Khursheed Kamal Aziz better known as K. K. Aziz was a Pakistani historian, admired for his books written in the English Language. Aziz had a profound love for words and writing. He authored 44 valuable books on the modern history of the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. He had a unique style of writing that stimulated readers’ thought processes, ‘THE MURDER OF HISTORY IN PAKISTAN’ is a clear example of it. “The Murder of History in Pakistan” is a critical analysis of the history textbooks used in Pakistan’s educational system. The book provides an insightful look into the problematic portrayal of history in Pakistan. Aziz argues that history textbooks have been distorted to promote a nationalist agenda and to justify the creation of Pakistan as a separate state for Muslims.
This book review aims to highlight the key arguments made in the book and their significance in understanding the complex relationship between history, nationalism, and politics in Pakistan.
Aziz’s critique of the history textbooks used in Pakistan is a vital contribution to understanding the problematic portrayal of history in the country. He provides numerous examples of how historical facts have been distorted or omitted to promote a nationalist agenda, leading to a one-sided portrayal of history. Aziz shows how this distorted view of the past has fueled sectarianism and ethnic tensions in Pakistan, leading to a fragmented society. His analysis of the history textbooks used in Pakistan is thorough and well-researched, providing a nuanced understanding of the problem. Aziz’s book provides numerous examples of how history textbooks in Pakistan have been manipulated to promote a particular political and religious narrative. For instance, the author highlights how textbooks present the Muslim conquest of India as a heroic and righteous act, ignoring the violence and destruction that accompanied it. Similarly, the contributions of non-Muslims to the development of the subcontinent are often ignored or minimized in these textbooks, leading to a skewed understanding of history.
Furthermore, Aziz argues that the politicization of history education in Pakistan has led to the promotion of a narrow and exclusionary version of Islam. The author points out that textbooks often present a distorted view of Islam that emphasizes its more militant and radical elements, promoting an intolerant and extremist worldview. This, in turn, fuels sectarianism and ethnic tensions in the country, as different religious and ethnic groups are pitted against each other.
One of the most remarkable aspects of this book is the author’s courage to challenge the political leadership of Pakistan during General Zia ul Haq’s dictatorship.
The author provides evidence to support his claims that history textbooks in Pakistan are a collection of misquotations and misstatements that lead to self-glory while hiding the lies engraved in them.
He highlights how students are forced to learn a collection of facts rather than historical facts. This part of the book is significant in understanding the politicized system of Pakistan and how it impacts the education system. Aziz’s critique of Pakistan’s history education is especially relevant in the context of the country’s political history. During General Zia ul Haq’s dictatorship, history was replaced with Pakistan Studies and Social Studies. These subjects were designed to promote a particular nationalist and religious agenda, which glorified Muslim rulers and ignored the contributions of non-Muslims to the subcontinent’s history. Aziz’s book directly challenged this political ideology, which was a brave move given the political climate of the time.
The author’s critique of the political leadership of Pakistan was not limited to General Zia’s regime. He also highlights how successive governments have manipulated history textbooks to promote their political agenda. By challenging the political leadership of Pakistan, Aziz provides a unique perspective on how politics and education intersect, and how this intersection can have a profound impact on a country’s development.
The final part of the book provides recommendations for improving history education in Pakistan. Aziz suggests that history education should be depoliticized and that teachers should be trained to present a balanced and nuanced view of the past. He also recommends revising history textbooks to include a broader range of perspectives and reflect a more accurate portrayal of the past. Aziz argues that such changes would create a more informed and tolerant society, which would ultimately contribute to Pakistan’s development as a nation. This part of the book is significant as it provides solutions to the issues raised earlier in the book. The author’s recommendations for improving history education in Pakistan are a significant contribution to the book. Aziz argues that history education should be depoliticized and teachers should be trained to present a balanced and nuanced view of the past. This is an essential recommendation, as it would allow students to engage critically with history and develop their understanding of the past.
Aziz’s suggestion that history textbooks be revised to include a broader range of perspectives and to reflect a more accurate portrayal of the past is a crucial step toward creating a more inclusive and informed society.
Aziz’s recommendations are particularly relevant in the context of Pakistan’s diverse cultural and religious heritage. By depoliticizing history education and promoting a more balanced and nuanced view of the past, Pakistan can create a more tolerant and inclusive society. This is essential for fostering unity and social cohesion in a country home to a wide range of ethnic and religious groups.
In conclusion, “The Murder of History in Pakistan” is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the complex relationship between history, nationalism, and politics in Pakistan. Aziz’s critique of history textbooks and his recommendations for improving history education is highly relevant, not only for Pakistan but also for other countries facing similar challenges in creating a balanced and nuanced view of the past. “The Murder of History in Pakistan” is a thought-provoking and insightful analysis of the politics of history in Pakistan and a valuable contribution to the ongoing debates about the role of history in shaping national consciousness and identity.
The Author is a scholar of International Relations at the University of Karachi. His work has been published in local and International publications. He has a keen interest in the Middle Easter Region. He tweets @NaveedH14588938