The Seed of Extremism
History is a dangerous tool if it is used by political and religious factions wrongly. It can have drastic consequences on the nation if not dealt with care. Selected events are picked up to invoke the past to justify the circumstances of the present. It changes the way how a person perceive the world and think about others. Self-denial, making conspiracy theories and perceiving minorities as your enemy is a part of a mindset which we have developed as a nation. It requires a very broad mind to dig our brains to get inside the roots to know that when and how we developed this mindset. In an effort to do so you will find the cause in history curriculum of our education system. It is a subject that should be taught in a very balanced way without any particular inclination. But unfortunately in our academics we teach history in an objective way to put focus on the Islamic rule with influential text to project Muslim emperors as our heroes while suppressing other important figures of the subcontinent. For example, Marhata Empire had a significant importance in the history of subcontinent but it is hardly covered in our academics. The legendary empire of Ashoka was discovered to most of people only when Bollywood released its blockbuster movie. Bhagat Singh of Punjab was a true inspiration of the freedom movement but all these characters are deleted chronicles of our history.
The custom of eradicating our own heroes based on religion and conspiracy is not limited to Dr. Abdus Salam or Malala Yousaf Zai, but it dates back to centuries when Muhammad Bin Qasim entered subcontinent to combat Raja Dahir of Sindh in order to expand the kingdom of Ummayd Khalifat. Interestingly the man who defended the land of Sindh from invasion is known to us as a villain and the foreigner who conquered Sindh is praised to the highest ranks of glory in our history. We rejected Raja Dahir, the local warrior of Sindh from history because of his religion. Now People proudly name Qasim to their newly born male child. Raja Dahir died bravely in the battlefield in order to protect his people and the land of Sindh. But he ended up with a disgrace in history. In a very similar account of past, Sultan Tipu died for his people in the battlefield while defending the land of Maysor from foreign invader General Harris of East India Company. But thanks to the religion of Tipu which preserved his name in our history books.
After Bin Qasim, the tale continues with the advent of Afghan conqueror Mehmood Ghaznavi followed by Turkish emperor Qutab-ud-din-Aybak then Afghan Khilji heroes then Tughlak heroes and the list of stars continues up to empire of Mughals. In all these tales, we fame only those who were Muslims and mostly they were invaders.
The main reason behind this distorted history is more political in nature and to develop a wrong understanding of two-nation theory of Pakistan by glorifying the Muslim empires only and projecting their rivals as enemies of Islam. This creates hatred feelings with non-Muslims starting with Hindus followed by British or “Angrez” in general. Justifying the creation of Pakistan in this criminal way do not only breed the first seed of extremism in a student’s mind but it also restrict his knowledge to know about local heroes of history and related stories.
Two-nation theory is a historical fact that Muslims were in a deprived state of isolation during the British Empire and their issues could not be resolved by the All India Congress. The consequences reached to a tickling point where Muslims had to form their separate land for the protection of their rights. It is understandable and that’s all about it. We did the same to Bengalis when we ignored their glitches and as an outcome they separated. Annexation of new countries due to dissimilarities between the groups exists globally and we were not an exception. Two-nation theory was a need of time which raised due to such glitches during the British Empire and a large faction of Muslims decided an independent state to protect their rights. But to connect it dots to back in centuries and mix Islamic civilization history with sub-continent history is a way towards extremism which should be avoided.
If Akbar brought Hindus & Muslims togather then Aurangzeb inflamed Hindus in his efforts to suppress them. We are unaware of these blunders, cruelty and mistakes in history. We only know the good side of the story which enables us to think ourselves as a perfect creation of the earth. Due to this obsession we do not admit our mistakes and relate the reason of our failures with different conspiracy theories. If this ball keeps on rolling then we cannot become a tolerant society in any near future. If we want to eliminate this attitude and to protect the mindset of our next generation then serious reforms are required in our school academics where history and Pakistan studies are taught. Otherwise this seed will continue to fertile trees with extremism as its fruit.