Hate literature fed from childhood: Pakistan

4 01 2009

Primers Of Hate

History or biology, Pakistani students get anti-India lessons in all their textbooks

AMIR MIR
Source: outlookindia

When Mohammad Qasim stepped out to participate in the declamation contest held to celebrate Pakistan’s Independence Day, the topic he was to speak on was: ‘Why Islam and Pakistan are integral to each other’. Instead, this Class XI student of Lahore’s Government Central Model School lashed out against the Hindus, giving vent to inexplicable anger and hatred. This was particularly shocking because the Hindu community, constituting an infinitesimal percentage of Pakistan’s population, hasn’t been an aspect of Qasim’s life. Asked to explain his outpouring in the contest, the 14-year-old boy said, “We hate Hindus because they are Hindustanis and the number one enemies of both Islam and Pakistan. We know it all through our history and Pakistan Studies books. We learn what happened years ago all the time at school.” Qasim’s explanation illustrates vividly the inimical impact of school textbooks, where history is manipulated to foster national chauvinism, where knowledge becomes a vital tool in the construction of national identity, where the sense of nation is promoted through veritable lessons in bigotry, hatred and gross misrepresentation of history. The extracts (see box) culled out from textbooks taught in government schools demonstrates how the ruling establishment, under the aegis of President Pervez Musharraf, is misusing books to develop an anti-India, anti-Hindu mindset—and also fan sentiments against Christians, Jews and the West. The regime’s control over the education system is exercised through Lt Gen (retd) Javed Ashraf Qazi, who heads the federal education ministry. Head of the ISI between 1993 and 1995, Qazi supervised the recruitment of students from Pakistan’s madrassas for constituting the extremist Taliban militia.

These textbooks came under the scanner following a story in the Los Angeles Times highlighting the tilt against non-Muslims. “Thousands of Pakistani children learn from history books each year that Jews are tight-fisted moneylenders and Christians are vengeful conquerors,” the newspaper said. It expressed astonishment that such lessons are taught not in madrassas but in government schools of a country whose leader (Musharraf) is an ally of the US in the war against terror. The LA Times report prompted the US administration to voice its grave concern over the textbooks to Islamabad. US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told a news briefing last August, “The issue is a matter of serious concern for Washington and the Bush administration would like the Pakistani leadership to effectively address it.”

Minister Qazi subsequently claimed efforts were afoot to revise and reform the public school curriculum. But the gargantuan nature of the task can be illustrated through the mindset dominant in the Islamabad-based National Curriculum Wing (NCW). Functioning directly under Qazi’s ministry, the NCW sets the guidelines for the four provincial textbook boards which publish course material for government schools. The NCW issued a directive in 2002 laying out the following objectives: nurture in children a sense of Islamic identity and pride in being a Pakistani and regard Pakistan as an Islamic country and acquire deep love for it. Ignored was the possibility that a child in school could be non-Muslim and might feel alienated because textbooks equate the Pakistani with Muslim. Although the subject of Islam, or Islamiat, is compulsory only for Muslims, the directive awarded an extra 25 per cent marks to a non-Muslim student should he or she opt for the course. The 2002 directive was issued a month after then education minister Zubaida Jalal had directed the NCW to revise history books taught in public schools.

Scientist and educationist Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy feels the ongoing redefinition of education, first initiated under President Zia-ul-Haq, will have profound illiberal implications for Pakistan.”A new concept of education now prevails, the full impact of which will probably be felt when the present generation of schoolchildren attains maturity.”

Not only have the Pakistan rulers divorced education from liberal and secular ideals, they also view it as essential for Islamising society and forging a new national identity. Hoodbhoy explains, “Important steps have already been taken in this direction: enforcement of chador in educational institutions; organisation of congregational afternoon prayers during school hours; compulsory teaching of Arabic as a second language from Class VI onwards; introduction of reading the Quran as a matriculation requirement; alteration of the definition of literacy to include religious knowledge; establishment of an Islamic university in Islamabad; introduction of religious knowledge as a criterion for selecting teachers; and the revision of conventional subjects to emphasise Islamic values.”

