Few days back, a new book has become a part of my small library with title The Indus Saga and the Making of Pakistan;
“Is the Pakistani an Arab? Or an Indian? Or something of both? Or neither? Are his origins entirely central Asian? What influence has he imbibed from Persia? How is he different from the Europeans who ruled him for almost one hundred years? Does he have a distinct personality or culture of his own? If so, for how long has he had this distinctiveness? Was it first created by the Partition of the sub-continent in August 1947, or did it pre-exist the Partition of 1947?’ These are the questions with which Aitzaz Ahsan starts his book titled, ‘The Indus Saga and the Making of Pakistan.
The book is divided into three parts: Part I: The Two Regions, compares and contrasts the Indus Valley region (present-day Pakistan) and Ganga Valley region (present-day India) from the time period of 2000 BC to AD 1800.
Part II: The Two Worlds, covers the two regions from AD 1600 to 1857.
Part III: The Two Nations, covers the timeframe of AD 1757 to 1947.
Without a doubt, the first part is the most interesting. This part is worth reading, even on its own, to get a clear understanding of the history of the provinces of Punjab and NWFP, from the point of view of a native religiously-agnostic Indus point of view. The second part covers the decline of the Muslim rule and the rise of the British Raj. While Part III primarily concentrates on the efforts of the Congress and Muslim League leaders in creating India and Pakistan.