History of Pakistan: Identity Crises

In Our school years when it comes to social studies or history of Pakistan we Chandragupta_mauryan_empire_305_BC start from Muhammad bin Qasim invasion of Sindh. So history of our region and Pakistan probably start from 8thg century. In later years we are taught a bit about Indus valley civilization. But in between history of almost 3000-4000 years is missing as there was no one in this region.

We are not told about the great Mauryan dynasty or about the origins of Buddhism and its impact on our region. Nor are we told about the Invasion of our region by Alexander the great and its relations with subsequent empires like Seleucid Empire. There is no mention of Ashoka, 180px-Taxila2Chandragupta Maurya or any of the other great rulers of the time. Why?

May be the reason is that they were all Hindus and not Muslims. It’s like we are disowning our Past where we are linked to Hindus but isn’t it a fact that almost all of our ancestors where Hindus or Buddhist then why do we run away or disown our own heritage and ancestry.

If Once looks more closely the most of Indian subcontinent heritage is embedded in Northern India which also includes Pakistan. Taxila is prime example which was a major educational and cultural centre during Mauryan 180px-TheBuddhaAndVajrapaniGandhara2ndCenturydynasty. Also Alexander the great and the Great Persian Empire also attacked this region. But why are we not told any thing about that? Why does our history start from 1947?

On the other hand India takes full advantage of its heritage and boasts one of the most ancient cultures and heritage in the world and highlights its past. This raises tons and millions in terms of tourism for them.

History plays a major role in nations identity and there unity. A nation who disowns its history, culture and heritage has nothing to be proud of. I think it’s about time we start thinking as a nation and be proud of our Hindu/Buddhist Culture/Heritage and reclaim our identity and highlight it to the rest of the world.

13 Responses to History of Pakistan: Identity Crises

  1. Haris Gulzar says:

    “History plays a major role in nations identity and there unity”. So very true, but as if we care. But as for now, dont you think we have lots and lots, and even lots and lots and lots of other problems to think about :(.

  2. riteshjsr says:

    You know Azeem, you have asked some pertinent questions here. Why do nations disown their identity? Probably because they do not want to be reminded of their infidel past! Atleast that’s what I have read about Pakistan and Afghanistan. I was shattered when I saw the Bamiyan Buddhas being destroyed. Sadly, the sentiment that you have expressed is not shared by the people in the Pakistani establishment. I was reading a book by Michael Wood recently and he described the government apathy and lack of complete regard for history in the manner in which the Taxila museum is being managed. You are right, a lot of money can be made from tourism if the government wakes up to its rich history and cultural heritage. Buddhist pilgrims would love to visit the sites on the old, fabled silk route. You’ve said India does a good job of promoting tourism. I am from India and I don’t think so. If we promote India the way it should be, we will probably be the most visted country in the world. Sadly we don’t. We need to learn this art from Singapore. Look how they’ve turned a mere wheel into atourist hotspot. We have a lot to learn.

  3. Madame Monet says:

    I am a teacher who actually trained as a history teacher (although I’m now teaching elementary school). I read your post with great interest, as I have recently been talking about the same subject, that being that almost NO country is teaching the TRUE version of their history.

    If you have access to Amazon.com, there is a very good book you might like to read (I’ve just read it) called Lies My Teacher Told Me. It is actually quite a scholarly work (but written in an easily read style) by a university professor in Vermont. He uses many examples out of American history to show that what is REALLY taught in high school history classes is PATRIOTISM and FEELING GOOD ABOUT ONE’S OWN COUNTRY.

    I’m American, but presently live in the Middle East. I have been thinking about this issue for a lot of years, and think he has really “hit the nail on the head” in his analysis. The history which is really taught is actually just “tidbits” of history which support the national myths of whichever country you are in. I think this is true in America, Russia, China, the Middle East, or your own country. They want the young of the country to grow up patriotic and feeling good about their own country.

    Madame Monet
    Writing, Painting, Music, and Wine

  4. Touseef Liaqat says:

    I think the problems with our “Pak Studies” or “Maasharti Aloom” (taught as History) subject are more serious then presented above.

