History Is Who We Are And Why We Are The Way We Are.”

David McCullough

In today’s Treat For History Buffs we will dive deep.

A nation cannot keep its journey well on the roads of the future without acclaiming any roots in the history of its origin. The very word history means an inquiry into the past, former, quondam, olden, bygone and days of yore particular to any culture, tradition or civilization. It marks the present identity of nationals based on the past experiences and preceding records of its predecessors.

According to the world map, a South Asian dweller is a representative of the then Indian Subcontinent and now –“ Pakistan and India” with its adjoining areas of  Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka.  Specifically, the literature on Pakistan history explores the chronicles of antiquity about Pakistani history, antecedents about Pakistan old times, the backstory of Pakistan history with India and other adjoining states, the historical facts about Pakistan’s political saga of past times.

As all history lovers are Herodotus by their very nature, so, this piece of writing is a feast for those book nerds who dive deeper into the genre of historical reads. This aforementioned books about past and on history will serve the purpose of understanding Pakistan’s history in a broader spectrum of its independence movement, Constitutional politics and its foreign policy with the adjoining neighbour and regional countries.

In a nutshell, the knowledge of these historical events will help the readers to interpret the present politics of international relations within a particular context of Pakistan.

History never looks like history when you are living through it.


Freedom  At Midnight ” by “Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre

13 Books as a Treat For History Buffs to know the Subcontinent

“Freedom  At Midnight ” by “Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre ” is a detailed and vivid  canvas mapping of Indian Independence Movement.

The details of the struggle of Moslems and Hindus from the  British colonizers are awe-inspiring.

It represents the history of making of Pakistan and India on the world map. The character description of Mohandas Gandhi, Louis Mountbatten, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Pandit Nehru is up to mark.

Moreover, the writing style is spell bounded and is a real splendour.

Breaking the Curfew by Emma Duncan

13 Books as a Treat For History Buffs to know the Subcontinent

“Breaking the Curfew ” by “Emma Duncan” is a political journey through Pakistan; It is a rich account full of lively dialogue.

Being an economist and journalist Emma Duncan has spent eight months in Pakistan in order to analyse Pakistani society.

She has attended Benazir Bhutto’s wedding, has interviewed General Zia, drunk whisky with Army officers under threat from the fundamentalists, has discussed democracy with tribal chiefs and the crime rate in Karachi with politicians.

The result is a fascinating, first-hand portrait of a restless and exciting country on the brink of too many possible futures.

In short, It unveils the interesting facts about Pakistan history.

Pakistan -A Hard Country ” by “AnatolLieven

13 Books as a Treat For History Buffs to know the Subcontinent

Pakistan -A Hard Country ” by “AnatolLieven ” provides the reader with a real texture of the multidimensional nature of Pakistan’s people.

It is by far the most insightful survey of Pakistan -a superb blend of analysis, history and reporting.

This book ponders on the following: Land, People and History of Pakistan, Structures of Pakistan, The Provinces of Pakistan, The Taliban in Pakistan.

It discusses political, economical, religious, social, regional, ethnic, tribal, foreign policy issues of Pakistan.

This book is one in all as it highlights about the past history of Pakistan with its special reference to India’s rivalry.

PAKISTAN -At the Helm” by “TilakDevasher

13 Books as a Treat For History Buffs to know the Subcontinent

“PAKISTAN -At the Helm” by “TilakDevasher” is a book with an analytical collection of anecdotes, vignettes and incidents selected from Pakistan’s history of last seven decades.

It gives fascinating insights into the personalities of the rulers and inlets why most of them fell from power and in the estimation of the people.

This book provides a riveting glimpse into the history of Pakistan through the prism of anecdotes about those who have been at the helm, starting from Mohammad Ali Jinnah (1947) up to the recent government of Nawaz Sharif(2016).

It is a manual to the power politics of Pakistan depicting the regime changes from Martial laws of dictators to the Democratic governments of autocrats and businessmen  cum politicians.

Pakistan courting the Abyss

13 Books as a Treat For History Buffs to know the Subcontinent

“Pakistan courting the Abyss ” by “Tilak  Devasher” is full of facts that cannot be ignored by Pakistanis or the rest of the world.