Renowned historian Dr Mubarak Ali says the westernised liberal elite, which had inherited power from the British, had given to education a basically secular and modern character. “However, the self-seeking and opportunistic elite in independent Pakistan simply abandoned liberal values because of political and economic exigencies,” explains Dr Ali, adding that this trend has impacted adversely on the education system.

The debilitating role of the political class in Islamising the education system can best be illustrated through an example. In March 2004, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), the fundamentalist alliance of five religious parties, disrupted the National Assembly proceedings and staged a walkout claiming that a certain reference to jehad as well as other Quranic verses had been excluded from the new edition of a state-prescribed biology textbook. The MMA threatened to launch a protest movement if the Quranic verses were not reinstated. However, then education minister Zubaida Jalal clarified that no chapter or verses relating to jehad (holy war) or shahadat (martyrdom) had been deleted from textbooks, and that the particular verse referring to jehad had only been shifted from the biology textbook for intermediate students (Classes XI and XII, that is) to the matriculation level course (Class X). The education ministry never bothered to inquire—as most people familiar with the discipline of biology logically would—why there were references to jehad in the biology textbook in the first place.

The illiberal nature of Pakistan’s education system was brought out in pitiless detail by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Islamabad, in its report ‘The Subtle Subversion: The State of Curricula and Textbooks in Pakistan’. Authored jointly by A.H. Nayyar and Ahmed Salim, the 140-page SDPI report illustrates, through examples, how the education system is contributing to the culture of sectarianism, religious intolerance and violence.

Some of the important findings of the SDPI are: the current curriculum and textbooks are “impregnating young and impressionable minds with seeds of hatred” to serve a self-styled ideological straitjacket; substantial distortion of the nature and significance of actual events in Pakistan’s history; insensitivity to the existing religious diversity of the nation; promotion of perspectives that encourage prejudice, bigotry and discrimination towards fellow citizens, especially women and religious minorities and other nations; a glorification of war and the use of force; and incitement to militancy and violence, including encouragement of loaded concepts like jehad and martyrdom.

The SDPI report, however, also exposes America’s hypocrisy.Claiming that the concepts of jehad and martyrdom were incorporated into the Pakistani curricula after the start of the so-called Afghan jehad against the Soviet occupation troops, the SDPI report says, “At that point, it suited the US and its most allied of allies, Pakistan, to encourage and glorify the so-called mujahideen, or holy warriors, in the war against the Russians. An American institution of higher education was asked to formulate textbooks for Pakistani schools accordingly. The University of Nebraska at Omaha, which has a center for Afghan Studies, was subsequently tasked by the Central Intelligence Agency in the early eighties to rewrite textbooks for Afghan refugee children. The new textbooks included hate material even in arithmetic books. One question asked, ‘If a man has five bullets and two go into the heads of Russian soldiers, how many are left’?”

But the context changed dramatically post-9\11. A research thesis exposed in 2002 the role of Americans in writing pernicious textbooks. The SDPI report states, “Since the Soviets are no more, the mujahideen have not only mutated into Taliban but have also outlived their usefulness, the same American University (the University of Nebraska at Omaha) has been given an additional grant by the Bush administration to re-re-write textbooks, taking out material on jehad, etc.”

America’s hypocrisy apart, it is in Pakistan’s interest to delete from textbooks hate material and ensure today’s schoolchildren are groomed into liberal, democratic, secular Pakistanis, harbouring hatred for none and love for all.

magazine | Oct 10, 2005
‘Hindu, Enemy Of Islam’These are extracts from government-sponsored textbooks approved by the National Curriculum Wing of the Federal Ministry of Education.

“Before the Arab conquest people were fed up with the teachings of Buddhists & Hindus.” “Before Islam people lived in untold misery.”

“European nations have been working during the past three centuries…to subjugate countries of the Muslim world.”


