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Established as a homeland for India's Muslims in 1947, Pakistan has had a tumultuous history that has unfolded in the vortex of dire regional and international conflicts. Beset by assassinations, coups, ethnic strife, and the breakaway of Bangladesh in 1971, the country has found itself too often contending with religious extremism and military authoritarianism. Now, in a Established as a homeland for India's Muslims in 1947, Pakistan has had a tumultuous history that has unfolded in the vortex of dire regional and international conflicts. Beset by assassinations, coups, ethnic strife, and the breakaway of Bangladesh in 1971, the country has found itself too often contending with religious extremism and military authoritarianism. Now, in a probing biography of her native land amid the throes of global change, Ayesha Jalal provides an insider's assessment of how this nuclear-armed Muslim nation evolved as it did and explains why its dilemmas weigh so heavily on prospects for peace in the region. Attentive to Pakistan's external relations as well as its internal dynamics, Jalal shows how the vexed relationship with the United States, border disputes with Afghanistan in the west, and the conflict with India over Kashmir in the east have played into the hands of the generals who purchased security at the cost of strong democratic institutions. Combined with domestic ethnic and regional rivalries, such pressures have created a siege mentality that encourages military domination and militant extremism. Since 9/11, the country has been widely portrayed as a breeding ground for Islamic terrorism. Assessing the threats posed by Al-Qaeda and the Taliban as American troops withdraw from Afghanistan, Jalal contends that the battle for Pakistan's soul is far from over. Her definitive biography reveals how pluralism and democracy continue to struggle for a place in this Muslim homeland, where they are so essential to its future.


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Established as a homeland for India's Muslims in 1947, Pakistan has had a tumultuous history that has unfolded in the vortex of dire regional and international conflicts. Beset by assassinations, coups, ethnic strife, and the breakaway of Bangladesh in 1971, the country has found itself too often contending with religious extremism and military authoritarianism. Now, in a Established as a homeland for India's Muslims in 1947, Pakistan has had a tumultuous history that has unfolded in the vortex of dire regional and international conflicts. Beset by assassinations, coups, ethnic strife, and the breakaway of Bangladesh in 1971, the country has found itself too often contending with religious extremism and military authoritarianism. Now, in a probing biography of her native land amid the throes of global change, Ayesha Jalal provides an insider's assessment of how this nuclear-armed Muslim nation evolved as it did and explains why its dilemmas weigh so heavily on prospects for peace in the region. Attentive to Pakistan's external relations as well as its internal dynamics, Jalal shows how the vexed relationship with the United States, border disputes with Afghanistan in the west, and the conflict with India over Kashmir in the east have played into the hands of the generals who purchased security at the cost of strong democratic institutions. Combined with domestic ethnic and regional rivalries, such pressures have created a siege mentality that encourages military domination and militant extremism. Since 9/11, the country has been widely portrayed as a breeding ground for Islamic terrorism. Assessing the threats posed by Al-Qaeda and the Taliban as American troops withdraw from Afghanistan, Jalal contends that the battle for Pakistan's soul is far from over. Her definitive biography reveals how pluralism and democracy continue to struggle for a place in this Muslim homeland, where they are so essential to its future.

30 review for The Struggle for Pakistan: A Muslim Homeland and Global Politics

  1. 4 out of 5

    Zaki

    This kind of books on history are dry but not that boring. Not boring because it's my area of interest. Otherwise, it might have been boring because Ayesha Jalal has just narrated the facts related to the political history, but with historical acumen. It doesn't deal with the social history of Pakistan, the kind of history which I want to read and always miss. In the first two chapters, she has just made bold claims based on her previous works. She has given all the references to her previous wor This kind of books on history are dry but not that boring. Not boring because it's my area of interest. Otherwise, it might have been boring because Ayesha Jalal has just narrated the facts related to the political history, but with historical acumen. It doesn't deal with the social history of Pakistan, the kind of history which I want to read and always miss. In the first two chapters, she has just made bold claims based on her previous works. She has given all the references to her previous works, for that it's not possible to assess them without going to her books previously published. In the remaining chapters, she has just jolted down the political history of Pakistan, most of which has already been published by other authors. There is nothing new, although some of the insights are worth reading, especially when she compares the national history with the events taking place in the other parts of the world. If you want to have a quick overview of the political tragedy in the history of Pakistan, you can go for this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sumit

