Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tribute to K.K. Aziz: A Great historian of Pakistan.

Khurshid Kamal Aziz 1927-2009

LAHORE: Renowned historian K.K. Aziz passed away in a Lahore hospital on Wednesday at the age of 81. Khurshid Kamal Aziz was an outstanding historian and a prolific writer. He authored a large number of books that opened up angles on history and culture sought to be concealed by official chroniclers. Quite aptly, one of his famous works is titled ‘The Murder of History’. K.K. Aziz’s was an expansive canvas and while he has to his credit books such as ‘History of the Partition of India’, ‘The Meaning of Islamic Art: An annotated bibliography’ and ‘Public Life in Muslim India: 1850-1947’, he also came up with volumes on some important individuals who helped shape history in the subcontinent at critical junctures – among them Sir Agha Khan III and Chaudhry Rehmat Ali. Historian K.K. Aziz dead Thursday, 16 Jul, 2009 06:03 AM PST

FOR K. K. AZIZ by F S Aijazuddin

I would like to thank you all for being here today to honour one of our most distinguished historians, K.K. Aziz sahib. On 11 December, yesterday, Mr Aziz completed his first eighty years. God grant him a multiple of those eighty years, but may they be peaceful and healthy for him. When I approached Shamim Khan sahib over a month ago to host this function, he generously agreed to do so without a murmur, for he recognized, as many of you today must do, the enormous contribution K.K. has made to our lives, and more significantly to the minds of our children. KK’s books have become text-books in our schools and colleges. As all of you know, they provide an invisible, invaluable and entirely beneficial influence in the impressionable minds of those who need to recognize the gridlines of history. KK’s life has been a labour of love – love of the written word, a love of literature, a love for history, and a premature love for an anonymous readership that is yet to be born. For who else but someone with an eye to the future would have authored more than thirty-five books, and yet have unfinished manuscripts queuing for his attention? For those of you who have not read KK’s autobiography of his first twenty-one years from his birth in 1927 until 1948, I earnestly advise you to do so. It is more than 700 pages of prose. It is an extended sonnet to love. The first is the love that his parents had for this seventh son – the only one to survive beyond the first three years. No wonder they doted on him. The second is the love his father had for history and literature. His father Abdul Aziz himself fell in love with Heer after hearing a rendition of Waris Shah’s lyrical poem. He remained devoted to her for the next thirty years, collecting every known manuscript and version he could find. He spent three days of a week on Heer and the other three days researching on the other love of his life – the Mughals. As a student myself, I searched for his books on the Mughal Court, its Arms and Armour, and Jewellery, without realizing that I would meet him years later through his son. Who does not love their own mother? Few sons can express that filial love as tenderly as KK does in his autobiography: “Her face is so vivid in my memory as if it was painted on the inside of my eyelids.” Another enduring love that has stayed with KK has been his love for the town of Batala. Only he knows why he cares so deeply for it, which is why he went there last year to relive old memories. I could continue and talk about KK’s years at FC College or the thirteen years he spent at Government College between 1944 and 1957. However, what is much more important and symbolic of that relationship is the presence here today of persons from both those institutions. When I was arranging this function, I asked myself: “What could one give as a birthday present to someone who has given so much of himself to others for the past eighty years?” I found a clue in his autobiography. “Next to Sirajuddin,” KK writes, “the most inspiring teacher whose class I attended was Sufi Ghulam Mustafa Tabassum.” So here today, KK, is a Persian Lughat that once belonged to Soofi sahib. I found it on the footpath in Anarkali one Sunday morning. I opened it and saw Soofi sahib’s signature, dated April 1930. So, with your permission, may I on behalf of all of us present this book that once belonged to your favorite teacher to your favourite alma mater, to the Library of Government College University in your honour? It is an inadequate expression of the love that all of us have for you, and an insufficient symbol of the contribution you yourself have made to enrich our lives by your presence amongst us. SPEECH FOR K.K. AZIZ, [AITCHISON COLLEGE, LAHORE, 12DECEMBER 2007] http://www.fsaijazuddin.pk/SpeechesDetailsFull.aspx?op=E&NewsID=7


