There is No Fate But What We Make: Travesty of History

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Travesty of History

It's amazing how India and Pakistan are mirror image of each other in terms of falsifying history to suit the powers-that-be. I have hinted earlier in my blog how the historic accounts we read in books are misinterpretations at best, and fabrications and lies at worst. It was disappointing to read even Narayan Murthy uttering the clichéd lines of glorious first millennium in India while considering the second millennium as the dark age of "islamic invasions". The reality is anything but this black or white. However, the topic of history falsifications is a complex one and needs a book rather than a blogpost to elucidate. What prompted me to write this, is this news item.

"Kabul objects to Pakistani missile names
KABUL, Feb 22, 2006: Afghanistan formally complained to Pakistan for naming its ballistic missiles and other weapons after historic Afghan heroes, a minister said here on Wednesday. Afghan Information Minister Makhdom Raheen said that Kabul had recently sent a letter through its foreign ministry to Pakistan over the use of names of Afghan nation’s heroes, including Mohammed Ghauri, a 12th-century conqueror who ruled what is now Afghanistan and invaded areas in what is now India and Pakistan several times. A series of Pakistan’s ballistic missiles is named after Ghauri, including a 1,500-kilometre-range nuclear-capable weapon. “We asked them (Pakistan) not to use the names of great elders of Afghanistan on weapons of mass destruction or other war equipment,” Mr Raheen said. “These great elders played a major part in building national solidarity and in transferring science and knowledge from the homeland across southwest Asia.” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam refused to comment or say whether it had received such a letter. Afghanistan is also complaining about Pakistan’s use of the name of Ahmad Shah Abdali, an 18th century king who founded the powerful Durrani dynasty, on a weapon that Raheen did not identify. Abdali laid the foundations for the Pashtun tribal rule in Afghanistan. Mr Raheen said Pakistan was welcome to use the names but only for peaceful things like memorials, monuments, conference rooms and historical places. — AP

The reason the generals in Pakistan chose these names? Of course, to intimidate the Indians and psychologically browbeat them! Indians of course have their own twisted version of history that conveniently forgets to mention that Ghazni fought other Turkic and Uzbek powers much more than he did Indians. He fought and killed Turks, Persians, Uzbeks (all muslims) much more than he did Indians. These accounts also avoid any mention of the hindu rajput kingdoms of what is Afghanistan today. It was this kingdom (Anandapal, Jayapal etc) that Ghazni fought in his later career, as he usurped them and established his empire there. The complex maze of rajput alliances and counter alliances made Ghazni friend of some and foe of others. Anyone wonders why he only attacked a few rajput kingdoms again and again but never molested others like the chandela kingdom? The chandela kings made the Khajuraho temples which were never touched by Ghazni. Why Somenath again and again when there were many rich temples to loot Kabul eastwords. Indian history is also silent about the rajput/hindu generals and soldiers that fought on the side of Ghazni. It’s sad to see the travesty of history in Indian historic accounts, which see this complex series of events as a one-dimensional “hindu vs. muslim” colour. A mistake whose repercussions we see all the time in the bitter fruit of communal riots in south asia.

Now, back to the news item on dawn. Sure enough, there was an innocuous little response from a Karachi resident.

"Afghan demand
THE Afghan government’s demand (Dawn, Feb 23) that Pakistan should stop naming its nuclear-capable missiles after their heroes should be taken seriously by the government.
After all, Mahmud Ghaznavi, who had invaded our soil in the 11th century, Mohammad Ghauri, who had established Afghan rule in northern India in the 12th century, and 18th-century Pakhtun king Ahmad Shah Abdali, who led several incursions into India, were Afghan citizens. They had earned a lot of glory for their country by conquering our territories. But more than that we must correct our history in which these invaders are seen as heroes and defenders of the faith. Pakistan’s nuclear hero Dr Qadeer Khan had spent millions of rupees (enough to construct several dozen schools) on repairing of Mohammed Ghauri’s grave in Pakistan. The Afghan government never thanked us for that act. The Afghan demand is enough to underscore our ruling elite’s predilection for Central Asian and Middle Eastern history and distaste of their own past. Their distaste for this soil’s past and thinking of decorating invaders is evident. It was this policy under which the rulers disassociated themselves from the rich past of the country which inherited the Indus Valley civilization. They started tracing their roots to the Middle East and Central Asia. It is time to re-write history and see what is the best in our own soil and people.