This book explains how and why Pakistan often finds itself on the brink.

It examines issues like an identity crisis, looming water crisis, the perilous state of education and the economic meltdown.

It looks back at the Pakistan movement, where the seeds of many current problems have been sown and among these,  the opportune role of religion is the major one.

This is a true A Cicerone’s Treat For History Buffs for all people out there.

Trek to Pakistan” by “Ahmad Saeed”

13 Books as a Treat For History Buffs to know the Subcontinent

“Trek to Pakistan” by “Ahmad Saeed”  is a historical book that deals with the movement of Pakistan starting from the War of Independence, declining of the Mughal Empire in 1857, the coronation of the British Empire.

Middling from Hindu Muslim riots and skirmishes to the Round table Conferences.

The ending of the journey with the Independence from British rule and separation of Subcontinent into newborn Pakistan and Indian states.

This trek is a journey spanning from 1857 to 1947.


13 Books as a Treat For History Buffs to know the Subcontinent

BEING PAKISTANI ” BY “RAZA RUMI ” is a collection of renowned articles on Pakistani Society, Sufism, Devotion, Literature, Culture, Arts and in the end, there is a  concluding note in the form of the personal essay.

This book is a collective work that portrays a deep history of Pakistani civilization as a whole.

In short, it provides a  cultural and traditional outlook on the history of  Pakistani arts from the lever of its past roots.

Benazir Bhutto-Daughter of the East

“Benazir Bhutto-Daughter of the East ” is an autobiography-cum-Pakistan’s historical anecdote that reveals the easy-going and happy days of Benazir’s childhood and then the political challenges that have become personal tragedies in the life of Benazir Bhutto.

13 Books as a Treat For History Buffs to know the Subcontinent

Starting from the trials of his father, the then prime minister of Pakistan -Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and ended by engulfing the four major lives from Bhutto clan – Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Shah Nawaz Bhutto, Mir Murtaza Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto herself.

It is a life-changing journey that has carved out sober ” Benazir ”  from the childish “pinkie”.This book also provides a deep insight into the historio-political situation of Pakistan from the year 1971 up to  2007.

The most heart-wrenching part is how politics play a role and affect the family life of any leader in Pakistan. Benazir has suffered and survived many hardships after the official death of her father. She has been a prisoner and an exile for many long years of her life.

She has worked dedicatedly for the sake of his late father’s party -Pakistan People Party in order to rejuvenate the blood of democracy in the veins of Pakistan. Benazir has courageously faced and lived the dictatorship era of Zia ul Haq. It is an account of a brave woman and her struggle to maintain freedom in the face of savage repression.

In short, it explicitly portrays the spirit and fervour of PPP’s workers and their sacrifices during the martial law regimes. It is a grand memoir that unpins the history of Pakistan from a personal point of view of a renowned Pakistani leader and the late prime minister as well.

City of my heart

13 Books as a Treat For History Buffs to know the Subcontinent

This book sketches the glorious details about the historical lives of Delhi royals, prince and princess during the reign of Bahadur Shah Zafar.

This book is the past archival memory of yesteryears of Pakistan’s ancestral forefathers.  It mentions the culture and tradition of the then Delhi where every day brings a new joy and peace is the only hallmark of that time. Every month has its own festivals and similar is for every season.

The visionary is enriched with great flavours and hues. Egg fight is the most portable of all the games. Henna, Pan and hookah are the mandatory items for every person.

It is the very time where Hindus and Muslims have lived and celebrated together and there has been a bonhomie bond between them.

It is the very time of apogee when Delhi has been a Greece in knowledge and the arts and a Japan in its delicacy of thoughts and love for nature.

The situation gets twisted with the settlement of East India Company and the  Mughal Empire falls with the mutiny of 1857. This war of Independence has left Delhi in ruins. The monarchy and its descendants have faced misery and ill-luck by becoming beggars in the very Delhi they have ruled once. It can be summed up as :

“Jahanabad (Delhi) never deserved this tyranny
As it was once the heart of lovers,many

It has been erased like a wrong letter by destiny
It was one such shore in the ocean of the world
From whose dust people used to pick pearls.

