The empowerment of terror in Pakistan has not happened overnight. This is the logical culmination of the politics and policies pursued by Pakistan for years now. Terrorism in Pakistan has its roots in the culture of hate and the ethos of inequality on the ground of religious faith, leading to their being deeply ingrained in the Pakistani psyche and mindset.
One factor that has played a crucial role in creating this culture of hate is the educational policy of the government of Pakistan pursued since 1977. The officially prescribed textbooks, especially for school students, are full of references that promote hate against India in general, and Hindus in particular.
A cursory glance at Pakistani school textbooks - especially the compulsory subjects like Pakistan studies and social studies - gives an idea of how history has been distorted and a garbled version prescribed to build this mindset and attitude.
The objective of Pakistan's education policy has been defined thus in the preface to a Class 6 book: "Social studies have been given special importance in educational policy so that Pakistan's basic ideology assumes the shape of a way of life, its practical enforcement is assured, the concept of social uniformity adopts a practical form and the whole personality of the individual is developed." This statement leaves no doubt that "social uniformity", not national unity, is a part of Pakistan's basic ideology.
The Class 5 book has this original discovery about Hindu help to bring British rule to India: "The British had the objective to take over India and to achieve this, they made Hindus join them and Hindus were very glad to side with the British. After capturing the subcontinent, the British began on the one hand the loot of all things produced in this area, and on the other, in conjunction with Hindus, to greatly suppress the Muslims."
The Std VIII book says, "Their (Muslim saints) teachings dispelled many superstitions of the Hindus and reformed their bad practices. Thereby Hindu religion of the olden times came to an end."
On Indo-Pak wars, the books give detailed descriptions and openly eulogize ‘jihad' and ‘shahadat' and urge students to become ‘mujahids' and martyrs and leave no room for future friendship and cordial relations with India.
According to a Class 5 book, "In 1965, the Pakistani army conquered several areas of India, and when India was on the point of being defeated, she requested the United Nations to arrange a ceasefire. After 1965, India, with the help of Hindus living in East Pakistan, instigated the people living there against the people of West Pakistan, and finally invaded East Pakistan in December 1971. The conspiracy resulted in the separation of East Pakistan from us. All of us should receive military training and be prepared to fight the enemy."
The book prescribed for higher secondary students makes no mention of the uprising in East Pakistan in 1971 or the surrender by more than 90,000 Pakistani soldiers. Instead, it claims, "In the 1971 India-Pakistan war, the Pakistan armed forces created new records of bravery and the Indian forces were defeated everywhere.
" The students of Class 3 are taught that "Muhammad Ali (Jinnah) felt that Hindus wanted to make Muslims their slaves and since he hated slavery, he left the Congress". At another place it says, "The Congress was actually a party of Hindus. Muslims felt that after getting freedom, Hindus would make them their slaves."
And this great historic discovery is taught to Std V students, "Previously, India was part of Pakistan."
Commenting on this literature that spreads hate, leading Pakistani educationist Tariq Rahman wrote, "It is a fact that the textbooks cannot mention Hindus without calling them cunning, scheming, deceptive or something equally insulting. Students are taught and made to believe that Pakistan needs strong and aggressive policies against India or else Pakistan will be annihilated by it."
(The author is a former Union minister of India)