Class IV

  • The Muslims of Pakistan provided all facilities to the Hindus and the Sikhs who left for India. But the Hindus and the Sikhs looted the Muslims in India with both hands and they attacked their caravans, buses and railway trains. Therefore, about one million Muslims were martyred on their way to Pakistan.
  • The Hindus treated the ancient population of the Indus Valley very badly. They set fire to their houses and butchered them.
  • The religion of Hindus did not teach them good things, Hindus did not respect women.

Class V

  • After the war of 1965, India with the help of Hindus living in East Pakistan, incited the people of East Pakistan against West Pakistanis. In December 1971, the Indians themselves also attacked East Pakistan. As a result…East Pakistan separated from us. We should all receive military training so that we can foil the designs of the enemy in the future.
  • The Hindu has always been an enemy of Islam.

Class VI

  • In the middle of the city of Deebal (Sindh), there was a Hindu temple. There was a flag hoisted on top of it. The Hindus believed that as long as the flag kept flying, nobody could harm them. Mohd bin Qasim found out about this…. The Muslims began to catapult stones at the temple and at the flag, ultimately making it fall to the ground. The whole city became tumultuous and the Hindus lost heart. Some Muslims clambered up the walls of the temple and forced open the door. Qasim’s army entered the city and after conquering it, announced peace. The Muslims treated the vanquished so well many Hindus converted to Islam.
  • Before the Arab conquest the people were fed up with the teachings of Buddhists and Hindus.
  • The foundation of the Hindu setup was based on injustice and cruelty.
  • The Hindus who had always been opportunists cooperated with the British.
  • The Hindus used to please the goddess Kali by slaughtering people of other religions.

Class VII

  • Some Jewish tribes also lived in Arabia. They lent money to workers and peasants on high rates of interest and usurped their earnings. They held the whole society in their tight grip because of the ever-increasing compound interest.
  • History has no parallel to the extremely kind treatment of the Christians by the Muslims. Still the Christian kingdoms of Europe were constantly trying to gain control of Jerusalem. This was the cause of the Crusades.
  • European nations have been working during the past three centuries, through conspiracies or naked aggression, to subjugate countries of the Muslim world.w Hindus always desired to crush the Muslims as a nation. Several attempts were made by the Hindus to erase Muslim culture and civilisation.
  • The Hindus too wished to ruin Muslim civilisation and culture by destroying Urdu which has been closely associated with the Pakistan Movement.

Class VIII

  • During the Khilafat Movement Hindus and Muslims were completely united and like brothers and they started to cooperate and live in peaceful togetherness. But as soon as this movement ended, Hindu hatred of the Muslim re-emerged.
  • Before Islam people lived in untold misery all over the world.

Class IX

  • The Hindus and the Muslims…could not amalgamate each other’s way of life to become one nation. The main reason for this difference of cultures, civilisation and outlook was the religion of Islam which cannot be assimilated in any other system as it is based on the principle of…oneness of God….On the other hand, Hinduism is based on the concept of multiple Gods….There lies the difference between the Hindu and Muslim way of thinking.
  • In connivance with the (British) government the Hindus started communal riots and caused loss of life and property. At the time of prayers the Hindus tortured the Muslims by playing music in front of the mosques. Before the commencement of classes the students saluted the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi and Muslim students were also forced to do so.
  • Muslims promoted equality and social justice as against the division (created by) the (Hindu) caste system.

Class X

  • (The ideology of) Pakistan…was a revolt against the prevailing system of India in which Hindu nationalism was imposed on the Muslims….
  • Islam gives a message of peace and brotherhood…. There is no such concept in Hinduism. Moreover Islam preaches brotherhood, equality and justice…. On the other hand, the Hindu society is based on caste system which downgrades the entire mankind.
  • After the establishment of Pakistan the Hindus and Sikhs created a day of doom for the Muslims in East Punjab.
  • The Hindus were encouraged by the (British) government to force the Muslims to join the Congress.