    Problem I see, is not related to Hindu or Muslim. Our history books are so incomplete or incorrect that they even do not show true or complete picture of Islamic or Pakistan’s history. I think the objectives of doing this are political and not religious. The objective is to keep the people ignorant so that the rulers keep ruling. Any incompetencies of the rulers are not told like the fall of Dhaka in our history so that people keep believing on the system. The teachings of our great visionaries are not told or anything told does not do justice with them.

    There are a lot of things to be taught in history, and in all these 8 years, the Pak Studies repeat same topics again and again. I believe that it should not only be Pakistan’s history rather we should teach our students, the history of the whole human civilization. Human civilization is evolving, learning and striving for the completeness of humanity. We might need to teach about Ashoka and Buddhist history, but we also need to teach about Greek civilization, the early history of Islam and different doctrines emerged on those early days and history of western civilization etc. We should teach people about all these things which ancestors learned or thought to make one self a better human being.

    On the side note Pakistanis are not using and exploiting many Muslim architectures for tourism even they only owning Muslim history as noted above.. And do we really have identity crisis? I doubt! One require some solid arguments to support this theory. Yes, Indian look good on their TV channels and show that they have deep cultural, historical roots. Do we need to compare or compete with them on this?

    The most important thing a nation can be proud of is, its freedom, justice and equal rights. Without these any nation does not need to be proud of its history, culture and heritage.

    Touseef Liaqat

  5. Touseef Liaqat says:

    Thanks Madame Monet for your valuable comments.

  6. Ali says:

    I was talking about this learning gap to my friends, I wonder what it will take to fix this “minor discrepancy” in the text books in their current form.
    Also, Islamiaat text books are full of conquests and wars and sacrificing one’s life for the faith, and not of love, peace, justice, and tolerance, importance of learning and innovating. Last time anyone talked about amending the textbooks all mullah MNAs walked out of National Assembly.
    In any case I was born and grew up 20 km from kot Digi and never could go visit it because of armed kidnapping gangs operate in interior sindh with an impunity, most landowners “waderas” have their own private jails and an army of these gangs. We should start viewing our rich history and start paying due credits, but roaming freely in Pakistan is hard enough for locals, no way we need to be thinking about foreign visitors.

  7. dev kittur says:

    I am an Indian, but I never feel that the history of India before 1947 and the great cultural traditions belong only to Today’s India. I am of the opinion that the entire past before 1947 including the Mughals,Samrat Ashoka,King Puru,Shivaji and every thing must be shared by all the three countries who were the part of Undivided India. Also, the history subject should be taught from a neutral perspective and no patriotic point of view should be reflected.

    Perhaps a common history book for Indian subcontinent will be a nice Idea

  8. Nadir says:

    Hi Azeem, me and my friends have also stated this repeated times. A correction to add on your part is that “Hinduism” is a fiction created by the British. Search Hinduism English invention on google.

    I have dedicated one of my blogs on Pakistani history. Please do search Pakistanis ignorance to their roots.

    Best regards.

  9. sandeep says:

    india has a history of more than 7000 years .at that time there was no particular border or country but we all in south asia called ourselves as bhartvarsh whose culture and spiritualism extends from afghnaistan to cambodia.

    At that time there was sanatana dharma created by not a particular person but by ancient muni and rishis at himalaya.

    Pakistan was the heart of indus and hindu civillistation.but since pakistan is closer to the central asia, and barbaric central asians (muslaim) whenever attacked india for rich land they forcfully converedd most of the hindus in pakistan in to islam.Thats why we indian feel that pakistanis are our brothers and they belong to same civillistion and culture as we do now.

  10. Gokul Sundar says:

    Do check this out. Just a compilation of the Pakistani history textbooks.

  11. Rajwinder Singh says:

    World has always been moderates vs extremists, my view is pakistan please teach moderate history. You all are not generations of 500 soldiers of Mugal Babar, Please love humanity and stop extremism.

  12. Pingback: History of Pakistan from 3000 BC to the present - Page 17

  13. Pingback: Mohenjo Daro: Could this ancient city be lost forever? - Page 3

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