    Whenever Pakistan's history is talked about, its never too big, you don't start with history of humanity in the same geographical space, you just start somewhere in early 20th century and starts picking your way along the dismal path of a country that ever seems to be hanging by a thread. Millions of people have predicted the eventual fall and invariably each one of them has been wrong so far. Pakistan as a country is a miracle which seems to defy all logical expectations and survives solely on Whenever Pakistan's history is talked about, its never too big, you don't start with history of humanity in the same geographical space, you just start somewhere in early 20th century and starts picking your way along the dismal path of a country that ever seems to be hanging by a thread. Millions of people have predicted the eventual fall and invariably each one of them has been wrong so far. Pakistan as a country is a miracle which seems to defy all logical expectations and survives solely on the basis of grit and courage of its people. At times I being an Indian has been under the impression that its their hate against us (Indians) which have kept them walking (after all only force powerful than love in the world seems to be hate). But this book, made me think again, means it was unnerving for me to realise that author is not blaming everything on Indian bogeyman. No doubt at times she does mention India and not always she has kind words for it, but still this book is more about history of Pakistan than about their hate of India. Surely India plays a large role in maintaining legitimacy of Military power, but Afghanistan also shares some part of that achievement. However i must point out that between Afghanistan and India, Afghanistan has got the raw side of deal by any margin (nowhere I am demeaning Kashmir problem for India, but having Taliban running through the country unstopped surely beats having one state among ~30 under constant chaos). Book sheds a lot of light on Quaid e Azam Jinnah, Bangladesh, Disadvantageous financial resources and live boarder on both side at independence, Durand Line, Kashmir issue, Sectarian strife of Karachi/ Sindh, Separatism of Baluchistan, Punjabi Military dominance, American promises and eventual outcomes, and cozying up with China. Having said all of the above I would like to put on record that book at times seems to steer clear of Pakistani Military's action in certain instances. For example, author talks very little about treatment of minorities in mainland Pakistan since independence and in Bangladesh at the time of 71 war, actions and performance of Pakistani military during 65 and Kargil war. I maybe an unknowing victim of Indian propaganda, but glossing over details of such matters only strengths my ideas about mistreatment of minorities and dishonorable actions of Pakistani military in those two instances. All in all its a good book on Pakistan and a must read for anyone who is interested in history of Asia.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tariq Mahmood

    Her best book so far. If there is one book you want to read about Pakistan than look no further. Ayesha sets the history straight with well-researched facts and anecdotes. Right from its creation, she weaves a very complex and challenging history of the 'land of the pure'. Just consider some of the issues developed in this fantastic book. Did Jinnah want a separate country or a state? Did he want an Islamic country? Why did Pakistan slide into army dictatorship so soon after independence? Who was re Her best book so far. If there is one book you want to read about Pakistan than look no further. Ayesha sets the history straight with well-researched facts and anecdotes. Right from its creation, she weaves a very complex and challenging history of the 'land of the pure'. Just consider some of the issues developed in this fantastic book. Did Jinnah want a separate country or a state? Did he want an Islamic country? Why did Pakistan slide into army dictatorship so soon after independence? Who was responsible for the secession of Bangladesh? Was Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto the original populist leader of the country? What sort of impact did Zia have on the Islamisation of the country? Why were the 10 years after Zia's death called the lost decade? How did Musharaf end up being called an impotent uncle 'chacha' of the country? And finally, what were the reasons for PTI's unpopularity in rural Punjab?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Zain Mehdi

    This book is an eye opener! Highly recommended for anyone who is even slightly interested in Pakistan's history. This book has cemented my negative view of the army. I now think that the two greatest hurdles in Pakistan's progress, ever since it's independence, have been Punjab and the army. I am now certain that this country cannot progress unless army starts doing only what militaries in every other country do and the generals who have done grave injustices with this country be brought to just This book is an eye opener! Highly recommended for anyone who is even slightly interested in Pakistan's history. This book has cemented my negative view of the army. I now think that the two greatest hurdles in Pakistan's progress, ever since it's independence, have been Punjab and the army. I am now certain that this country cannot progress unless army starts doing only what militaries in every other country do and the generals who have done grave injustices with this country be brought to justice. The carefully constructed narrative that the army is the sole guarantor of our country's existence must be disposed off, it is a very effective instrument designed to prevent any criticism against the generals. Other provinces can never hope to be treated fairly unless Punjab is broken into smaller provinces. I realize that this is more an expression of what I think than a book review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Junaid Awan

