Harmony and Peace Education in Pakistan: Focus on PCTB Textbooks of History and Pakistan Studies
Textbooks produce specific minds so are believed the best way to promote peace and harmony in a society. Policymakers draw ideological lines for specific goals and educate the coming generations through the contents of the textbooks. Whatever agenda a nation has, peace and social harmony cannot be compromised so syllabi mean to promote nationalism along with integration. Although history and social studies textbooks address coexistence and tolerance but even then many writers share their reservations about some points. K K Aziz (1993) in Pakistan castigated the governments and the textbook authors on ‘distortion’ of the historical events and deleting important segments of history from the syllabi. Mariam Chughtai shared her reservation regarding the textbooks being published in Pakistan. Romila Thapar in India raised objections against the BJP government’s effort of ‘religionising the syllabi’ and tried her best to introduce non-communal approach based on social harmony in the textbooks while writing history books but her effort remained a mere desire because the ‘religiously’ extremist political party occupying the main corridor of the national government and having no compatibility with her ideas refused to accept the undisputed historical facts. Dr. Mubarak Ali opined while writing on the textbooks that ‘defective textbooks create a defective mindset. Ideology limits people from acquiring new knowledge in order to understand the fast changing world’ (Dawn, April 16, 2016). ‘National History’ reflects national point of view to produce a generation who represents some specific land, culture, religion, political ideology, art and social ethics. Children are taught to grow with their own culture, religion and social norms. This study finds that syllabus of the subjects of History and Pakistan Studies produced by the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB) aims at educating the ‘national interpretation of history along with respect for other religious groups’ to the posterity therefore no gaps seem in the textbooks of History and Pakistan Studies. Criticism arises mostly on the old textbooks while the PCTB had revised the textbooks massively and all the historical periods including Indus Valley Civilization, ancient India, Sikh rule, etc. are being taught at the school and college level. The ‘history textbook’ is not a ‘history’ rather it offers interpretation of the historical events.This article further pinpoints some issues such as communal interpretations in the British India, space in the textbooks, administrative, social, political and religious narrations, and the undeniable position on nationalism and patriotism which cannot be overlooked. The textbooks are playing their role in promoting social harmony and this policy has resulted in a coexistence, tolerance and peace in the society.