Pakistan: A Very Short Introduction
Paperback, 168 pages
What is Pakistan? The name refers to a seventy-year-old post-colonial product of the bloodiest partition of territory and population that accompanied the end of British empire in South Asia. But the region of the Indus Valley has a four-thousand-year-old history, and was the site of one of the earliest and greatest riverine civilisations in the world. Although the modern nation of Pakistan as we know it was created as a homeland for the Muslims of British India, it is impossible to understand the complex tapestry of linguistic, ethnic, and cultural identities and tensions of the region without tracing its deep past.
This Very Short Introduction looks at Pakistan as one of the two nation-states of the Indian sub-continent that emerged in 1947. Pippa Virdee reaches into the ancient past to demonstrate the influence of trajectories of human settlement and civilisation on Pakistan's contemporary political arena, and shows how the longer continuities between the land and its peoples are as important as the short-term changes in the political landscape. She considers Pakistan's religion and society, the state and the military, everyday life, popular culture, languages and literature, as well as Pakistan's relationship with the rest of the world.
Virdee also looks to the challenges of the 21st century and the future of Pakistan.