Pakistani history textbooks claim that “traitorous” Hindus are to be blamed for the bloodshed that took place after British India was divided into two nations 70 years ago. The facts in the books are entirely different from what is being taught to the students in India.
17-year-old Noman Afzal, a student at a school in Pakistan’s Punjab province said, “They looked down upon us, that is why we created Pakistan,” as he looks for an answer from his history textbook.
According to experts, the wrong portrayals being peddled in classrooms from New Delhi to Karachi is even obstructing hope of reconciliation between the two neighbouring countries.
Meanwhile, a Mumbai school boy Triaksh Mitra studied that Mahatma Gandhi fought for unified independent India, on the other hand, Muhammad Ali Jinnah (founder of Pakistan) sided with colonial rulers so that they form their own nation.
The difference between text in both the countries can be seen in chapters on Gandhi. In India, he is hailed as “one-man army” for his contribution in the freedom struggle, whereas in Pakistan he hardly finds mention in the textbooks.
Aashish Dhakaan, who teaches History at a Gujarat high school said, “In our history, we won the war, and in their history textbooks, they won the war”.
To compare how historical events are being taught in textbooks in India and Pakistan, Qasim Aslam’s History Project runs sessions in both the countries. “By the time they are 20, it is solidified and stays with them all their lives,” said Aslam.