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Insofar as history is constantly in the process of being reconfigured in the light of new processes and challenges, any companion to the history of Pakistan cannot but be an ongoing, if not obviously an open-ended, enterprise. The historiography of Pakistan has been missing such a comprehensive survey of not only sixty-four years of the country's existence but also of the movement preceding its creation. Pakistan possesses a rich and varied history considering that it was carved out of the Indian subcontinent, one of the world's oldest civilizations. Hence the prevailing geographical, religious, ethnic, linguistic, and cultural diversities and complexities. The Oxford Companion to Pakistani History has attempted to provide the reader with information on a wide a spectrum of subjects as possible.
A wide range of topics have been covered in the volume, from pre-Partition colonial period to post-Partition movements (religious, political, cultural etc.), peoples and places, culture, architecture, politics, military, economics, linguistics, archaeology, judiciary, art, theatre, education, foreign relations, government, media, philanthropy, civil society and several others. This is the first time that all facets of Pakistani history have been covered in one encyclopedic volume.
The Companion differs from other encyclopedias in the sense that all entries have been written in an analytical, unbiased style and yet paying the keenest attention to factual details. A system of cross-referencing is available through insertion of asterisks within the text linking the entry to another headword that may appear while reading a particular entry. A subject index along with a few maps are provided at the end of the book. All these steps have been taken to render the Companion as user-friendly as possible.
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Dr Ayesha Jalal is the Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University. Dr Jalal teaches at the History Department and the Fletcher School. She obtained her BA in history and political science from Wellesley College, USA, and her doctorate in history from the University of Cambridge. Dr Jalal has been Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge (1980-84), Leverhulme Fellow at the Centre of South Asian Studies, Cambridge (1984-87), Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington DC (1985-86), and Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies (1988-90). Between 1998-2003 she was a MacArthur Fellow. She has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Tufts University, Columbia University and Harvard University.
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