Desi in DC

November 5, 2007

…So Why was Pakistan created?

Filed under: Uncategorized — dcdesi @ 8:30 pm

A friend, who teaches at a local high school, hinted that he was going through a phase of disillusionment. He then mentioned that a large number of his students have been so brainwashed by the cable that they do not understand the reasons why India and Pakistan are two separate countries and many feel they would be equally happy under a single rule.

I believe it is extremely important for us to address our educational system and to understand why this is happening. The current syllabus for Pakistan studies leaves much to be desired. It follows the state line of our leaders can do no evil and Indian leaders can do no good. It is also a subject that is taught us a necessity not as one that will provide knowledge to our youth.

It is time for us to move forward. In this age of cable tv and the internet it is extremely important that we teach our youth the truth and help them understand that no matter where our nation stands today, there were genuine reasons for why this country was created. At the same time it is equally important that we help them understand just how limited were the resources from which this country was built. And even if the picture is not all rosy today, at least it is a step forward from where we started.

So getting back to the initial question.. why was Pakistan created.  If one looks at the state of Muslims in India – by that I mean the average person and not salman khan, Shahrukh Khan,  Amir khan and all the numerous  other khans who have made a name for themselves in bollywood, one finds that as a percentage the levels of poverty are higher and the levels of education are lower amongst the Muslims of India then amongst the Hindu majority. Frankly and Sadly the same may be said for minorities in Pakistan.

Secondly, there is a denial amongst our leaders and historians that the unity of Pakistan was a rosy picture. the Quaid himself recognized that we as a nation would face problems in the future especially due to the different ethnicity. He also, very rightly, knew that the British were afraid of him and that the possibility of Pakistan was a reality as long as he was alive, and he knew his health was not such that it would support him for a very long time.  He therefore stated that we should try and get the country first and then deal with the differences. Little did he know at that time that he would have only a year with his nation and that his left hand man liaquat ali khan would also be shot down, leaving the new nation to deal with problems of ethnicity and representation.  Khalid bn sayeed in his book  Pakistan the formative phase has very clearly outlined this.

It is clearly in the interest of our nation that we not ignore this problem. It is important that we understand that when our youth asks questions like the above they are not trying to raise a controversy. the questions are asked because we as a nation have stopped answering them. We forget that the youth no longer knows people who were there when the country was created. Most of our parents were either babies when the country was formed or otherwise first generation Pakistanis.

In cambodia a research was conducted which showed that many of the youth were in denial about the Khymer rouge genocide that took place in cambodia during the 70 and 80s’. The reason because many simply could not believe something of this sort could have happened to their parents. Issues such as these need to be addressed by their peers and professors so that the youth understand the truth behind it.

I am still an idealist compared to many in my generation. why is that? it is because I was lucky to get a dedicated lot of teachers. My pakistan history teacher in O’ levels made sure that we learnt the unbiased version of our history as children. She used Wolport’s History of India and Jinnah of Pakistan amongst many other books to create an unbiased objective curriculum. This was followed by  another dedicated lot of professors and lecturers at Karachi University.  The end result, I went through my stages of disillusionment, but this was disillusionment caused by knowing what our forefathers wanted and where we were headed. At the same time it strengthened the need to want to do our share to help achieve the original dream. This disillusionment was not the one faced by many others from my generation and those younger to me. Who have not had the opportunity to learn history, for whom Pakistan studies just landed up being a course without which they could not graduate, those who felt that they had been lied to and for whom the “progress” of India seems to be a direct answer to why pakistan and india should have been one.

It is important that we teach our youth the reasons behind the creation and do so in a truthful and objective manner, rather than one which is extremely biased.

PS: this is still a work in progress.

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