Manufacturing Enemy: The Presentation of India in Pakistani Textbooks

  • Dhananjay Tripathi
Part of the Education Innovation Series book series (EDIN)


The complexity of India–Pakistan relations is epitomized by the fact that, despite sharing a common colonial past and, to a large extent, culture and language, the two countries are considered by many to be archrivals. The United India under British colonial rule was partitioned in 1947 along communal lines, giving birth to Pakistan. Since then, Pakistan has remained committed to creating a distinct identity for itself while relinquishing its obvious historical links to the United India. These efforts are made primarily to justify partition. Unfortunately, in this political process, Pakistan has purposely targeted school education. This was quite evident after the 1960s, as the consecutive military regimes of Pakistan endorsed fabricated representations of India in school textbooks. Today, these attempts to give inaccurate information for political ends continue and can be seen in the distortion of historical facts in Pakistani textbooks. Textbooks teaching about other cultures, despite their tendency to be one-sided, constitute a form of cultural and educational exchange in and of themselves. Moreover, the histories shared in textbooks – as inaccurate or politicized as they may be – form the basis of cross-cultural knowledge among the population and have an immense influence on local perceptions of other societies. These impacts are all the more relevant when teaching about the histories and cultures of rival societies whose histories are tightly interlinked. In Pakistan, textbooks support the political agenda of the state by manufacturing an enemy in the minds of Pakistani youth. This chapter discusses in detail these issues pertaining to Pakistani textbooks by giving relevant examples from those textbooks. The chapter also raises questions about the inadequate engagement of Indian textbooks with the partition of 1947. In short, India fails to properly sensitize the students about the partition. Thus, there is a scope for others to create a negative impression about Pakistan in India, particularly among the youth. The chapter argues that much of the cultural and educational exchange between the two countries is limited to one-sided and inaccurate historical accounts about their rivals and supports changes in the school textbooks of both Pakistan and India in order to achieve a durable peace in South Asia.



The author would like to thank the Georg Eckert Institute (GEI) in Germany for offering 1-month residential fellowship. The GEI library has an excellent collection of textbooks, and the author accessed some old Pakistani textbooks there that are referred in this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dhananjay Tripathi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of International RelationsSouth Asian UniversityNew DelhiIndia

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