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The Overlooked tale of Silent Genocide of 4 million Hindus in Pakistan

Life of a Hindu in Pakistan is practically indistinguishable from that of a Shia in Saudi Arabia

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image via pwtp.org

August 14, 2016

“You are free to go to your temples; you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”

                    – Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founding father of Pakistan (Aug, 1947)

“We are completely insecure here. We are looted, but our voice is not heard by the people in the saddle, our temples are attacked in broad daylight, but no one takes action, our girls are kidnapped and forcibly converted only to hear more empty promises of justice,”

                                     – Ajeet Kumar,a Hindu in Sindh, Pakistan (Dec, 2014)
Ironic, isn’t it?

Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another individual or group. But, in this case, it is religious persecution! Persecution of religious minorities in conservative Islamic Pakistan is something that is not unheard of. Violence and atrocities against the minority communities of Sindh have been persistent for many decades and the Hindu minority community, in particular, has always been treated like savages. It is no longer a secret from anyone that basic fundamental rights and religious freedom have still been denied to the minorities in Pakistan.

When did this all begin?

From a mighty 16 percent in the year 1946, the Hindu population has come down to a mere 1.3 percent in 1951. Surprisingly, the decimation took just 5 years not 60. Since 1951, the Hindu population in Pakistan has more or less hovered around the same percentage. And yet, this diminutive population has been subjected to hardships, conversions and assaults. The position of Hindus in Pakistan is such that they fear to openly accept their community. Many of them, who were present in Pakistan during the partition of 1947, either escaped or were tragically succumbed to genocide. This extremely low profile existence of Pakistani Hindus not only affects their self-esteem but also, reminds them that are not a part of the nation and belong to a country. This has further resulted in the misrepresentation of the actual number of Hindus in Pakistan. As a result, there are no documents that can state the accurate percentage of Hindu population in Pakistan.

Many of them, who were present in Pakistan during the partition of 1947, either escaped or were tragically succumbed to genocide. This extremely low profile existence of Pakistani Hindus not only affects their self-esteem but also, reminds them that are not a part of the nation and belong to a country. This has further resulted in the misrepresentation of the actual number of Hindus in Pakistan. As a result, there are no documents that can state the accurate percentage of Hindu population in Pakistan. However, the ‘98 census of Pakistan recorded less than 2.5 million Hindus.

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Hate curriculum for youth !

“The Hindu belief was that only a Hindu nation could live in the Indian subcontinent. Other nations should become a part of the Hindu nation or leave India. Many Hindu extremist parties such as the Arya Samaj were working against Muslims since the nineteenth century and even after fifty years after the creation of Pakistan, these organizations continue working to erase the Muslims existence from the region.” 

– content from class 8 school textbook from the chapter, ‘The Ideology of Pakistan’

Teacher paly the role of second parents to children and the school becomes their second home. It is believed that a young mind is the most vulnerable and creating impression on young minds are easier than embedding biased thoughts in adults. It seems Pakistan regime knows this too well.

”Religious minorities are often portrayed as inferior or second-class citizens who have been granted limited rights and privileges by generous Pakistani Muslims, for which they should be grateful,”

– a report by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.

The Islamization of school textbooks began under the reign of army dictator General of Pakistan Zia-ul-Haq. Hate literature has constantly been agitated by various religious-political groups that spat venom on non-Muslims in the country. The culture of political Islam or Islamism and Jihad in the 1980s also led to the sweeping circulation of anti-minority/ Muslim propaganda. The amount of cash spent by Muslim extremist organisations to produce such offensive literature continues to run into millions of rupees every week.

school girls in Pakhtunkhwa via Wikipedia.org
school girls in Pakhtunkhwa. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The Pakistan Blasphemy laws?

