A Short History of Pakistan

A Short History of Pakistan

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A Short History of Pakistan is an edited book published by University of Karachi Press and comprises four volumes. The book is edited by Prof Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi
Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi
Prof. Dr. Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi SP, HI was a noted historian, educationist and scholar of Pakistan as well as a prolific writer. He is regarded as the founding member of Muqtadra Qaumi Zaban and served as the first education minister of Pakistan...

 and provides a comprehensive account of the history of the Pakistan region
Historical regions of Pakistan
The former administrative units of Pakistan are states, provinces and territories which mainly existed between 1947 and 1975 when the current provinces and territories were established. The former units have no administrative function today but some remain as historical and cultural legacies...

 and its people from the prehistory
Prehistory
Prehistory is the span of time before recorded history. Prehistory can refer to the period of human existence before the availability of those written records with which recorded history begins. More broadly, it refers to all the time preceding human existence and the invention of writing...

 leading to the creation of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

 which then became Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

. Complete set of four volumes are sequentially titled as, Book One: Pre-Muslim Period by Ahmad Hasan Dani
Ahmad Hasan Dani
Professor Ahmad Hasan Dani FRAS, SI, HI , was a Pakistani intellectual, archaeologist, historian, and linguist. He was among the foremost authorities on Central Asian and South Asian archaeology and history. He introduced archaeology as a discipline in higher education in Pakistan and Bangladesh...

; Book Two: Muslim Rule under the Sultans by M. Kabir; Book Three: The Mughul Empire by Sh. A. Rashid; and, Book Four: Alien Rule and the Rise of Muslim Nationalism by M. A. Rahim et al.

This book is significant as probably the first serious attempt to paint an overall picture of the early history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 of Pakistan region. Given that the book deals with periods of history prior to the creation of Pakistan, it has been described as, point of fact, a history of the northern part of the entire South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 with special emphasis on the region that presently is Pakistan.
Some of the essays have been criticized by peer reviewers as being insufficiently objective about relations between Indian Muslims, Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

s and the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 political classes.

Preamble


At the preface, I H Qureshi addresses the common question as to whether it is possible to disentangle the history of Pakistan from the history of India. He maintains that although for certain periods Pakistan shares common history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 with modern day India, there are periods of region
Region
Region is most commonly found as a term used in terrestrial and astrophysics sciences also an area, notably among the different sub-disciplines of geography, studied by regional geographers. Regions consist of subregions that contain clusters of like areas that are distinctive by their uniformity...

al history with local significance that were actually dominated by the events outside the South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

, especially in Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 and Iranian plateau
Iranian plateau
The Iranian plateau, or Iranic plateau, is a geological formation in Southwest Asia. It is the part of the Eurasian Plate wedged between the Arabian and Indian plates, situated between the Zagros mountains to the west, the Caspian Sea and the Kopet Dag to the north, the Hormuz Strait and Persian...

. There have also been times when the region
Historical regions of Pakistan
The former administrative units of Pakistan are states, provinces and territories which mainly existed between 1947 and 1975 when the current provinces and territories were established. The former units have no administrative function today but some remain as historical and cultural legacies...

 actually became arbiter of the South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

's historical destiny.

Book One: Pre-Muslim Period by A.H. Dani


Critique by Arthur Llewellyn Basham
Arthur Llewellyn Basham
Professor Arthur Llewellyn Basham was a noted historian and indologist and author of a number of books. It is perhaps not a mere coincidence that two of the most renowned living historians of early India, Professors R.S...

:
Author of the first volume, Prof A. H. Dani is not only an expert archaeologist and prehistorian
Prehistory
Prehistory is the span of time before recorded history. Prehistory can refer to the period of human existence before the availability of those written records with which recorded history begins. More broadly, it refers to all the time preceding human existence and the invention of writing...

, but also an able Sanskrit scholar with a very important study of Indian palaeography
Palaeography
Palaeography, also spelt paleography is the study of ancient writing. Included in the discipline is the practice of deciphering, reading, and dating historical manuscripts, and the cultural context of writing, including the methods with which writing and books were produced, and the history of...

 to his credit. Its interest for the non-Pakistani reader lies chiefly in the attempt to find common factors in the ancient culture
Culture of Pakistan
The society and culture of Pakistan comprises numerous diverse cultures and ethnic groups: the Punjabis, Kashmiris, Sindhis in east, Muhajirs, Makrani in the south; Baloch and Pashtun in the west; and the ancient Dardic, Wakhi and Burusho communities in the north...

 of what is now Pakistan. Although a great treasure of ancient Buddhist artefacts
Artifact (archaeology)
An artifact or artefact is "something made or given shape by man, such as a tool or a work of art, esp an object of archaeological interest"...

 is discovered, no significant specimen of Mauryan Empire and Mauryan art is to be found in Pakistan. Gupta Empire also had little influence here. The book has been praised by Basham as "a work which no sensible Pakistani or Indian could object to or accuse of undue prejudice"

Book Two: Muslim Rule under the Sultans by M. Kabir


Critique by Philip B. Calkins: This volume gives a survey of the history of the Sultanate period. After an introductory chapter which describes some of the sources for the history of the period, nine chapters are devoted to an account of the Sultanate, its Muslim antecedents in Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

 and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, and the independent Muslim kingdoms which developed out of it. The final chapter deals with administration, society and culture. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this volume is historiographical rather than historical, since it is part of a series of Pakistan and Muslims since their arrival in the sub-continent. Calkins, calls for a more deeper analysis of the history than presented in this volume. Despite of the apparent image of "the official Pakistani point of view" intended to be used as textbook for undergraduate students, the volume should have been able to offer more for those who desire more rudimentary knowledge of sultanate period. He praises the particular aspect of the book as "historigraphical rather than historical".

