Daily Archives: July 10, 2008

History is Not a Farce: The NWFP Referendum

Pak Tea House’s contributor Yasser Latif Hamdani has been posting articles on the Pakhtuns and NWFP province. In response to his latest piece, Shaheryar Ali, looks back at the NWFP referendum held in 1947 and presents an alternative view- We welcome myriad points of view at this forum only to ensure that history’s linearity and constructed versions are unpacked for a better understanding of the past and the present. (Raza Rumi-ed)

“History is the memory of states,” wrote Henry Kissinger in his first book, A World Restored, in which he proceeded to tell the history of nineteenth-century Europe from the viewpoint of the leaders of Austria and England, ignoring the millions who suffered from those statesmen’s policies. From his standpoint, the “peace” that Europe had before the French Revolution was “restored” by the diplomacy of a few national leaders. But for factory workers in England, farmers in France, colored people in Asia and Africa, women and children everywhere except in the upper classes, it was a world of conquest, violence, hunger, exploitation-a world not restored but disintegrated.
My viewpoint, in telling the history of the United States, is different: that we must not accept the memory of states as our own. Nations are not communities and never have been, The history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of interest (sometimes exploding, most often repressed) between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex. And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners”

Howard Zinn

This is my favorite passage from one of my favorite books, “A Peoples History of United States”. Pakhtoon territory has been a victim of this “statist” history which has served to further the imperialist goals in this region. First British Empire used it to divide Pakhtoons, and later, American Imperialism adopted the same policy.

Under the British, a vast scholarship appeared on Pakhtoons which to this day is serving its purpose. All such scholarship must be re-examined under light of Edward Said’s “Orientalism”.

What happened in Pakhtoonkhawa is not the memory of State, its lament of a people, those who  are the  direct victims  o f two imperialist powers, and whose case, history, sociology, anthropology all acted in the same as Edward Said says, in aid of the White Man.

History is Not a farce

A fellow writers at the Pak Tea House has started this beautifully crafted series of articles on Pakhtoonkhawa, this latest article on the referendum. It demands a response. The article presents a partial, unilateral  view. Over time, in the mainstream discourse, the official position of the democratic representatives of the area has been largely ignored and colonial version of history along with Muslem league’s view point have been projected.

I would indicate here the position of Khudai Khidmatgars , the precursors of NAP and ANP to balance the issue – Continue reading

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Filed under Colonialism, History, North-West Frontier Province, Peshawar