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#BoycottBeaconhouse – Because Our National Pride is Too Damn Fickle

#BoycottBeaconhouse – Because Our National Pride is Too Damn Fickle

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The Beaconhouse School System in Pakistan is under fire – a Twitter fire that is. Why? Because the Twitterati has taken offense to the content of Pakistan Studies course being taught at their institutions under the name of The Educators.

Here are the several contentions being raised. 

And of course because we can’t stick to the subject there is also this:

To sum it up, the online campaign seeks action against Beaconhouse for the specific map of Jammu and Kashmir, which is shown in the confines of the larger Indian border and for the question that seemingly portrays India as winners of 1965 and 1971 wars. The campaign is calling Beaconhouse treasonous for this syllabus and the question within.

The boycott campaign has raised so many questions about the fickle state of our national narrative, which is basically ‘shooketh’ at the slightest bit of inconvenience. 

Are we really going to pretend that 1971 did not happen? Or that rape wasn’t used as a means to show might in 1971? And that rulers of West Pakistan weren’t self-interested in maintaining power for themselves despite the election results warranting an East Pakistan majority in the government? One can go at length to detail how the war was problematic on our part, but why do we have to glorify our own part in the war and teach it to our upcoming generations to aggrandize jingoistic statements. And, let’s not even go into who initiated the 1965 war in terms of the physical skirmishes.

War, essentially, is a terribly foolish way of showing national pride. But if our esteemed public would think even slightly critically, the question on the syllabus actually forces students to ponder over our own lackings and pitfalls. There is nothing more stunting to national growth than the inability of a nation’s people to demand introspection into our collective failures. That inability can only be turned into a strength if we massively revamp the currently jingoistic history syllabi taught in Pakistan’s schools. Literally, no one’s patriotism will be affected by the idea that we too have failed as a nation at times in lieu of India. In fact, it might help us work towards more effective solutions.

Also, Nigel Smith being attacked in all of this. What even?

We don’t necessarily condone the firangi writing out textbooks on the sheer logic that we have a colonial past, but these tweets make absolutely no sense. The pertinent question is: When will we, Pakistanis, make peace with the uncomfortable truths of our own history? Maybe then we can actually write comprehensive books that will be viable for a crucial curriculum.

This textbook is taught as part of the O’Level curriculum, and any school with the program will be teaching the same. So it makes zero sense to just boycott Beaconhouse Schools. How about we all boycott the British Council for conducting the exam, the University of Cambridge for providing the certification, and the Oxford University Press for printing the book. But of course, we can’t do that. Attacking any of these would be too big a fish to fry. For now, we just need to create a ruckus over something trivial that doesn’t do squat in terms of fixing our problems. We have got to stop being so sensitive and be able to analyze the situation for what it is.

Also, a quick side note. The Twitterati have also claimed that this syllabus (one that is derived from the content of the book) is an affront to the ideology of Pakistan and Islam. Now, we understand how Pakistan might factor into the equation, but religion?

We are struggling to draw a parallel here, so if anyone has any thoughts please comment below! 

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