If anyone says that the first citizen of Pakistan was Mohammed bin Qasim, then it would be a question that how the first citizen of the country, which came into existence on August 15, 1947, could be an eighth century invader? Mannan Ahmed, a Pakistani-origin associate professor at Columbia University in his book A Book of Conquest, has tried to solve this problem. This effort begins with understanding the narrator that a newly created nation-state creates to justify its existence. First of all, a theory is formed that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations and cannot live together. But after the formation of Bangladesh in 1971, after it was proved that a nation could not be formed on the basis of religion alone, the need of interpretation was again felt and a group of intellectuals under the leadership of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto became active. The special thing was that there were no Islamic scholars among them,
While listening to the debate on A Book of Conquest, I remembered that during my visit to Karachi a few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Pakistan Studies Department of Karachi University and had a similar situation there. Departments of Pakistan Studies were established in universities during Bhutto’s prime ministership. The main work of these departments was to outline the relationship between Pakistan and Islam and the arguments for the legitimacy of Pakistan as a nation-state. The Head of Department in Karachi was Professor Syed Jafar Ahmed, himself a progressive ideologue and associated with the Pakistan Progressive Writers Association. He invited some teachers and research students of the department to meet me in his room.
For more than two hours, we kept trying to understand when does the history of Pakistan begin? Since August 15, 1947? If this is true, then what will be his relationship with Muyanjodaro and Taxila? Ranjit Singh, the creator of the Golden Age of Punjab, is a part of its history or not? There were many such inconvenient questions, which were better than finding answers, ignore them. Perhaps it was the effect of the head of the department that most of the teachers and students of the department did not seem very confident of tampering with history.
In 711 AD (according to some sources, 712 AD), Mohammed bin Qasim, who defeated King Dahir by marching on Sindh and Multan with the command of the Caliph of Baghdad, got the reality and myth due to the then limitations of historiography- Julie is produced. Furthermore, attempts to use history to legitimize a nation made it more mythical. According to the history textbooks taught in Pakistan, when some Muslim women were going to Mecca to perform Haj by sea, they were looted and misbehaved with them by the Sindhu. When the news reached Baghdad Governor Hajaz bin Yusuf, he sent an army led by his trusted warlord, Mohammed bin Qasim, to punish King Dahir, unable to protect them. Mohammed, aged 17-18, not only defeated King Dahir with his military prowess and bravery, It also laid the foundation of India’s first Muslim state. Although India had already had contact with Islam on the southern seaboards for commercial reasons, it was its first introduction to political Islam.
The historians of Bhutto used this phenomenon to formulate a theory of the creation of a new nation. A few hundred years later, an argument similar to The White Man’s Burden, coined to legitimize British rule, also worked here. It was the duty of the Muslim rulers to help the helpless Muslim women and punish the heathen. It is another matter that Professor Mannan proves using contemporary evidence that there is a gap of about ten years between the brutality of the dacoits with women and the arrival of Mohammed bin Qasim in Sindh. There is also ample evidence that many supporters of the fourth Khalifa Ali had fled to Sindh to escape the oppression of the rulers after their death. The Khalifa sent an army to capture them. The fact is also entangled in the maze of truth and myth that the Khalifa had Mohammed bin Qasim sewn into the buffalo skin. This was probably the result of Baghdad’s power struggles,
After the formation of Bangladesh, the Pakistan Education Council met for the first time in Karachi in 1975 and seriously started making textbooks. It was decided here that Pakistani history began with Muslim Fatah on Sindh. Pakistan invented Mohammed bin Qasim, so that he could invent Pakistan.
The biggest project of the 19th and 20th centuries has been nation building. In the meantime all the nation-states were formed and they all formed their own arguments. Such arguments are often seen going to the shelter of history, but usually urge myths to be considered history. Pakistan is a very new nation-state, long before it was formed, an Indian nation was conceived, whose past was very rich and all the contemporary ugliness there, is the result of the long Muslim rule and the British rule. . It is not unnatural that the Hindutva-centric section of the freedom struggle has been trying to create Hindu heroes like Mohammed bin Qasim in search of a golden past. Unfortunately this effort continues today.