Indeed, reading the history as presented to Pakistanis makes me sit up in horror. Not just because of the blatant and unfair anti-india and anti-hindu overtones. But because here’s a sad case of people celebrating rapine of their own land and people. Mohammad-Bin-Qasim, Ghazni, Ghori and above all, Ahmad Shah Abdali attacked, looted, committed Qatl-e-Aams in Sind/Hind, as they did elsewhere, but the brunt of these attacks were borne by the very areas that constitute today’s Pakistan. Pakistani cities like Lahore, Peshawar, Multan took beatings all the time from central asian and Afghan invasions. Given that the overwhelming majority of Pakistanis are NOT progeny of Arabs/Persians/Turks, and are of south asian stock, Pakistani history reading is basically celebrating the rapine of their own ancestors. I don’t know of such a case anywhere else in the world.

Reading letters such as the one above from Manzoor, leaven my hopes of eventual rapprochement between the two south asian nations.


At Monday, February 27, 2006 11:03:00 PM, Blogger Red said...

There is this fascinating book by Krishna Kumar called Pride and Prejudice which compares Indian and Pakistani school history textbooks. He looks at both state govt text books and those prescribed by the NCERT. History looks murky on both sides.

At Tuesday, February 28, 2006 7:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

here's a link to a good resource on this:

The fundamental thing for pakistan is this: a Turk can afford to downplay his muslimness - he is still a Turk. A Persian is a Persian, muslim or zoroastrian or whatever. But a Pakistani - well, if he is not muslim, he becomes an indian !!! That is the fundamental issue with the way Pakistanis see themselves.

At Sunday, November 05, 2006 3:20:00 AM, Blogger Kiran said...

I think we should target history as visible in popular culture and not just in text books. Then things start to look a lot more murkier.

At Tuesday, June 12, 2007 10:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In interesting article, however it seems to be written by someone who has a very simplistic cursory knowledge of the history of the areas in Pakistan (not the history of Pakistan itself). You posit that the majority of Paksitani people are infact just Indian Muslims. I beg to differ. Many especially in the north can directly trace their family roots to Afghans, Turks and Perisans (few even to Arabs, this I think is questionable). But as you rightly observed, certainly Central Asian Persian-Turks and Afghans invaded what is now the Punjab and NWFP many many times. Do you think that after they invaded they just up and left wholesale? None of their remnents stayed behind? They ethnically cleansed themselves of the area?

Just as you seem to feel that Pakistanis don't want to be associated with indians, Why are Indians hell bent on wanting to associated with Pakistanis. Mother India maybe? Pakistanis are not Indians! Fullstop they share some similarities, a past and some culture, but they are NOT the same. Britain was invaded by Anglo-Saxons. Now you go and tell An Englishman that he is a Celt and not an Anglo-saxon, because the Anglo-Saxans raped England. An invading Army invariably leaves its people and Army. I would further say, tell an Indian Aryan-Brahmin that he is Dravidian and you would get the same answer as from the Englishman. look at the majority of faces from, Northern Pakistan, and I don't mean those who came over from India circa 1947. They are very simailar to their central Asian and Perian cousins or will you tell me they look like the people from say, Tamil Nadu?

And the ridiculous comment from one of the posters that Pakistanis without Islam would be just Indians. So what would Indians be now without the British? Mouguls? Or Mougul serfs? It is a strange argument. If you say something about other people then other people can say the same thing about you. So think before you type!

Good day to you sir!

At Tuesday, June 12, 2007 10:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pakistan was never India as you imagine


At Wednesday, June 13, 2007 4:10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Many especially in the north can directly trace their family roots to Afghans, Turks and Perisans (few even to Arabs, this I think is questionable)."

i think pakis should forget this fiction as soon as possible. Sure all the pakis (and muslim indians) with Qureishi surname are related to the prophet, right ?

At Wednesday, June 13, 2007 4:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On what basis is it fiction? On you obvious limited knowledge? You are just a jealous hater. Good luck on your continued hate and jealousy. Pakistan will never be apart of your Hindu dream, DEAL WITH IT!!!!

At Wednesday, June 13, 2007 7:44:00 PM, Blogger Charu Majumdar said...

i request all those who comment to use civil language. Anonymous who wrote at June 13, 2007 4:10:00 AM, please do not take the name of the Prophet (PBUH) so lightly.
Anonymous who commented at June 13, 2007 4:37:00 PM, please stick to your arguments and facts instead of launching personal attacks.

At Wednesday, June 13, 2007 8:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At Wednesday, June 13, 2007 8:13:00 PM, Blogger Charu Majumdar said...

Anonymous who wrote at June 13, 2007 8:09:00 PM - i have deleted your comment.

At Sunday, June 24, 2007 8:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the piece below helps all those pakis who have invented central asian ancestory, denying their south asian hindu/budhist/sikh roots.

This land is mine!