Sartaj Aziz, former finance minister, said the research done by K.K. Aziz was an asset of Pakistan. He said regretfully that the writer of 44 books had died in state of misery in Pakistan, adding, in future, the same story would not be repeated and the government would help his family financially and make a committee to publish his half-finished works. Dr Hassan Askari Rizvi said he was introduced to K.K Aziz as a book of civics, which he studied in Intermediate, was written by the great historian. He said that K.K. Aziz was an isolationist and used to talk with reference and confidence. He added that he emphasized on the research and that was why most of his life passed in the India Office Library. Khalid Ahmed, consulting editor of a daily English language newspaper, said that Dr K.K. Aziz was a born historian. He said they could never find an error in his writings because he was very keen and touchy about his writings. Tribute to Dr Aziz Wednesday, July 22, 2009 By Our Correspondent http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=189347

Journalist Khaled Ahmed said Aziz was a great historian, but he never found a good publisher. In his book ‘Murder of History’ he explained how history had been inaccurately described. He understood the fact that the nation did not have correct historical awareness and wrote this book also “to reprimand his pervious mistakes he committed while writing history”. Khaled Ahmed recalled him as a very practical person. “Aziz returned the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz as he did not compromise on principles. Benazir Bhutto appointed him in the Pakistani High Commission in Britain where he purposely went to complete his books. Later, he was expelled from the commission. He, however, stayed in England and a Ravians Society in London funded him for three years to complete his various writing projects.” He who strove to set record straight Wednesday, 22 Jul, 2009 07:10 AM PST http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/national/he-who-strove-to-set-record-straight-279

History taught in Pakistan challenged

Times Of India Wednesday 3 February 1999

ISLAMABAD: Punjab Education Minister Brigadier (retd) Zulfikar Ahmed Dhillon has challenged the history taught in Pakistan's educational institutions by arguing that no Muslim shed even a drop of blood in the struggle against the British for the creation of Pakistan. Brig Dhillon made this statement during his Presidential address in Lahore at a recent meeting of an organisation comprising those who participated in the Pakistan movement.

``We say we fought for the creation of Pakistan, but I say only one person, Quaid-e-Azam (Mohammad Ali Jinnah), worked for it ... No Muslim shed a drop of his blood for this,'' he said. ``We became Muslims just because of our hatred for Hindus,'' he told his enraged listeners. This is the first observation of its kind at a time when frenzied movements are in progress for the promulgation of the Shariat Law in Pakistan. The Urdu daily Jang, which reported the incident, also carried an article the following day on late Pakhtun leader Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan's sacrifices for India's independence along with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Scholars in Pakistan have regretted what is being taught in schools and colleges in the name of history. A few years ago a book entitled ``The Murder Of History'' by K K Aziz said, ``in Pakistani schools and colleges what is being taught as history is really national mythology, and the subjects of social studies and Pakistan studies are nothing but vehicles of political indoctrination.''(UNI)

These extracts from the great Prof K.K. Aziz's book, I thought some of you might find them interesting.

Taken from Dr. K.K. Aziz , The Murder of History in Pakistan.

Culture and Inferiority Complex

The double claim that the people of the UP were in the forefront of the struggle for the creation of Pakistan and that their culture is the source or foster-mother of Pakistani culture has produced problems of identity for the indigenous population of Pakistan. Space does not permit a full treament of its impact other various provinces taken sperarately. I will concentrate on the Punjab as a case-study because I am more familiar with it.