    #Bookreview The Struggle For Pakistan By Ayesha Jalal ... This is the most profound, well researched and well articulated analysis of Pakistan. Dr Ayesha Jalal is a Pakistani-American historian who serves as the Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University, and was the recipient of the 1998 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Her pre-partition analysis, at the start , is in line with the book I read recently "The Murder of History" by KK Aziz. She unraveled myths about religion being the di #Bookreview The Struggle For Pakistan By Ayesha Jalal ... This is the most profound, well researched and well articulated analysis of Pakistan. Dr Ayesha Jalal is a Pakistani-American historian who serves as the Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University, and was the recipient of the 1998 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Her pre-partition analysis, at the start , is in line with the book I read recently "The Murder of History" by KK Aziz. She unraveled myths about religion being the divisive factor & substantiated her case with detailed discussion of Ch. Rehmat ali, Allama iqbal & Quaid e azam's predilection towards autonomous Muslim states with in the Indian confederation, after The British exit. She questioned after presenting facts that if it was religious divide Why millions of Muslims were left behind in India without their rights protected & subsequently why then East Pakistan got separated.? Mr Jinnah, even in 1946 accepted proposal of staying in Indian federation, on conditions that 2 largest Muslim provinces of Punjab & Bengal would not be divided. Bcz more than 40 % population in those provinces were non Muslims & Mr Jinnah believed, that it is the only guarantee of protection of Muslims rights, in those proninces in which they are in minority & Hindus in majority. But congress didn't accept this. And subsequently those provinces were divided & in the words of Mr Jinnah We got mutilated & Moth eaten Pakistan. Also discussed in detail is the role of religious parties which were totally in cohoots with congress & opposed Pakistan's formation with great zeal & vigor Then Dr Jalal brilliantly presented facts and stats about post partition turmoils. With only 17.5 % of resources in which we have to maintain a large proportion of 30 % post partition military, influx of millions of refugees, development expenditure with only 10 % indigenous industrial capability. Thousand miles distance Bw east & west Pakistan, absence of Centralized & established Gov network (unlike India) , linguistically & ethnically divided provinces, tensions with Afghanistan & kashmir dispute & list of other problems which let opponents believed that Pakistan would not last for more then six months. Certain factors shaped the course of history Bw 2 nations which still prevails after 70 years of independence. Lack of leadership after Mr Jinnah, absence of well established political party (Muslim league was not even able to form gov in Punjab & NWFP during 1946 elections). Lack of accountability during the distribution of evacuee property, led to the culture of unaccountability of the higher echelons which is still prevalent among the power sharing elements. The nexus that formed Bw Land lords, bureaucracy, politicians and subsequently military in later stages is still rendered untouchable because of their intermingling interests. Devastating effects of joining USA's cold War, where India remained neutral, caused a rift Bw Civil military relations & brought military in front which formulated its self-righteous, self serving National security paradigm. Economic development was the main casualty bcz of the military rise during cold War. And if there was a development that was only revenue centered not for the social welfare & uplift of the masses. During Ayub's Era population of East Pakistan (Bengal) was 55 % of Pakistan. But difference in GDP & economic condition was staggering. Economic disparities, absence of democratic institutions & mainly the unwillingness of military to handover power to civilian government in Bengal after 1970's election caused the debacle of 1971. Post 1971 Era, is expounded with national, regional & international factors in play. How Bhutto tried to reshape foreign policy, his dream of making Pakistan nuclear state, his ties with China, Lahore summit if Islamic nations, also his shortcomings in the form of his authoritarianism & 1977 elections which ultimately led to Gen Zia's takeover are presented in details. The ramshackled economy during Zia's Era got a lease of life due to soviet invasion of Afghanistan & thus Pakistan becoming the key player. Zia's rule had devastating effects with intrusion of assertive Islam the moderate Pakistan was transformed forever to the hub of noxious sort of religious ideology & sectarian conflict. Period from 1989 to 1999, termed as lost decade, saw successive short term democratic Gov, with establishment still the decisive player behind the make & break of these regimes. How Eighth amendment promulgated during Zia's Era undermined democracy is worth reading to understand that period. In the last part Dr Jalal discussed 3rd martial law, kargil tragedy, Afghan & Iraq war, Militants and talibanization, judicial struggle, Karachi's predicament, Benazir's assassination, PPP in power, Strained USA - Pakistan relations and Lastly transfer of Democratic Gov for first time, after completing its tenure to PML-N in 2013, all events with well researched analysis and well put forth blame & praise. This book, in short, is an intellectual treasure in understanding the dynamics of Pakistan.

