Young people nowadays are not at all interested in history. "What's the use", they ask. "History is always written by the victors". So it's not surprising that most of them don't know that Bangladesh was once East Pakistan, and the school textbooks don't mention the shameful surrender of our armed forces on December 16, 1971. Even those who were teens at the time believe that East Pakistan was a burden on the country and needed to be separated from the country, although nowadays it seems the other way around. The miraculous recovery of that country from being a basket case to having an economy that is twice ours is food for thought. Of course, our leaders never think of such things like women empowerment, which is the chief reason for Bangladesh's superb performance.

Coming back to history, I'm reading about the Mughals under Akbar. It's astounding to find out how much you don't know. I didn't know for instance, that Akbar had men of all Indian religions advising him. His army was under the control of Man Singh, a Hindu Rajput. He had Jains advising him as well. But he would have become a Christian if being one would have allowed him to have more than one wife.

I didn't know that he'd given up being a Muslim in the last decade of his life, and had become a sun worshiper. But the most astounding thing is that he founded a new religion and began forcing his courtiers to worship him. Most did so, because they knew they would benefit from calling him God. But his army chief Raja Man Singh refused, saying that he would even convert to Islam rather than worship Akbar. One would've thought Akbar would sack him on the spot, but he didn't. At least he knew that good men are hard to get.

Our youngsters can learn a lot about human nature from reading history, if they have the time. But reading is now regarded as a deadly sin by most Pakistanis.