‘Pakistan’s Cultural Fabric is a Synthesis of Multicultural Infusion’


—NIHCR Webinar on Discourse of History on Indo-Pak History from Antiquity to Modernity XV: Pakistani Culture & Cultural Narrative
Culture is human interaction with nature and history; it is an adaptive mechanism, said Prof Emeritus Aslam Syed here on Sunday.
Culture is the patterns of learned and shared behaviour and beliefs of a particular social or ethnic group. Humans in turn use culture to adapt and transform the world they live in, he observed while speaking a Webinar on Discourse of History on Indo-Pak History from Antiquity to Modernity XV: Pakistani Culture and Cultural Narrative of Pakistan.
Prof. Emeritus Aslam Syed has been serving the Centre for Religious Studies, Ruhr Universität, Bochum, Germany. He remained Chairman, Department of History, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad and also served the NIHCR as its Director.
Responding to a question, Prof Syed said that the anthropological study of culture can be organized along two persistent and basic themes i.e. diversity and change. An individual’s upbringing, and environment is what makes them diverse from other cultures. People’s need to adapt and transform to physical, biological and cultural forces to survive represents the second theme, change.
The Webinar arranged online by the National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research (NIHCR), Centre of Excellence, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, was attended by over 700 participants ranging from students, teachers and researchers to have greater insights into the valuable views of the guest speaker.
Replying a question, Prof Syed said that cultural evolution occurred faster than biological evolution had significantly modified the effect of natural selection on humans. Over the last several hundred thousand years, we have developed new survival related cultural skills and technologies at a faster rate than natural selection could alter our bodies to adapt to the environmental challenges that confronted us, he said.
It was the 34th consecutive session on the Discourse of History, a brainchild of the NIHCR Director Dr Sajid Mahmood Awan. This activity inculcates interest to learn more and more about history not only among students, scholars and historians as well as among ordinary people belonging to any field of life to know about nations’ ways of running their States in a journey from antiquity to modernity.
Responding to a question, Prof Syed said that Pakistan has multi ethnicities and diversified culture. The area which now forms Pakistan attracted people from different parts of the world; these people came here and made this land their permanent homeland. The social system has emerged as a synthesis of Arab, Iranian, Greek, British and a number of other cultural impacts.
Replying a question on cultural narrative of the State, Prof Syed stressed that the inclusive cultural narrative would help reshape our society as a peaceful place for all segments. The valuable heritage of Pakistan should be our identity, he said, adding that the cultural narrative should be based on our rich cultural heritage.
The NIHCR Director Dr Awan conducted the Webinar by triggering a dialogue with Dr Syed for substantiating this discourse. This inclusive activity has been taken up every week for the benefit of students in general and capacity-building of the teachers and researchers in particular, he said.