KARACHI, May 28: Speakers at the launching ceremony of three books authored by renowned historiographer Dr Mubarak Ali said such books exclusively written for younger minds would play a constructive role to enlighten the youth.
“Dr Mubarak Ali’s books for our young contemporaries would inform them of the true picture of our history because unlike many others Dr Mubarak writes of and for ordinary people and not for the kings,” Prof S.M. Naseer said in his keynote speech after performing the launch of the trilogy.
The trilogy comprises ‘Qadeem Hindustan’ (Ancient India), ‘Ahd-i-Wusta ka Hindustan’ (India of the Middle Ages) and ‘Bartanvi Hindustan’ (British India) published jointly by ActionAid, an NGO, and the Fiction House.
Prof Naseer went through the anomalies and conflicts associated with the history literature written in the past and said Dr Ali was trying to take truth out of all the evidence, available archives and archaeological facts.
Dr Mubarak Ali said the trilogy on the three-thousand-year history of India was the sequel to his earlier books that he had written on the Three-Age System for his young readers.
“The state normally controls the curricula and devises its own system to develop a mindset suitable to its ideology and when this happens in an ideological state like Pakistan, the task of writing unbiased history for the youth becomes even more difficult,” said Dr Ali.
“Such an effort to produce parallel literature to depict the true picture will certainly yield positive results,” he said, adding, a large number of individuals and organisations helped him in accomplishing the task.
He said the Pakistani curricula did not contain any citation about Ashoka the Great, whose reign witnessed peace and religious harmony. The subcontinent had to wait for many centuries till the Mughals form their dynasty.
He gave citations about some of the orders and actions taken by King Babur, particularly Akbar the Great who played a great deal in keeping religious harmony intact across the vast territory under their command.
“Ironically, it was the British who destroyed the harmony and sowed the seeds of hatred among Hindus and Muslims as the Mughals’ policy of religious harmony continued to be applied despite all sorts of hiccups till Bahadur Shah Zafar,” he said.
Dr Jaffer Ahmed, Director of the Pakistan Studies Centre of the University of Karachi, said intellectuals like Dr Mubarak Ali, who searched for the truth against the tide put in motion by the ruling establishment, usually became marginalised in society as it was evident from people like Noam Chomsky in the United States, yet they proved their mettle and carved out their niche and inspired people.
“He diverted the focus of history from the kings to the people, culture, traditions, chores, customs, education and health facilities and made people realise how vast the scope of history can be,” said Dr Ahmed.
Hussain bin Khamis said usually history suffered lack of credibility and history could become a harbinger of change if it was freed from the beliefs associated with its authors. He said Dr Ali had tried his best to maintain objectivity in presenting a true picture of the past.
Prof Nargis Rasheed of the history department of the University of Karachi, Hammad Ahmad of ActionAid, Ayub Malik and Prof Tauseef Ahmed Khan also spoke.