"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hindus in Pakistan

Hindu women in Karachi City, Sindh State of Pakistan

Hindus in Pakistan  -  A story of Muslim violence and forced conversions

Because of a compliant lap-dog Media the violence against Pakistani Christians is almost unknown outside of the country.  But the attacks on the Pakistani Hindu minority is totally ignored by the outside world.

Hindus in Pakistan have suffered grievously since the founding of the nation in 1947.  In the southern province of Sindh, a Hindu man was accused of blasphemy and beaten to death by his co-workers. This comes at the heels of the abduction and dismemberment of a Hindu engineer.

The Pakistani military removed 70 Hindu families from lands where they had been living since the 19th century. To this day the temples that Pakistanis destroyed in 1992 in response to the destruction of the Babri mosque in India have not been restored.

There are two levels of prejudice in Pakistan with respect to Hindus - the cultural and the legal.

While it is difficult to say which one is more pernicious, cultural prejudice is certainly more difficult to uproot because it is perpetuated by religious supremacism, nationalism, stories, myth, lies, families, media, schooling and bigotry.

Cultural prejudice has become part and parcel of language itself. Hindus are referred to as "na pak." Na means "un" and pak means "pure." So, Hindus are turned into the impure, or unclean. Given that the word "pak" is part of the word "Pakistan" - which means Land of the Pure - somebody's impurity suggests that they are not really Pakistani.

To make matters even worse, Pakistani mullahs teach a very supremacist version of the Islamic creed, the kalima. Usually, the kalima reads simply: "There is no god but God and Muhammad is His final messenger." The version that children are taught, however, reads as follows: "The first kalima is Tayyab; Tayyab means Pak (Pure); There is no god but God and Muhammad is His final Messenger."

The infamous blasphemy law was passed under Islamist dictator Zia ul Haq in the 1980s.  Designed specifically to punish the Ahmadi minority, the blasphemy law now provides convenient protection to anyone who ever wants to kill, murder, maim, beat up, mug, abduct, or punish any religious minority. All you really have to do is carry out your brutality and then point at the victim and say that he was blasphemous.

Sikh officer in the Pakistani Army 

Hindus, who accounted for 15% of Pakistan's population at partition, now make up just 2% of its 170 million people as emigration and forced conversions take their toll the Los Angeles Times reports.

Intolerance has spread, Hindus living in rural areas have become particularly vulnerable to land appropriation, extortion and having their daughters kidnapped and then being told that they ran away with a Muslim and willingly converted, said Ramesh Kumar, director of the Karachi-based Pakistan Hindu Council. Complaints to the police or courts are routinely ignored, community leaders said.

"Because we're Hindus and a minority, they think we'll just take it," Mishra said. "And no one comes to our aid. We're increasingly vulnerable."

Somewhat ironically, Pakistani Hindus who move to India find they're also discriminated against given their association with Pakistan.

Maharaj Lukhmi Chand, 83, a Hindu priest, was recently kidnapped near Khuzdar in the western province of Baluchistan and held by unknown captors for more than two weeks before his negotiated release. He's frustrated that even though he's been a victim of apparent religious extremism in Pakistan, he's viewed with suspicion by Indian Hindus.

"We're treated as traitors in India," Chand said. "And our community here in Pakistan is over a million people. Not everyone has the resources to move."

More to the point, many Hindus consider Pakistan their home despite all the problems and the increased attacks every time relations with India deteriorate.

"My father and grandfather lived here," said Rajish Kumar, 25, resting in the shade of a tree at Karachi's Shri Swami Narayan Temple. "This temple, where we live surrounded by Muslims, is our enclave."

Many are not open-minded. "I don't remember a time when Hindus and Muslims lived in peace," said Nooruddin Bharucha, a Muslim shop owner in Karachi's Mithadar neighborhood. "It's OK to do business with them. But they're blasphemers, and that's unacceptable to us."

For more on this story


rani lakhia said...

It's time the Indian govt took a break from their endless appeasing of the minorities here and did something about the hapless hindus in this monster of a country. My grandparents were a lot better under the British!

Gary said...

It is the fate of man to find reasons to hate his neighbor. The Muslims could easily choose to let people live in peace, but they simply do not want to.