mahmud Ghaznavi as prompted by greed (or ‘need’) for wealth. However, the Pakistani authors are annoyed about this representation. For the following reason: these Hindu Marxist historians and authors of India have demeaned Mahmud Ghaznavi’s sacred acts of temple destruction by lowering its piety, as something done merely for wealth. The Pakistani displeasure is absolutely right on factual grounds. Muslim historians for about nine centuries, from Al Beruni to Muhammad Habib have shown with complete evidence and sound reasoning, that Mahmud’s destructive acts were rooted in his religious faith.
Another telling example is the repeated Left-Liberal depiction of Akbar as the greatest ruler of India. Pakistani textbooks seldom mention Akbar’s name. And when they do, it is to criticise him bitterly for obstructing the expansion of Islam by his ‘tolerant’ religious policy.
The two differing instances of Pakistani and Indian Marxist authors taken together, present the accurate reality of mediaeval Indian history. The former wants to glorify the same thing that the latter wants to obscure altogether. The situation is clear: that the destructive acts of Mahmud were religious acts and the liberalism of Akbar was the exception to the general rule of the broad nature of the Islamic period in the Indian history.
This also makes it obvious that the so-called Hindu communalists have not falsified history: the same history which is being taught in Pakistani textbooks with great pride. In truth, our Left-Liberal historians have whitewashed it to promote anti-Hindu politics for ideological reasons. Needless, this anti-Hindu skullduggery was well appreciated by the Congress and Communist leaders which was why they had placed these historians in important academic positions.
However, the reality of the medieval Muslim period is this: legions of Muslim chroniclers and historians, both Indian and foreign, unmindful of the future anxieties of the Indian Marxists and Left-Liberals, had written full details of the acts, motives and glories of the Muslim rulers. These writings are still intact in libraries across the world. During medieval Muslim rule, time and political power was on their side, and it was not necessary for them to whitewash anything for any reason. This is the main, insurmountable problem that the likes of Irfan Habib, Romila Thapar and gang faced. And despite seven decades of such whitewashing, wholesale falsification and plain lying, the fact remains that they have spectacularly failed.
To be continued