Book Three: The Mughal Empire by Sh. A. Rashid


Critique by Fritz Lehman: Given that this book is intended as a textbook for Pakistani undergraduates, Shaikh Ahmed Sarhindi
Ahmad Sirhindi
Imām Rabbānī Shaykh Ahmad al-Farūqī al-Sirhindī was an Indian Islamic scholar from Punjab, a Hanafi jurist, and a prominent member of the Naqshbandī Sufi order. He is described as Mujaddid Alf Thānī, meaning the "reviver of the second millennium", for his work in rejuvenating Islam and opposing...

 predictably appears as the chief preserver of separate Islamic identity in India, yet only a very general and most inadequate description of his ideas and his influence is given. Chapters on Akbar and Aurangzib are the longest and the most revealing. The tone of the book in general is more reasonable and moderate than such earlier publications. Assessment of the Marathas, for example, while unsympathetic is fair to the facts.

Lehman criticizes the volume's implications that Muslims living under "Hindu rule" was "the worst disaster in the history of Islam in South Asia", a view he describes as 'consistent with the Two-Nation Theory
Two-Nation Theory
The Two-Nation Theory proposed by Allama Iqbal is the ideology that the primary identity of Muslims in the Indian subcontinent is their religion, rather than their language or ethnicity, and therefore Indian Hindus and Muslims are two distinct nationalities, regardless of ethnic or other...

', but one that he finds "disquieting".

Book Four: Alien Rule and the Rise of Muslim Nationalism by M. A. Rahim et al.


Critique by Aziz Ahmed: Determination of national identity quite understandably tends to re-evaluation of history. The educator’s job is to make such re-evaluation available to the university student. It needs further analysis whether the Hindu officials of the Bengal Nawwabs conspired with the East India Company because they were Hindus or because, like Muslim officials, they were simply greedy.

Ahmad criticizes this volume as a "warped subjectivity", and the portrayal of British rule in the region as "merely the lesser weakness of Rahim's historical presentation. His greater weakness is a complete lack of objectivity". According to the reviewer, the book's portrays Hindus and the British as "villains" and Muslims as "victims". The further write that the narrative is "dangerous" for it will not guide younger historians in Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 towards proper national self-criticism..

Quotes from the book



Editions

  • Qureshi, I.H., 1967, A Short History of Pakistan. University of Karachi Press. (First edition)
  • Qureshi, I.H., 1984, A Short History of Pakistan. University of Karachi.
  • Qureshi, I.H., 1992, A Short History of Pakistan. University of Karachi
    University of Karachi
    The University of Karachi is a public university located in Karachi, Pakistan. It serves an on-campus student population of more than 24,000. According to the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, it is ranked among the top three universities of the country...

    , pages: 934, Paperback
    Paperback
    Paperback, softback or softcover describe and refer to a book by the nature of its binding. The covers of such books are usually made of paper or paperboard, and are usually held together with glue rather than stitches or staples...

    . ISBN 969-404-008-6

See also

  • History of Pakistan
    History of Pakistan
    The 1st known inhabitants of the modern-day Pakistan region are believed to have been the Soanian , who settled in the Soan Valley and Riwat almost 2 million years ago. Over the next several thousand years, the region would develop into various civilizations like Mehrgarh and the Indus Valley...

  • Lahore Resolution
    Lahore Resolution
    The Lahore Resolution , commonly known as the Pakistan Resolution , was a formal political statement adopted by the Muslim League at the occasion of its three-day general session on 22–24 March 1940 that called for greater Muslim autonomy in British India...

  • Pakistan Movement
    Pakistan Movement
    The Pakistan Movement or Tehrik-e-Pakistan refers to the historical movement to have an independent Muslim state named Pakistan created from the separation of the north-western region of the Indian subcontinent, partitioned within or outside the British Indian Empire. It had its origins in the...

  • Pakistani Currency by Mian Ji - Best website on Pakistani Currency
  • Masood Ashraf Raja
    Masood Ashraf Raja
    Originally from Pakistan, Dr. Masood Ashraf Raja is an Assistant Professor of Postcolonial Literature and Theory at the University of North Texas and the editor of Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies, a journal that he founded in 2009...

    . Constructing Pakistan: Foundational Texts and the Rise of Muslim National Identity, 1857–1947, Oxford 2010, ISBN 978-0-19547811-2