  6. 4 out of 5

    bookscache

    The best book, I ever read on Pakistan history.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sajith Kumar

    With the partition of India along religious lines in 1947, there arose in South Asia the bitter enmity of two brothers who shared much of the culture and destiny of the subcontinent. However, the substance behind Jinnah’s claim that Muslims constituted a distinct nation cannot be wished away. After a long series of protests and manipulations, he achieved his dream of aiding the birth of the nation of Pakistan for the Muslims of India. The newborn country always held India under its suspicious ga With the partition of India along religious lines in 1947, there arose in South Asia the bitter enmity of two brothers who shared much of the culture and destiny of the subcontinent. However, the substance behind Jinnah’s claim that Muslims constituted a distinct nation cannot be wished away. After a long series of protests and manipulations, he achieved his dream of aiding the birth of the nation of Pakistan for the Muslims of India. The newborn country always held India under its suspicious gaze as if it tried to subvert the young nation taking its first strides. Fears of a forceful re-annexation of Pakistan back into India were a potent concern for its people in the first decades of its existence. With India’s open support to secessionists in East Pakistan, relations between the two countries reached its lowest ebb, coupled with Pakistan’s crushing military defeat in 1971 and the separation of Bangladesh. This book’s title may confuse casual readers into thinking that the subject matter is related to the pre-independence machinations of Jinnah’s Muslim League. However, it is a history of the birth and growth of the idea of Pakistan (italics added) from League’s Lahore Resolution of 1940 till present. In that sense, the title should be understood as the struggle for the idea of Pakistan. This is relevant since even after seven decades, the country pitifully falls short of the aspirations of its founding father. Ayesha Jalal is a Pakistani-American historian who serves as the Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University. She has authored many books on social, cultural and political aspects of South Asia, especially Pakistan. Jalal’s incisive analysis identifies the rise of the military to a position of enduring dominance within the Pakistani state structure as the most salient development in the country’s history. Hatred against India is deep-rooted in Pakistan, which makes its soil fertile for the military’s tentacles to take hold effortlessly. The author narrates the arduous road to Pakistan traversed by its pioneering ideologists. In the Lahore session of the Muslim League, Jinnah asserted that India’s 90 million Muslims were not a minority but a nation in itself. The partition of the provinces of Bengal and Punjab defeated his plans for a negotiated settlement of Muslims in those provinces where they were in a minority. Here, Jalal pauses to romp home the point that religion was not the main impetus behind the creation of Pakistan. The demand for Pakistan was intended to get an equitable, if not equal, share of power for Indian Muslims in an independent India. The first decade of Pakistan’s life was momentous. With Jinnah’s early demise, constitutional propriety and strict adherence to rule of law were the early casualties. Its efforts at constitution-making was a step in the right direction as Jinnah promised to base the state on the teachings of Islam but promised equal rights to religious minorities as seen in the Objectives Resolution of 1949. However, the Ahmadis were the first community to bear the brunt of religious intolerance when the state began its bigoted attempts to throw the Ahmadis out of the Islamic fold right in 1953 itself. Pakistan is always in the grip of an insecurity complex. The cold war and the rise of US as a global power, the Indian threat and irritations with Afghan claims on its territory combined with the great challenges flowing from partition laid the basis of this insecurity complex. That may be the reason why the military ruled it for more than half of its existence. The military was relatively unscathed from the horrors of division because even though Pakistan received only 17.5 per cent of the financial assets of undivided India, it obtained 30 per cent of the defence forces. Kashmir becomes ever more significant if we take note of the water situation. All the western rivers of Indus flowed into Pakistan from Kashmir and as long as India controls the territory, Pakistan will always be on the edge. It entered into a military partnership with the US, but the bigger brother took the little one seriously only when it suited them. There were many instances in which Pakistan couldn’t enforce its will against the Americans on Pakistani territory. When Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the foreign minister under Ayub Khan, wanted to visit the Badaber base of American forces in Pakistan where many covert operations were taking place, the US snubbed the Pakistani leader by confining him to the cafeteria of the base. Pakistan’s polity and administration is largely oligarchic and mostly theocratic. Political and economic power is concentrated in the hands of 80 or so large landlord families. The urge to Islamize is a constant refrain. Ayub Khan’s constitution removed the word ‘Islamic’ to rename the country as the Republic of Pakistan. All references to the Koran and Sunna in the 1956 constitution were deleted. However, Khan was forced to recant on this issue and the terms were re-inserted as the very first amendment to the constitution. Jalal gives a detailed narrative of the secession of Bangladesh. Not only were all military and political powers concentrated in West Pakistan, it was also economically far better placed. The per capita income in the West was 10 per cent higher than the East at partition, but boomed to 35 per cent higher by 1970. The Bengalis were treated as inferior from the beginning itself, with snide comments even on their skin colour appearing in polite circles too. The Urdu-only policy added fuel to the fire. Police firing on students protesting the language policy at Dhaka resulted in many deaths, and Bangladesh still mourns it as Martyrs’ Day. Bengali cultural assertions were frowned upon. Tagore and his works were purged from state media. Economic exploitation was rampant as the surplus from jute exports were pilfered to the West. At last, Bengalis found a voice in Mujib-ur-Rehman. His six-point formula as a precondition for a compromise plainly smacked of secessionist tendency. That it was a manifesto for independence is evidenced by the demands for separate Reserve Banks, foreign currency accounts and a paramilitary force for East Pakistan. With the birth of Bangladesh in 1971 with active Indian help, Pakistan fell into a deep gloom. 93,000 Pakistani soldiers had meekly surrendered to Indian forces at the end of the war. Post-1971 era saw the rise of a military dictator Zia ul-Haq and judicial assassination of the elected Prime Minister Bhutto who was ousted by the military. Zia was a pious but unscrupulous man. He brought in the Hudood and Zina laws that respectively put blasphemy and adultery as the most heinous crimes punishable by death. At the same time, the military under Zia encouraged the trade and export of narcotics. Heroin was Pakistan’s largest export during the Zia era, earning it billions of dollars in illicit money. The army’s National Logistics Cell was known to be involved in the safe transport of narcotics from the northwest to the port city of Karachi (p.241). Not only Zia, but all military and bureaucratic bigwigs treated elected leaders with derision and contempt. As prime minister, Benazir Bhutto was asked to listen to the President’s address to the nation on television to learn of her dismissal from office. Corruption was rampant in all administrations and even Benazir, often affectionately termed the ‘Princess of Larkana’, was not immune from its clutches. Jalal hints that a dozen Pakistanis are known to have made enough illicit money since the start of the Afghan war to repay half the nation’s foreign debt. The book gives a comprehensive picture of the post-1971 Pakistan when its course was closely tied to the developments in Afghanistan – the first in the form of Soviet occupation of the country in 1979 and then again in 2001 following its American occupation in a bid to flush out terrorists from its mountain fastness in the aftermath of 9/11. The book is nicely written in an impeccable language full of savoury idioms and phrases. It also focusses on the resistance among cultural and literary figures against authoritarian regimes. Sadat Hassan Manto’s writings are given pride of place. However, Jalal doesn’t mention about the sad plight of minorities as a result of Talibanization taking place since the 1980s. Cursory references are there, but readers expect more from the author. It is curious to note that in the list of acronyms given in the beginning of the book, only three Indian organizations are mentioned – the BJP, RSS and RAW! She makes a stunning claim that the RSS assisted the Indian army in quashing the rebellion against Kashmir’s accession to India. The book is highly recommended.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Faaiz