(These extracts have been translated from Urdu which is the standard medium of instruction in government
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Hate literature fed from childhood: Pakistan

30 12 2008

Primers Of Hate

History or biology, Pakistani students get anti-India lessons in all their textbooks

AMIR MIR
Source: outlookindia

When Mohammad Qasim stepped out to participate in the declamation contest held to celebrate Pakistan’s Independence Day, the topic he was to speak on was: ‘Why Islam and Pakistan are integral to each other’. Instead, this Class XI student of Lahore’s Government Central Model School lashed out against the Hindus, giving vent to inexplicable anger and hatred. This was particularly shocking because the Hindu community, constituting an infinitesimal percentage of Pakistan’s population, hasn’t been an aspect of Qasim’s life. Asked to explain his outpouring in the contest, the 14-year-old boy said, “We hate Hindus because they are Hindustanis and the number one enemies of both Islam and Pakistan. We know it all through our history and Pakistan Studies books. We learn what happened years ago all the time at school.”

Qasim’s explanation illustrates vividly the inimical impact of school textbooks, where history is manipulated to foster national chauvinism, where knowledge becomes a vital tool in the construction of national identity, where the sense of nation is promoted through veritable lessons in bigotry, hatred and gross misrepresentation of history. The extracts (see box) culled out from textbooks taught in government schools demonstrates how the ruling establishment, under the aegis of President Pervez Musharraf, is misusing books to develop an anti-India, anti-Hindu mindset—and also fan sentiments against Christians, Jews and the West. The regime’s control over the education system is exercised through Lt Gen (retd) Javed Ashraf Qazi, who heads the federal education ministry. Head of the ISI between 1993 and 1995, Qazi supervised the recruitment of students from Pakistan’s madrassas for constituting the extremist Taliban militia.

These textbooks came under the scanner following a story in the Los Angeles Times highlighting the tilt against non-Muslims. “Thousands of Pakistani children learn from history books each year that Jews are tight-fisted moneylenders and Christians are vengeful conquerors,” the newspaper said. It expressed astonishment that such lessons are taught not in madrassas but in government schools of a country whose leader (Musharraf) is an ally of the US in the war against terror. The LA Times report prompted the US administration to voice its grave concern over the textbooks to Islamabad. US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told a news briefing last August, “The issue is a matter of serious concern for Washington and the Bush administration would like the Pakistani leadership to effectively address it.”

Minister Qazi subsequently claimed efforts were afoot to revise and reform the public school curriculum. But the gargantuan nature of the task can be illustrated through the mindset dominant in the Islamabad-based National Curriculum Wing (NCW). Functioning directly under Qazi’s ministry, the NCW sets the guidelines for the four provincial textbook boards which publish course material for government schools. The NCW issued a directive in 2002 laying out the following objectives: nurture in children a sense of Islamic identity and pride in being a Pakistani and regard Pakistan as an Islamic country and acquire deep love for it. Ignored was the possibility that a child in school could be non-Muslim and might feel alienated because textbooks equate the Pakistani with Muslim. Although the subject of Islam, or Islamiat, is compulsory only for Muslims, the directive awarded an extra 25 per cent marks to a non-Muslim student should he or she opt for the course. The 2002 directive was issued a month after then education minister Zubaida Jalal had directed the NCW to revise history books taught in public schools.

Scientist and educationist Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy feels the ongoing redefinition of education, first initiated under President Zia-ul-Haq, will have profound illiberal implications for Pakistan.”A new concept of education now prevails, the full impact of which will probably be felt when the present generation of schoolchildren attains maturity.”

Not only have the Pakistan rulers divorced education from liberal and secular ideals, they also view it as essential for Islamising society and forging a new national identity. Hoodbhoy explains, “Important steps have already been taken in this direction: enforcement of chador in educational institutions; organisation of congregational afternoon prayers during school hours; compulsory teaching of Arabic as a second language from Class VI onwards; introduction of reading the Quran as a matriculation requirement; alteration of the definition of literacy to include religious knowledge; establishment of an Islamic university in Islamabad; introduction of religious knowledge as a criterion for selecting teachers; and the revision of conventional subjects to emphasise Islamic values.”

