Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An Incomplete List of Books, Films on Pakistan History

When reading history--rather, anything at all--we should remember to read as many different versions as possible so as to get a bigger picture of the topic. Particularly when learning about the history of the formation of a state, we should be critical of everything we read and question the motives, the objectives and the agenda of the text. There are always at least two sides to every issue, and, without necessarily accepting or rejecting one or the other, we should at least familiarize ourselves with whatever is there so that our opinion is more informed.

I also suggest that we read more than one genre of historical writing to broaden our understanding of any particular historical event or phenomenon. These would include--besides books/textbooks--novels, movies/films, comics, letters, and so on. Each provides what the other may not, and they all can complement each other to give us a fuller, more closer to accurate depiction of the reality of something we're interested in learning about.

Below, I share a list of books and films on the history of Pakistan, and I ask that if there's any book/film out there that you think should be included in the list, please feel free to share it with us.


In alphabetical order by the author's last name; click the title for details, reviews, etc. on each book.

Books (Non-Fiction)



  1. Indeed a good list to study the pre n post partition history of Pakistan.

    Any one who needs to have grip on history with versatile perspective should read these books.

    1. Thanks, Rahim Khan! Very kind of you to say.

  2. Salaam!

    Good list you have so far :)

    I would also add Murder of History, British Imperialism in India, The Making of Pakistan, and some others by KK Aziz. Renowned historian and brilliant thinker. Also -- anything by Eqbal Ahmed on the topic. Although I know it's a bit hard to find his stuff, as he wasn't all to keen on documenting his words (his friend Edward Said encouraged him to do so :)

    Will let you know if I think of more :)


    1. Thank you for the recommendations, Sania! :) Greatly appreciated!

    2. I would add "a case of exploding mangoes" in novels. Garam Hava is not strictly speaking about Pakistan, but is a movie about partition that is worth watching ( Indian summer is a good book to add to your list too ( And if I had magic powers, i would remove Tariq Ali's half-assed book from this list, but then, I do not have superpowers. Oh, and I think Nirad Choudhry's autobiography (second volume) "thy hand great anarch" is not directly about Pakistan, but he was an observer of that age, and a very sharp observer too.


Dare to opine :)

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