    This book isn't for everybody. Especially not for people who have absolutely no idea about Pakistan or even political jargon. This is because the scope of this book is huge. It covers Pakistan a little before its inception, even going back to the late 20's and 30's and ending around 2014. So, it covers a lot. And the author assumes that the reader will be able to keep up with names, roles and events that unfold as she swiftly takes the reader through regimes spanning a few year to decades. I like This book isn't for everybody. Especially not for people who have absolutely no idea about Pakistan or even political jargon. This is because the scope of this book is huge. It covers Pakistan a little before its inception, even going back to the late 20's and 30's and ending around 2014. So, it covers a lot. And the author assumes that the reader will be able to keep up with names, roles and events that unfold as she swiftly takes the reader through regimes spanning a few year to decades. I liked how this book was written and the author's insight into the events that underwent in various times were refreshing. I think the transition from one regime/era to another was very well done in a smooth manner. What I absolutely loved about this book was how the author was able to bring in little snippets of culture into the events she was relaying. From poetry to art, the author used it in a manner that brought life to the text and added a feeling of realness to it all. Using Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Habib Jalib, revered personalities whose poetry regarding revolution and oppression are still relevant to this day just made reading it so much more enjoyable and allowed the reader a chance to glance into the cultural mindset of the people they were reading about. I thought that the last chapters especially the ones after Benazir were not as well written. Maybe it's because those regimes lasted for short periods of time. But I was disappointed to read even Musharraf's 11 years of ruling were just lacking in terms of substance and the insight that I found so interesting in the previous chapters. I did like the very recent years that she wrote about even though she didn't go into as much detail as I would've liked to. Nevertheless, its a good book for people who have previous knowledge of Pakistani history and want to understand why and how Pakistan is what it is today. And also for those who want a better look into Pakistani society and culture that doesn't solely focus on the fundamentalists, extremists, the army/intelligence services and the politicians.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ravi