Renowned historian Dr Mubarak Ali says the westernised liberal elite, which had inherited power from the British, had given to education a basically secular and modern character. “However, the self-seeking and opportunistic elite in independent Pakistan simply abandoned liberal values because of political and economic exigencies,” explains Dr Ali, adding that this trend has impacted adversely on the education system.

The debilitating role of the political class in Islamising the education system can best be illustrated through an example. In March 2004, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), the fundamentalist alliance of five religious parties, disrupted the National Assembly proceedings and staged a walkout claiming that a certain reference to jehad as well as other Quranic verses had been excluded from the new edition of a state-prescribed biology textbook. The MMA threatened to launch a protest movement if the Quranic verses were not reinstated. However, then education minister Zubaida Jalal clarified that no chapter or verses relating to jehad (holy war) or shahadat (martyrdom) had been deleted from textbooks, and that the particular verse referring to jehad had only been shifted from the biology textbook for intermediate students (Classes XI and XII, that is) to the matriculation level course (Class X). The education ministry never bothered to inquire—as most people familiar with the discipline of biology logically would—why there were references to jehad in the biology textbook in the first place.

The illiberal nature of Pakistan’s education system was brought out in pitiless detail by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Islamabad, in its report ‘The Subtle Subversion: The State of Curricula and Textbooks in Pakistan’. Authored jointly by A.H. Nayyar and Ahmed Salim, the 140-page SDPI report illustrates, through examples, how the education system is contributing to the culture of sectarianism, religious intolerance and violence.

Some of the important findings of the SDPI are: the current curriculum and textbooks are “impregnating young and impressionable minds with seeds of hatred” to serve a self-styled ideological straitjacket; substantial distortion of the nature and significance of actual events in Pakistan’s history; insensitivity to the existing religious diversity of the nation; promotion of perspectives that encourage prejudice, bigotry and discrimination towards fellow citizens, especially women and religious minorities and other nations; a glorification of war and the use of force; and incitement to militancy and violence, including encouragement of loaded concepts like jehad and martyrdom.

The SDPI report, however, also exposes America’s hypocrisy.Claiming that the concepts of jehad and martyrdom were incorporated into the Pakistani curricula after the start of the so-called Afghan jehad against the Soviet occupation troops, the SDPI report says, “At that point, it suited the US and its most allied of allies, Pakistan, to encourage and glorify the so-called mujahideen, or holy warriors, in the war against the Russians. An American institution of higher education was asked to formulate textbooks for Pakistani schools accordingly. The University of Nebraska at Omaha, which has a center for Afghan Studies, was subsequently tasked by the Central Intelligence Agency in the early eighties to rewrite textbooks for Afghan refugee children. The new textbooks included hate material even in arithmetic books. One question asked, ‘If a man has five bullets and two go into the heads of Russian soldiers, how many are left’?”

But the context changed dramatically post-9\11. A research thesis exposed in 2002 the role of Americans in writing pernicious textbooks. The SDPI report states, “Since the Soviets are no more, the mujahideen have not only mutated into Taliban but have also outlived their usefulness, the same American University (the University of Nebraska at Omaha) has been given an additional grant by the Bush administration to re-re-write textbooks, taking out material on jehad, etc.”

America’s hypocrisy apart, it is in Pakistan’s interest to delete from textbooks hate material and ensure today’s schoolchildren are groomed into liberal, democratic, secular Pakistanis, harbouring hatred for none and love for all.

magazine | Oct 10, 2005
‘Hindu, Enemy Of Islam’

These are extracts from government-sponsored textbooks approved by the National Curriculum Wing of the Federal Ministry of Education.

“Before the Arab conquest people were fed up with the teachings of Buddhists & Hindus.” “Before Islam people lived in untold misery.”

“European nations have been working during the past three centuries…to subjugate countries of the Muslim world.”