The mind of the largest province of the country has been put to total confusion by the following factors born of the claim:

1: An inferiority complex of the severest kind has struck the Punjabi. he is told that his own role in the freedom movement was marginal and inappreciable. For many years he had supported the Unionist Party, which was an enemy of the Muslim League and an obstacle in the path to leading to independence, he voted for the partition only in 1946. Therefore he was a latecommer to the ranks of the patriots. He was a laggard, and should be made aware of it. His own culture is also inferior, and the better parts of it borrowed from Delhi and United Provinces. He sided with the Urdas in rejecting the Bengali as a national language; when the concession was made with great reluctance, he mourned it loudly in company with them. In doing so, he made bitter enemies of the people of East Pakistan, but he did not care.

2: By accepting Urdu in his schools, literature, journalism and everyday life he let down his own toungue be thrown on the dunghill of history. By supporting the cause of Urdu in Sind he alienated the Sindhis who then bracketed him with the Urda usurpers of their province.

3: By failing to challenge the Urda claim of the superiority of the U.P. culture he made a confession that he had no culture of his own, thus disowning his own past and its contribution to this life.

4: In politics he was very happy to make common cause with the Urda-dominated federal government in (a) creatin the ONE Unit of West Pakistan, thus angering Sind, Balushistan and NWFP. (b) allowing the identity of his own province to be lost, and (c) lending support to the rest of of West Pakistan in opposition to East Pakistan (the raison d'etre of the One Unit scheme). By thus playing into Urda hands, he made two grievous mistakes: he made the Bengalis look at him as their chief enemy, and, as the largest component of the West Pakistan province, dominated the smaler partners and alienated their sympathies. In sum he made himself thoroughly un-popular with every other group in the country to please the tiny 3 percent (1950s' figure) Urda population.

5: By continuing to concentrate on producing Urdu literature, he denied the Punjabi language a chance to revive itself, thus sending a message to the urduas that he was at one with them in rejecting Punjabi as a respectable language and considering Punjabi literature as something unworthy and low.

This self-abnegaion is probably unique in the history of the nations anywhere. but was it self-abnegation? I can see no element of denial or self-sacrifice in it. The Punjabi did what he did with pleasure, confidence, pride, almost glee. He went further than any other Pakistani group in adopting Urdu as his everday spoken tongue, even at his home. There was no compulsion for the change. The pathan student studied through Urdu-medium but spoke Pashto at home. The Sindhi went to Urdu-medium schools but stuck to own language in his domestic and social life. The argument that Urdu-medium schooling results in Urdu speaking home life is a false one. The Punjabi had gone to Urdu-medium schools since 1855 but had not made hismelf Urdu-speaking. The trend started in the 1960's under political pressure from Karachi and Islamabad and because the anti-Bengali feeling in which the Punjabi decided to support the Urdas. Yet his decision was made of his own free will and without demur.

He chose Urdu becasue he was convinced that his own culture was either inferior or non-existent. The proaganda which had its beginnings with M. Hussain Azad and Altaf Hali and others brought to the Punjab by the British to found the province's school system now bore fruit. A century of insidious effort had not gone waste. but by thus flattering the Urdas the Punjabi intelligentsia ensured the demise of their native tongue which their fathers and forefathers had spoken for over a thousand years.

The Punjabi was happy at the thought that, owning Urdu as his language, he added one more weapon to his armory of domination over the rest of Pakistan. he already enjoyed an unalterable majority in the population of the country, an overbearing majority in the national army, and an unchallengable majority in the civil service. With the urdu language in his pocket his victory was complete(though he had put himself in the pokcet of th Urdas; but preferred to shut his eyes to this reality). Now he also became the dominant linguistic and cultural group in the land. Did he realize that his victory was engineered by people who looked at him with overt and deep contempt and, in private conversation, called him a Punjabi Dhagha (ox; a symbol of stupidity)? It did not matter. He had at least been accepted as a civilized person speaking the "national" language. It did not occur to him that he had achieved "respectibility" by alienating himself from his own history and culture. I suggest that he reckons the price he has paid, even if the account is made up in Urdu.

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