    The first few chapters on the subcontinent's partition and the first spell of Army rule in Pakistan were alright. But after that the book turned out to be terrible. It is rambling, incoherent, and poorly edited. The author just plugged in a series of facts, opinions and news headlines with no underlying theme tying them all together. There are better books out there about Pakistani history. The first few chapters on the subcontinent's partition and the first spell of Army rule in Pakistan were alright. But after that the book turned out to be terrible. It is rambling, incoherent, and poorly edited. The author just plugged in a series of facts, opinions and news headlines with no underlying theme tying them all together. There are better books out there about Pakistani history.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sudhagar

    A comprehensive history of Pakistan from before the Partition to 2014. The writer has some excellent research and obviously lived through some of these events so she writes with authority. I always Pakistan to be a very difficult country to understand and thanks to Ms Jalal, I can say that I am a lot more informed of the country and understand why certain events happened in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. Though Pakistan is a young country, it has a very complex history and to come up with a si A comprehensive history of Pakistan from before the Partition to 2014. The writer has some excellent research and obviously lived through some of these events so she writes with authority. I always Pakistan to be a very difficult country to understand and thanks to Ms Jalal, I can say that I am a lot more informed of the country and understand why certain events happened in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. Though Pakistan is a young country, it has a very complex history and to come up with a single volume to provide even an overview is a big challenge. In this regards too, Ayesha has done an excellent job. However, there are areas where I felt she could have done better. 1. Writing style - overly complicated sentence structure and usage of bombastic words when a simple word or description would suffice 2. Commentary - She tends to over interpret and analyze rather than provide a straight forward description of the events. This is a major problem and sometimes this goes on and on. 3. Context - It would have been better if she had provided a better context for the subject in order for a reader unfamiliar with Pakistan in terms of ethnic composition, geography, language / ethnicity, background on the Mughal rules , etc. 4. Missing out key events - I felt she failed to provide much light on the 1971 war which was a major event in the history of Pakistan. Another thing she should have examined in more detail is the role of Saudi Arabia and the rise of Wahabbi influence as well as the Sunni-Shia discord.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mayur

    A great book to understand how history is whitewashed. How criminals becomes saints. How criminals are absolved of their crimes by showing that they had no other option, they were helpless. Some of the claims made by author in her book are: Pakistan was never created in the name of Islam. One should not bring religion while studying the history of partition. Jinnah never wanted partition. He was misunderstood on two nation theory. He was pushed by congress to demand for partition. The massacre of hind A great book to understand how history is whitewashed. How criminals becomes saints. How criminals are absolved of their crimes by showing that they had no other option, they were helpless. Some of the claims made by author in her book are: Pakistan was never created in the name of Islam. One should not bring religion while studying the history of partition. Jinnah never wanted partition. He was misunderstood on two nation theory. He was pushed by congress to demand for partition. The massacre of hindus/sikhs (direct action day, naokhali etc) was justified as eventually people from both side died. The author even goes on to claim that Jinnah was so visionary that he wanted the whole of Punjab and Bengal (including the districts having Hindu majority) for Pakistan because Hindu majority Government can't be trusted to treat its Muslim subject fairly. So Jinnah wanted to use hindus of these districts as leverage in case India mistreats is muslim subject. Using hindus as leverage by pakistan does not seem to be moraly wrong to the author.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ali Shaheen

    The crux of this book is that one must not levy all the blunders of derailing democracy and added injury into flimsy institution on Army alone, the politicians and bureaucracy has an equal role to make Pakistan less democratic to assemble power for themselves.The writer also cast light on as to how elected BB and Sharifs worked like a launching pad for corruption and nepotism. Additionally, the coups might not taken place if the tussle for supremacy of world not loomed amid USSR and US.Accordingl The crux of this book is that one must not levy all the blunders of derailing democracy and added injury into flimsy institution on Army alone, the politicians and bureaucracy has an equal role to make Pakistan less democratic to assemble power for themselves.The writer also cast light on as to how elected BB and Sharifs worked like a launching pad for corruption and nepotism. Additionally, the coups might not taken place if the tussle for supremacy of world not loomed amid USSR and US.Accordingly, the fate of Pakistan written. One thing is clear as of today that we dance to the tune of others,not inbred . And, Army is sole responsible for the extremism and strewing hatred for minorities by amplifying the (disliked) voice of religious scholars like Mawdudi and Israr.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Zain Najam

    Excellent book, but only if you aren’t well-versed in Pakistan’s political history. I read this book when my interest in subcontinental history had only recently started to develop, and hence was able to find it a fascinating read, but most of it is just the recounting of facts that are attempted to explain the contemporary nature of Pakistan’s political/social/religious atmosphere and culture. However, Jalal can, at times, be difficult to comprehend due to her writing style. Anyone who doesn’t Excellent book, but only if you aren’t well-versed in Pakistan’s political history. I read this book when my interest in subcontinental history had only recently started to develop, and hence was able to find it a fascinating read, but most of it is just the recounting of facts that are attempted to explain the contemporary nature of Pakistan’s political/social/religious atmosphere and culture. However, Jalal can, at times, be difficult to comprehend due to her writing style. Anyone who doesn’t have a strong grip over the English language may find it difficult to understand or read Jalal. Otherwise, it’s a good book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Luke

