10/28/09: Amid ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan, the Watson Institute-affiliated Choices Program has produced a new edition of its secondary school curriculum unit, “Indian Independence and the Question of Pakistan.”
By aggregating readings that cut across the history, geography, and culture of India, the curriculum unit offers great insight into the underlying dynamics that help shape India, and ultimately Pakistan, today. “Nuclear weapons and continuing tension make the relationship between India and Pakistan of critical importance,” said curriculum editor Andy Blackadar. Some experts maintain that the nuclear face-off between India and Pakistan makes South Asia the most dangerous region in the world, according to Choices’ materials.
How did this come about? The complex story underlying the formation of India and Pakistan is at the heart of the curriculum unit. “This curriculum unit introduces students to the rich history of these two countries and the origins of the current tensions,” said Blackadar. The unit explores India’s cultural dynamics prior to European colonial intervention, as well as the events leading up to Indian independence from British rule. Moreover, the unit sheds light on the substantial role of religion and national key figures, such as Mohandas Gandhi, in India’s history. It also illuminates the debate that led to India’s partition into two states which, in turn, helps explain the conflict in Kashmir today.
The unit is interactive, providing a day-by-day lesson plan and student activities. For example, it puts forward role-play proposals to stimulate students to think in the framework of possible policy options.
“Indian Independence and the Question of Pakistan,” made possible with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities, is the latest in the Choices Program’s library of over 30 curriculum units, which bring university-level research and innovative learning tools into secondary school classrooms across the country. Supplemental materials are also provided online.