By Hafizur Rahman

ONE could say that the Mughals were back. Not in full force as rulers of the subcontinent but in the person of Mirza Zafar, a photographer of Peshawar who was determined to get back his patrimony from its usurpers. The usurpers in his case being the British government of India in the first instance, followed by its successor the government of Pakistan.

Earlier a similar “royal” in Lahore, Mirza Bashir Ahmed alias Nawab Sahib, had claimed sovereignty over the whole of Pakistan but was willing to be content with much less. He just wanted to be given the Mughal monuments in the city by virtue of his being the last living descendant of Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. Unlike him, the Peshawar man was not so ambitious. He claimed only a portion of the cantonment, including the railway station, saying that the land had been granted as jagir to his ancestors by Emperor Akbar. He even went to court on this, though I couldn’t keep up with the proceedings.

These were personal foibles and the two were dismissed by public opinion as crackpots. Also one does not know the psychological or other reasons that impelled them to air their claims in the press.

While the Peshawar photographer could have become a billionaire if his claim had been accepted, what would Nawab Sahib have done with Lahore’s Mughal monuments? Become rish by restricting entry into them by tickets?

These are questions that have agitated mankind for ages and in modern times are echoed by racial claims to land based on ancient history, and even legend. The are cries all over the world, saying, “This land is ours!”.

The question is — if it is valid at all in these times — who was the original owner, and of what part, of the globe? For instance, the USA aggressively supports the right of the Jews to Israel just because they once lived there some 2,000 years ago, but is not willing to concede the same right to its Red Indians who were masters of the country only 300 years ago. Apparently the older a claim the more valid it is in American eyes.

Chauvinistic Hindus in India, who label Muslims as alien conquerors and want them to go back where they came from, forget that, as ryans, they too had been intruders and marauders and had driven the Dravidians, the original inhabitants of Northern India, to the South. After that they set up in UP and Delhi the mythical utopia described so eloquently in the Ramayana as Ram Raj. On principle they should all go back to Central Asia and the Russian teppes from where they rode out to invade this land.

Imagine, if like Mirza Zafar, the Hindus were to adopt legal means and file a petition with the International Court of Justice in The Hague that all the rich and prosperous republics of Central Asia, now peopled mostly by Muslims, should be handed over to them since they were the original inhabitants of that vast region; what would happen? Probably nothing.

Only the world would laugh, and if the Court possesses a sense of humour besides a sense of justice, it would ask them why they had left their homes in Central Asia in the first place. Who and what made them do that?

The move of the Indian Hindus would be in keeping with the prevailing accusation of smaller states in South Asia that India was becoming hegemonic day by day. Maybe they will make such a move only after they have assured their neighbours like Nepal and Pakistan that their welfare lies in existing submissively as satellites of the great Hindu empire. By the way, can anyone explain why India is unable to live in peace and goodwill with Nepal which is the only other Hindu country in the world?

Shall we them see a mass exodus from over-populated India to the beautiful and fertile valleys of Central Asia? But before that happens the Hindus of Northern India may well be confronted by a demand from the even more over-populated South that its people — originally and racially Dravidians — were anxious to move northwards and reoccupay the great cities of UP. They may have become bored with living for centuries in the hot and humid South and think that a change of scene and climate would be good for their health and colouring.

Allowing for wholesale shifts in population, where will the people of Central India go if the original Aryans decide to return to their homeland? Frankly, I don’t know because my knowledge of ancient history ends here. I can only suggest that they should move to the vast open spaces of Siberia. It may be somewhar cold out there but what is a little discomfort for the sake of historical adjustment?

There will be a problem for the Muslims of Pakistan. Should they too move or should they stay put? You must have noticed that no educated Pakistani worth his salt, and even the uneducated Pakistani, admits to local ancestory. The same goes for the Muslims of India. Everyone of us is born of forebears who came from Bukhara or Ispahan, Istanbul or Makkah. Our surnames make that very evident. There are more Qureshis in the subcontinent than Muslims in Arabia.

Would we like to go back to those sacred haunts if promised corner plots there? Or is this foreign ancestory flaunted by us merely to acquire a superior distinction? None of us wants to admit that we are the children of converts and thus originally Hindus, or even Achhuts, untouchables. If this absurd claim on our part is recognized that we all came from abroad then the question arises — where did all the Hindus of this vast area go? None of us wants to be asked to answer this question and face the truth about ourselves.

Actually, what do all these claims amount to? Someone or other will always turn up and shout, “This land is mine!” Therefore it is better and wiser to to try yo make good wherever we are instead of setting up sights on free property. We should learn to be content with what we have and respect the rights of our neighbours. That goes for both Mirza Zafar and Nawab Sahib and the expansionist Hindus of India.