    Breathless high-level survey of Pakistan's history from about the 1930s to the election of Nawaz's third government in 2013. But analysis is uneven and sometimes absent and Jalal is literally the worst writer, on a sentence-to-sentence basis and also structurally, of any book that I've finished in the last...ten years? Ever? The only reason this gets more than one star is because I actually did learn a few things from it. But that has more to do with my ignorance of the historical ins and outs o Breathless high-level survey of Pakistan's history from about the 1930s to the election of Nawaz's third government in 2013. But analysis is uneven and sometimes absent and Jalal is literally the worst writer, on a sentence-to-sentence basis and also structurally, of any book that I've finished in the last...ten years? Ever? The only reason this gets more than one star is because I actually did learn a few things from it. But that has more to do with my ignorance of the historical ins and outs of Pakistan's high-level political machinations than any great insight on Jalal's part. How this book averages four stars on here is beyond me.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarmad Ahmed

    Jalal provides an insightful account of the events that shaped Pakistan throughout it’s 72 years of Independence. While a reasonable amount of references provided refer to Jalal’s previous work, I have yet to investigate the neutrality of the quoted text. Nevertheless, the timeline of events is consistent with how these events unfolded in actuality. All in all, this book is an epitome of Pakistan’s political history and how she has struggled to get her power equation in place. I recommend!

  16. 5 out of 5

    XXX

    This is a good overview of Pakistani history but, a bit unfortunately, it's not really designed for people who need an overview. Rather, it's more like a commentary on history where Jalal gives evidence (sometimes: her opinion) on the events and controversies around major events in Pakistan. This allows the less knowledgeable (me) to piece certain things together, but it could have been structured in a way that explained the import of certain events as well. This is a good overview of Pakistani history but, a bit unfortunately, it's not really designed for people who need an overview. Rather, it's more like a commentary on history where Jalal gives evidence (sometimes: her opinion) on the events and controversies around major events in Pakistan. This allows the less knowledgeable (me) to piece certain things together, but it could have been structured in a way that explained the import of certain events as well.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Haris Niazi

    Ayesha Jalal in her book 'The Struggle for Pakistan: A Muslim Homeland and Global Politics', outlines the history of Pakistan as concisely as possible without a hint of bias. Her open condemnation of failed military policies and critique of self-styled military rulers (dictators) and politicians alike makes this book worth reading. The Struggle for Pakistan is highly recommended to anyone interested in the history of Pakistan. Ayesha Jalal in her book 'The Struggle for Pakistan: A Muslim Homeland and Global Politics', outlines the history of Pakistan as concisely as possible without a hint of bias. Her open condemnation of failed military policies and critique of self-styled military rulers (dictators) and politicians alike makes this book worth reading. The Struggle for Pakistan is highly recommended to anyone interested in the history of Pakistan.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mihr Chand

    A dry read. The writing could have been so much better, especially considering the stature of the academic who wrote it. All I was left with was a desire to re-read Ramachandra Guha's India After Gandhi yet again, for it covered the history of a postcolonial subcontinental nation in a far better manner. A dry read. The writing could have been so much better, especially considering the stature of the academic who wrote it. All I was left with was a desire to re-read Ramachandra Guha's India After Gandhi yet again, for it covered the history of a postcolonial subcontinental nation in a far better manner.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hussam Ul Haq

    The start of the book is exceptional, so is the middle part. The end chapters are mere citations of different globally recognized newspapers and magazines with little comments from the writer herself. Nevertheless, the book is a candid reflection of the history of Pakistan with little to no biases. A must read for the leftist perspective on the history of Pakistan.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Talha Mahmood

    This book gives a complete analysis of every conflict in the Pakistan. It also unveiled some of the hidden truths. A must

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bookscache

    The best written history of Pakistan. Detailed review / selected excerpts at twitter account @bookscache and #bookscache for this particular book click #TheStruggle4Pakistan

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kislay

    The counterpart of "India after gandhi". Tells you a lot about the history of Pakistan and what has lead it to current state. The counterpart of "India after gandhi". Tells you a lot about the history of Pakistan and what has lead it to current state.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Farrukh Pitafi

    Everyone interested in Pakistan and its history MUST read this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Neil