Class IV

  • The Muslims of Pakistan provided all facilities to the Hindus and the Sikhs who left for India. But the Hindus and the Sikhs looted the Muslims in India with both hands and they attacked their caravans, buses and railway trains. Therefore, about one million Muslims were martyred on their way to Pakistan.
  • The Hindus treated the ancient population of the Indus Valley very badly. They set fire to their houses and butchered them.
  • The religion of Hindus did not teach them good things, Hindus did not respect women.

Class V

  • After the war of 1965, India with the help of Hindus living in East Pakistan, incited the people of East Pakistan against West Pakistanis. In December 1971, the Indians themselves also attacked East Pakistan. As a result…East Pakistan separated from us. We should all receive military training so that we can foil the designs of the enemy in the future.
  • The Hindu has always been an enemy of Islam.

Class VI

  • In the middle of the city of Deebal (Sindh), there was a Hindu temple. There was a flag hoisted on top of it. The Hindus believed that as long as the flag kept flying, nobody could harm them. Mohd bin Qasim found out about this…. The Muslims began to catapult stones at the temple and at the flag, ultimately making it fall to the ground. The whole city became tumultuous and the Hindus lost heart. Some Muslims clambered up the walls of the temple and forced open the door. Qasim’s army entered the city and after conquering it, announced peace. The Muslims treated the vanquished so well many Hindus converted to Islam.
  • Before the Arab conquest the people were fed up with the teachings of Buddhists and Hindus.
  • The foundation of the Hindu setup was based on injustice and cruelty.
  • The Hindus who had always been opportunists cooperated with the British.
  • The Hindus used to please the goddess Kali by slaughtering people of other religions.

Class VII

  • Some Jewish tribes also lived in Arabia. They lent money to workers and peasants on high rates of interest and usurped their earnings. They held the whole society in their tight grip because of the ever-increasing compound interest.
  • History has no parallel to the extremely kind treatment of the Christians by the Muslims. Still the Christian kingdoms of Europe were constantly trying to gain control of Jerusalem. This was the cause of the Crusades.
  • European nations have been working during the past three centuries, through conspiracies or naked aggression, to subjugate countries of the Muslim world.

    w Hindus always desired to crush the Muslims as a nation. Several attempts were made by the Hindus to erase Muslim culture and civilisation.

  • The Hindus too wished to ruin Muslim civilisation and culture by destroying Urdu which has been closely associated with the Pakistan Movement.

Class VIII

  • During the Khilafat Movement Hindus and Muslims were completely united and like brothers and they started to cooperate and live in peaceful togetherness. But as soon as this movement ended, Hindu hatred of the Muslim re-emerged.
  • Before Islam people lived in untold misery all over the world.

Class IX

  • The Hindus and the Muslims…could not amalgamate each other’s way of life to become one nation. The main reason for this difference of cultures, civilisation and outlook was the religion of Islam which cannot be assimilated in any other system as it is based on the principle of…oneness of God….On the other hand, Hinduism is based on the concept of multiple Gods….There lies the difference between the Hindu and Muslim way of thinking.
  • In connivance with the (British) government the Hindus started communal riots and caused loss of life and property. At the time of prayers the Hindus tortured the Muslims by playing music in front of the mosques. Before the commencement of classes the students saluted the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi and Muslim students were also forced to do so.
  • Muslims promoted equality and social justice as against the division (created by) the (Hindu) caste system.

Class X

  • (The ideology of) Pakistan…was a revolt against the prevailing system of India in which Hindu nationalism was imposed on the Muslims….
  • Islam gives a message of peace and brotherhood…. There is no such concept in Hinduism. Moreover Islam preaches brotherhood, equality and justice…. On the other hand, the Hindu society is based on caste system which downgrades the entire mankind.
  • After the establishment of Pakistan the Hindus and Sikhs created a day of doom for the Muslims in East Punjab.
  • The Hindus were encouraged by the (British) government to force the Muslims to join the Congress.


(These extracts have been translated from Urdu which is the standard medium of instruction in government