At Tuesday, January 29, 2008 6:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe not known as Pakistan then but same land,same people,same race.As "india" was not known by it's name then as "Afghanistan" was not known "Afghanistan" then.
Pakistan from 3000 BC to the present:

1. Indus Valley Civilization: 3000-1500 B.C. i.e. about 1500 yrs. Independent, separate from India.

2. Aryan period: 1500-522 B.C. i.e. about 978 yrs. Independent, separate from India.

3. Small semi-independent states: 522-326 B.C. i.e. about 196 yrs. Under the suzerainty of Iran's Kayani (Achaemenian) Empire.

4. Conquered by Alexander and remained under his successor: 326-300 B.C. i.e. about 26 yrs. Under Macedonian rulers, not part of India.

5. Province of Mauryan Empire which included Afghanistan: 300-200 B.C. i.e. about 100 yrs. Part of India, mostly Buddhist rule.

6. Graeco-Bactrian period: 200-100 B.C. i.e. about 100 yrs. Independent, not part of India.

7. Saka-Parthian period: 100 B.C.- 70 A.D. i.e. about 170 yrs. Independent, separate from India.

8. Kushan rule (1st phase): 70-250 A.D. i.e. about 180 yrs. Pakistan-based kingdom ruled over major portion of north India.

9. Kushan rule (2nd phase): 250-450 A.D. i.e. about 200 yrs. Independent, separate from India.

10. White Huns and allied tribes (1st phase): 450-650 A.D. i.e. about 200 yrs. Pakistan-based kingdoms ruled over parts of north India.

11. White Huns (2nd phase--- mixed with other races): 650-1010 A.D. i.e. about 360 yrs. Independent Rajput-Brahmin Kingdoms, not part of India.

12. Ghaznavids: 1010-1187 A.D. i.e. 177 yrs. Part of Ghaznavid empire, separate from India.

13. Ghorid and Qubacha periods: 1187-1227 A.D. i.e. about 40 yrs. Independent, not part of India.

14. Muslim period (Slave dynasty, Khiljis, Tughlaqs, Syeds, Lodhis, Suris and Mughals): 1227-1739 A.D. i.e. about 512 yrs. Under north India based MUSLIM govts.

15. Nadir Shah and Abdali periods: 1739-1800 A.D. i.e. about 61 yrs. Iranian and Afghan suzerainty, not part of India.

16. Sikh rule (in Punjab, NWFP and Kashmir), Talpur rule in Sind, Khanate of Kalat in Baluchistan: 1800-1848 A.D. i.e. about 48 yrs. Independent states, not part of India.

17. British rule: 1848-1947 A.D. i.e. about 99 yrs (1843-1947 in Sind). Part of India under FOREIGN rule.

18. Muslim rule under the nomenclature of Pakistan: 1947-present. Independent, not part of India.

The above table reveals that during the 5000 years of Pakistan's known history, this country was part of India for a total period of 711 yrs of which 512 yrs were covered by the MUSLIM period and about 100 years each by the Mauryan (mostly BUDDHIST) and British (CHRISTIAN) periods. Can anybody agree with the Indian 'claim' that Pakistan was part of India? It hardly needs much intelligence to understand that Pakistan always had her back towards India and face towards the countries on her west. This is true both commercially and culturally.

At Tuesday, January 29, 2008 9:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the previous anonymous poster - I have seen this content at some other website as well. Just a question. Where did this blog say anything about India's claim on Pakistan ? You are dishing out illogical drivel and trying to answer a question which has not been asked.

The basic point of this blog is that Pakisan's history books venerate people like Ghazni and the Paki army names its missiles after them. It's the forefathers of Pakis who bore the brunt of attacks by Ghazni and such.
Do you see the irony ?
Do you have to say anything about that ?

At Sunday, December 14, 2008 8:48:00 AM, Anonymous Saad said...

indians are a dravidian race. For Pakistanis to be ""indian"" they would have be dravidian.
Pakistanis are Aryans or so they appear to be. Indians are genrally shrt and dark as they are ethnicly te same as the aborginies of Australia- dravidian

At Saturday, December 20, 2008 1:49:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saad - do you mean this paki ?

At Saturday, December 27, 2008 8:36:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saad, looking at these pakis.
They don't look Aryan like to me:
Looks the same as hindus to me. What are you going on about?

At Sunday, February 15, 2009 10:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

pakistanis are a mixture of rajastanis,pajabians kasmiris mughala,afganians,iranians and whose ever ruled the area, created influance with the community womens or raped them to produce. which hapened in animal history***** yes yes yes


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home