    Excellent book on Pakistan contemporary history. I never expected from any Pakistani so much honesty while writing book on history. The author is a little biased, but a person should be that biased that much while he/she is talking about his/her country and the most rival or enemy of his/her country. Otherwise author have done a remarkable job while writing history of country whose emergence itself caused million lives. Very less footnote,but analysis is outstanding. Before you write this kind o Excellent book on Pakistan contemporary history. I never expected from any Pakistani so much honesty while writing book on history. The author is a little biased, but a person should be that biased that much while he/she is talking about his/her country and the most rival or enemy of his/her country. Otherwise author have done a remarkable job while writing history of country whose emergence itself caused million lives. Very less footnote,but analysis is outstanding. Before you write this kind of book you need full control over that particular country's history, geography, socio-economic condition as well as cultural aspects. The author have great command on the contemporary history of the Pakistan and its most serious problems and weaknesses period by period. The main part of this texts are honesty toward writing, toward country and the people and their sufferings. The first essay itself is the example of her academic excellence. All 10 essays are written with precision and great understanding of the current scenario. All are enjoyable in full. don't miss anything except footnote otherwise you will be deprived of good stories behind rise and fall of military junta's and elected governments, assassination, violence etc. The whole book is like novel in which after every 10 year some very very interesting will happen with all kind of stuffs which prevent you not to live book in middle of the reading. I read about India's history too. After reading this book I feels that people's from both side are equally fool or disgracefulness. Their are fooled by politicians, militants, military, saints of different-different religions, media and international pressure group. Yes this is right Indians are also fool but the difference here is just military personal or politicians. Both are equally looted and polluted by every kind of regimes in Indian sub-continent. Over emphasis and over interference of the US is the biggest problem of The sub-continent. Fools Indians and Pakistanis are celebrating good relationship with US. But after studying properly both and countries and other world from years, I come to the conclusion that " America se dosti bhi acchi ni he, or dushamani bhi" so just get away from US than you will be fine. Religion has ruined both or trio of the sub-continent. While reading this book too i realized that religion is the only factor between all this problems and it will remain, we ruined everything we have including a little humanity. I am sure people will understand religion is just a law to prevent people, nothing alse. Read this book carefully and than Indian struggle and analysis the difference between. I am sure you will not find more difference. Some flaws are there in this book too but this is best literature available on contemporary Pakistan.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Girlfrom bookland

    Established as homeland for Indian Muslims In 1947 and the political gambling, frustration, everything was portrait in this book by ayeshajalal I personally didn’t like much, though I’m a big fan of reading staff on history and especially when it comes to own nation. But the book offer me the same story, I had read or heard thousand times before, nothing new but political stuff. I personally wanted to read something very personal. What a common man and how did his/her social life affected by the Established as homeland for Indian Muslims In 1947 and the political gambling, frustration, everything was portrait in this book by ayeshajalal I personally didn’t like much, though I’m a big fan of reading staff on history and especially when it comes to own nation. But the book offer me the same story, I had read or heard thousand times before, nothing new but political stuff. I personally wanted to read something very personal. What a common man and how did his/her social life affected by the decision of separation and narration like that but there was nothing as such. Though the author put things nicely and sum up a lot of facts from start to end. But I wanted more, or maybe I expected that why I disappoint a bit. Anyways it was a good read, to recall my facts. So from me this book gets 3

  26. 5 out of 5

    Syed M. Abdullah

    Indeed a recommended read and specifically in the initial chapters, when it talks about the entire Pakistan movement and the formative phase of the country; it is insightful indeed in that part, however, towards the later part of the book and more distinctly towards the end, Ms.Jalal turns as if she's random analyst from some random newspaper writing a routine article specifically when she talks about the Musharraf era and onwards. However, not withstanding the magnanimity of its insightfulness, Indeed a recommended read and specifically in the initial chapters, when it talks about the entire Pakistan movement and the formative phase of the country; it is insightful indeed in that part, however, towards the later part of the book and more distinctly towards the end, Ms.Jalal turns as if she's random analyst from some random newspaper writing a routine article specifically when she talks about the Musharraf era and onwards. However, not withstanding the magnanimity of its insightfulness, it'll indeed be recommended by almost every intellectual and academic acquainted with the turbulent history of Pakistan.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Harmeet

    It is about Pakistan from formation idea, to formation and through various convolutions till present. Book indicates that military power within state has been a corrosive influence and state seems to be very often defined as not-something(in this case India) more than an independent state should be. It is also striking that single province is too dominant. However the book is hopeful and suggests that people/state is resilient.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rana Ashfaq

  29. 5 out of 5

    Waqas Vicky

  30. 5 out of 5

    Niyati Kochhar

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