1st Edition

Pakistan Origins, Identity and Future

By Pervez Hoodbhoy Copyright 2023
    476 Pages
    by Routledge India

    476 Pages
    by Routledge India

    This book is an accessible, comprehensive, and nuanced history of Pakistan. It reflects upon state and society in Pakistan and shows they have been shaped by historical forces and personae. Hoodbhoy expertly maps the journey of the region from many millennia ago to the circumstances and impulses that gave birth to the very first state in history founded upon religious identity. He documents colonial rule, the trauma of Partition, the nation’s wars with India, the formation of Bangladesh, and the emergence of Baloch nationalism. The book also examines longstanding complex themes and issues – such as religious fundamentalism, identity formation, democracy, and military rule – as well as their impact on the future of the state of Pakistan.

    Drawing on a range of sources and written by one of the foremost intellectuals of the region, this book will be indispensable for scholars, researchers, students of history, politics, and South Asian studies. It will be of great interest to the general reader interested in understanding Pakistan.






    Part One: Long Before The Two-Nation Idea

    1.      Identity Formation in Medieval India

    2.      The British Reinvent India


    Part Two: A Closer Look At Pakistan’s Three Founder-Heroes

    3.      Founder I: The Lonely Modernizer

    4.      Founder II:  Premier Poet–Preacher–Politician

    5.      Founder III:  Liberal, Secular, Visionary?

    6.      Jinnah Trounces his Muslim Opponents


    Part Three: Postnatal Blues

    7.      Stubborn Angularities I: East Pakistan

    8.      Stubborn Angularities II: Balochistan


    Part Four: Five Big Questions

    9.    Was Partition Worth the Price?

    10.  What Is the Ideology of Pakistan – and Does It Matter?

    11.  Why Couldn’t Pakistan Become an Islamic State?

    12.  Why Is Pakistan a Praetorian State?

    13.  Identity: I’m Pakistani, but What Am I?


    Part Five: Looking Ahead

    14.  Three Physical Perils up Ahead

    15.  The Paths Travelled Post-1971

    16.  Replacing the Two Nation Theory





    Pervez Hoodbhoy taught physics at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad (1973–2021) as well as other Pakistani universities (Lahore University of Management Sciences and Forman Christian College) for nearly five decades. He was visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Maryland, and a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Washington.

    'Hoodbhoy’s richly textured inquiry into Pakistan’s evolution from early days onward brings out reality, myth, hope. With penetrating insight and scrupulous care he explores and dismantles multiple poisonous fallacies. But this is no Jeremiad. The cures, he shows, exist as do hopes for a much brighter future.'

    Noam Chomsky, Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA)

    'A hard-hitting and truth-seeking analysis of how Pakistan came to be what it is today with the conclusion, first, that the very idea of Pakistan must be rethought, and second, suggestions as to how this might be done.'

    Francis Robinson, Professor of the History of South Asia, University of London (UK)

    'The effort which has gone into writing this book can only be called monumental. It is highly recommended to all who are interested in truthful history and is especially recommended to those who disagree with the author - if only to promote rational, intellectual debate on the subject of Pakistan's origins and identity.'

    Tariq Rahman,​ Linguist, Humboldt Laureate, Distinguished National Professor of Social Sciences, HEC (Pakistan)

    'In a bold sweep, Pervez Hoodbhoy seeks to analyze Pakistan's nationhood, its origins, its present, and its future, as also figures critical to the country's formation. The result is a clinical and candid book, yet one that is also constructive and very readable.'

    Rajmohan Gandhi, author, biographer, peace activist, IIT Gandhinagar (India)

    'The book unabashedly lays bare facts of history that in the past were only just whispered. A brave expose and, equally, a desire for a different Pakistan that few dare talk about.'

    Ayesha Siddiqa, author of Military Inc. – Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy

    'As a scientist, Hoodbhoy weighs evidence as he fearlessly digs into explaining and resolving crucial issues that present-day Pakistanis face.  His scholarship is meticulous and wide-ranging, laying a foundation for an extraordinarily insightful exploration of Pakistan’s history and its social, cultural, and political dynamics extending into the present day. Withal, he reaches out to the reader with straightforward and clear questions, inviting informed revision of the conventional understanding of Pakistan.'

    Philip K. Oldenburg, Columbia University (USA)

    'Agree with it or not, Pervez Hoodbhoy's book demands to be read. It provides the most thorough reversal of existing narratives about Pakistan's origins. A bracing and counter-intuitive interpretation of nationalist history.'

    Faisal Devji, Professor of Indian History, University of Oxford, UK