We are not the makers of history… we are made by ‘history’! These were the famous words of Martin Luther King Jr. signaling the noteworthiness of ‘history’. World has witnessed many rulers (ranging from the Mongol emperor – Genghis Khan to the Ugandan Military Dictator – Idi Amin Dada) engaged in the most insane pursuits to crave a place in history. The importance of history is well-acknowledged by every civilization and attempts to erase history of a land by her conquerors has often resulted in the downfall of empires. In spite of this fact, an attempt was made in 1947 by an Indian lawyer to rewrite the rules surrounding the subject of history. That lawyer was none other than Mohd. Ali Jinnah, the founder of The Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
After the second world war, it was clear to the world that the British Empire can no longer govern itself as before, which meant freedom of new nation-states including India. This was the time when Mohd. Ali Jinnah of All-India Muslim League came up with a bizarre ‘two nation theory’ for a separate Muslim nation for the followers of Muhammadan religion. As per this outlandish theory, the Muslims of India needed a separate nation because ‘Hindu-India’ would never tolerate the existence of the children of Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) in a free India. A series of riots across India and a battery of discussions between British Raj and the leaders of Indian National Congress and All-India Muslim League prompted the last viceroy of India – Lord Louis Mountbatten to divide India and create the nation-state of Pakistan.
Dividing the population of a country, as large as India on the basis of a religion was never heard of anywhere in the world before 1947. Hence, the repercussion of such a partition was even more terrible – appro. 10 million people died and countless individuals were left homeless. However, it didn’t stop with the killings and dislocation of population of the region but the history of the new country of Pakistan was the biggest casualty of the partition.
The modern day Pakistan hosts world’s most ancient civilization – The Indus Valley Civilization on the banks of river Indus(Sindhu). The ancient cities of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa epitomise the rich history of this land of Mother Sindhu. Pakistan also houses Takshashila University, the one of world’s oldest places of learning, where Chanakya (371B.C. to 283B.C.) taught Political Science and Economics. It also provided a breeding place for the revolutionaries fighting the tyranny of Alexandra – the Mesopotamian Ruler. Further, the city Nankana Sahib in Pakistan is a historic city detailing the birth of Sikhism (one of India’s finest contributions to the world of religions). The Pakistani cities of Lahore and Kasur too have unique importance -these cities were built after Luv and Kush, the twin sons of the great king Lord Ramchandra of Ikshvaku dynasty. Unfortunately, this prolific history became largest casualty of the partition of an ancient land.
Pakistan is the only country in the region with an artificial civilization because after the partition of India many people mostly from the northern and the central provinces of India migrated to Pakistan. These people, with no affiliation to the culture of the original inhabitants of land on which Pakistan was created, ‘borrowed’ their culture from the Mughal dominated states of north India and that too to such an extent that the national language of Pakistan i.e. Urdu was also borrowed from India. Since, religion was the basis of the formation of the state of Pakistan, the new citizens of Pakistan eagerly associated themselves with the Wahhabism of Saudi Arabia overruling the rich legacy of this region. This was because the association of the common man of Pakistan with the ancient greats likes King Ramachandra, Acharya Chanakya or Guru Nanak Dev would mean a complete defeat of Mohd. Ali Jinnah’s ‘two nation theory’. The rich history of Pakistan was thus conveniently put on a back-burner by the rulers of Pakistan.
Attempts are made by the Pakistanis to somehow associate themselves with the Mughal history of India by claiming that The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the rightful heir to the Mughal empire. Right thinking individuals will be shocked to know that a twisted history of Mughals, so called conqueror of the land of India is filled in the school history books of Pakistan.
Few months back, I was watching a debate on Indo-Pak issues on a Prime Time show. One of the penalist of the debate was an eminent lawyer of Pakistan hailed Ahmed Shah Abdali, the Afghan ruler of Durrani Dynasty for defeating Marathas in the third battle of Panipat in 1761 AD. That was time when I truly realised the deep confusion in Pakistanis about the matters of history. Pakistanis revere a foreign ruler – Abdali for defeating Marathas without even realising that one of the major reasons Marathas fought the third battle of Panipat, was the protection of Mughal empire (the only Indian empire the Pakistanis proudly associate with) from the Afghan invaders.
Contrary to its International position, Pakistan seems more than happy to acknowledge the existence of modern Israel, another country formed on the basis of religion i.e. Judaism. However, there is one major difference between Israel and Pakistan – the Jews across the world always believed that the land housing the current nation-state of Israel was their ‘land of milk and honey’ promised by Moses. This fact is even evident in the Jewish prayer ‘Next year in Jerusalem‘, which Jews harboured for more than a millennium. However, there is no such bond shared by Pakistanis with the land housing the current state of Pakistan.
In the end, if Pakistanis wish to move ahead in future then they need to pay attention to the famous quote underlining the importance of history by British PM, Sir Winston Churchill – “The longer you look back, the farther you can go ahead!” Otherwise, Pakistan will go down in history as a lost civilization on a historic land.