Treat For History Buffs is indeed incomplete without this book.

Vying For Allah’s Vote

13 Books as a Treat For History Buffs to know the Subcontinent

“Vying For Allah’s Vote” by Haroon K. Ullah is a historical book about Pakistan in order to understand Islamic parties, Political violence and extremism in Pakistan.

It traces the historical roots about how religion, politics and policy are inextricably linked in Pakistan. 

It also sheds light on the politics of other Muslim-majority democracies such as Egypt and Tunisia, where Islamic political parties have recently won elections.

This book mentions the history of Pakistan from the context of Islam and democracy in Pakistan, Islamic parties in the history of Pakistan and the records of Pakistan’s political strategy and its foreign policy implications on the regional and international level.

A Cicerone’s Treat For History Buffs is a true hint to past.

Pakistan Paradox –Instability and Resilience” by Christophe

13 Books as a Treat For History Buffs to know the Subcontinent

“Pakistan Paradox –Instability and Resilience” by Christophe Jafferlot is a definitive history of democracy in Pakistan and its survival despite ethnic strife, Islamism and deep-seated elitism.

It is a historical narrative of Pakistan with mandatory analysis of its relationship with India that discusses the facts about three wars, three constitutions and three coups.

It mentions in detail about the past history of origins of  Indian Muslim separatism, the crushing of 1857 revolt and Muslim hood as a communal ideology and creation of Pakistan.

Stillborn federalism and the unresolved ethnolinguistic issues. It discusses in detail the mythology of Pakistan’s history, present and future.

Hybrid Tapestries” by Muneeza Shamsie

13 Books as a Treat For History Buffs to know the Subcontinent

Hybrid Tapestries” by Muneeza Shamsie is an attempt to jot down the history of Pakistani literature in English. 

This book sketches out a detailed analysis of Pakistani writers, who have started writing in English during colonial times and have continued writing in the post-colonial independent state to carve out the extraordinary new talents of Pakistani English writers.

It encounters works of Thirteen writers in both pre and post partitioning Independence movement – AttiyaFyzeeRahamin, SameulFyzeeRahamin, ShahidSuhrawardy, Ahmed Ali, Mumtaz Shahnawaz, Shaista Suhrawardy Ikramullah, Zaib-un-Nissa Hamidullah, Zulfikar Ghose, Taufiq Rafat, Tariq Ali, BapsiSidhwa, Hanifkurreshi and Sara Sulehri. A true Treat For History Buffs indeed.

It is composed of poetry, fiction, drama, short stories and non-fiction works of these writer describing Pakistani English Literature in a mesh network of its social, political and economic history.

Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie

“Burnt Shadows ” by “Kamila Shamsie” is a historical novel that expresses the past events of world war II, Indian Independence movement, creation of Pakistan, history of Pakistani politics, 9/11 event and Pakistani war on terror.

13 Books as a Treat For History Buffs to know the Subcontinent

As the years unravel new homes replace those left behind and old wars are seamlessly usurped by new conflicts. Ashraf and Tanaka move to Pakistan, a newly independent state from the Indian Subcontinent and have their son named Raza.

The only  remains left  are Shadows of history whether personal  or political that  cast  gloomy effect on  different families. Burnt shadows on the souls of war survivors are eternal.The war is same but with every passing  decade  it  modifies with  the  new players on every  front.

Shadows have started burning humans from the time of second world war to  Indian Independence movement then  Pakistan to cold war shedding Afghanistan’s stability and setting the stage for  9/11 events but is still continued. What does this Treat For History Buffs make you feel?

The most lovable lines are as:

A time to recollect  every shadow 

Everything the earth was losing 

A time to think of everything the earth and I had lost 

Of all that I would lose

Of all that I was losing. 

In past wars, only homes burnt  but this time, don’t be surprised if even loneliness ignites.

In past wars, only bodies burnt but this time, don’t be surprised if even shadows ignite.

“History Is Who We Are And Why We Are The Way We Are.”

David McCullough

What did you learn in today’s Treat For History Buffs we just had?

Staff Writer: Iqra Aziz

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