How History Books Differ in India and Pakistan
History is kind to those who write it  – India and Pakistan, both would know. (Photo: Reuters) 
History is kind to those who write it – India and Pakistan, both would know. (Photo: Reuters) 

How History Books Differ in India and Pakistan

We thought it would be interesting to see what school history textbooks in India and Pakistan have to say about the same events.

The Partition

Muslim refugees sit on the roof of a railway coach near New Delhi trying to flee India. (Photo: AP)
Muslim refugees sit on the roof of a railway coach near New Delhi trying to flee India. (Photo: AP)

If there is one event that is bound to have different interpretations, it would have to be the partition in 1947. Textbooks from across the border suggest that there was a real and imminent danger of the subjugation of the Muslim population.

Here is what a Class 12 NCERT History textbook in India says about the partition.

1947 Partition Riots

A Pakistani School boy reads a passage from his book. (Photo: Reuters)
A Pakistani School boy reads a passage from his book. (Photo: Reuters)

In the riots that preceded the partition, between 2,00,000 to 500,000 people were killed on both sides of the newly drawn border. A textbook in Pakistan, however, blames Indians for all the atrocities during the partition.

The 12th standard Indian NCERT book questions killings on both sides.

The War of 1965

Girls ar a government school in Peshawar. (Photo: Reuters) 
Girls ar a government school in Peshawar. (Photo: Reuters) 

Both countries claim to have won the 1965 war. The hostilities between the two countries, however, ended after a ceasefire was declared through diplomatic intervention by the Soviet Union and US and the subsequent Tashkent Declaration.

A Pakistani text book, however, says India “begged” for mercy and “ran to the United Nations” for help, according to Dawn.

The Indian school textbook, obviously, has a different version.

The War of 1971

An Indian school girl reads her book inside her class at a government-run school. (Photo: Reuters)
An Indian school girl reads her book inside her class at a government-run school. (Photo: Reuters)

Bangladesh won its independence from Pakistan with the Bangladesh Liberation War. Full scale war between India and Pakistan was declared 8 months after Pakistan’s brutal crackdown against dissenters.

Pakistan’s narrative of the creation of Bangladesh blames India for “instigating” the dissenters. There is little or no mention in the textbooks of the recorded brutalities in 1971.

Indian school text books claim it did nothing more than extend support to a “freedom struggle”.

It is unlikely that both nations will ever look at history from the same perspective though that may be a crucial step towards any intended reconciliation between India and Pakistan.

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