“90 year-old Pakistani Hindu, Chacha Gokal Das was thrashed in public by a local policeman for eating rice before the end of Islamic fast”

A few decades back, a Pakistani dictator passed an ordinance Ehtiram-e-Ramadan. This Ordinance prohibits an individual to eat or drink in the public place during fasting hours. It also prohibits the restaurants, hotels or any food outlet to serve during fasting hours.
In other words, it prohibits all non-Muslims from eating in public during fasting hours and curtails the fundamental freedom of all non-Muslims in Pakistan.

In another instance, on July 27, 2016, two young Hindu males were shot by members of a mob at a tea stall in Mirpur Mathelo, in the Ghotki district of Pakistan’s Sindh province. According to HAF report, the incident occurred shortly after a Hindu male from the area who was allegedly converted to Islam a few months back was handed over to authorities by a mob for allegedly burning pages of the Quran.

The Blasphemy Laws in the Pakistan Penal Code are rooted deeply to protect the Islamic authority against any religion, providing penalties that can even lead to a death sentence.

From 1984 to 2004, 5,000 cases of blasphemy were registered in Pakistan out of which 964 people were charged and accused of blasphemy- 479 Muslims, 340 Ahmadis, 119 Christians, 14 Hindus and 10 others. Thirty-two people charged with blasphemy had been murdered extra-judicially, which means, outside the authority of a court. 86 percent of all the cases have been reported in Punjab alone. Out of all Muslim nations, Pakistan has the strictest anti-blasphemy laws. An accusation of blasphemy generally subjects the accused to harassment, life-threats and assaults. (data from Pakistanblasphemylaw.org)

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the Shri Rama Pir Mandir in Karachi via hafsite.org

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Temple massacre in Pakistan !

“Muslims attacked more than 30 Hindu temples across Pakistan today, and the Government of this overwhelmingly Muslim nation closed offices and schools for a day to protest the destruction of mosque in India”,

NYtimes (’96)

An ancient Hindu temple in this northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar was allegedly demolished secretly in the name of repair with a commercial building set to come up on its land.

“There was no temple there. There were just Hindu gods present inside the houses”, a DSP after demolition of a century-old temple in Karachi.   – Express Tribune, December 2, 2012

Of the 300 Hindu temples that Pakistan inherited since partition, hardly three dozen have managed to survive. Most of them are in ruins and is set to vanish with the passage of time if the attention is not paid for their maintenance. Most of the ancient Hindu temples that have a historical value attached to it have gone missing as well.

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Pakistani Hindus sit next to a demolished Hindu temple in Karachi via bbc.co.uk

Has Indophobia turned to Hinduphobia?

Indophobia refers to hostility towards the Indian culture and its people. Anti-Indian sentiments combined with anti-Hindu preconception have existed in Pakistan since its birth. Hindus in Pakistan have never been seen as the citizen of Pakistan, but thought of as Indians. This is the reason perhaps, a decision that goes even slightly against Pakistan in India, results in a nationwide purge against  Pakistani Hindus!

Following the demolition of Babri masjid, mobs led by Muslim fanatics destroyed almost all the temples in the city and plundered Hindu localities. A motorcade led by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam leader burnt six women and children to death. There was the massacre of Hindus in the far abandoned areas of Balochistan as well.

In 2014, hundreds of angry Pakistanis attacked a Hindu temple and set it on fire in southern Pakistan following a rumor that a member of the Hindu community had desecrated the Quran. The Hindu Panchayat Council, a representative body of Hindu population, later appealed to all Hindus in the region to keep a low profile while celebrating their most important festivals like Holi and Diwali.

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In the present day too, the persecution of Hindus occur freely in many Muslim nations. Thousands of temples have been burnt and demolished at different places. But no media covers the story. However, one mosque was demolished in India and it qualified as “national shame”.

 The only Truth we know-
“I am a Pakistani Hindu women. So what business do I have missing Eid? ..At least in Pakistan, Eid and Diwali have much in common. Both are marked by an abundance of mithai (sweets). It is customary to wear new clothes if one can afford them, like Eid it is tradition to give presents on Diwali too. Every year, my family welcomes our friends over for Diwali, and on Eid, we visit our Muslim friends’ houses”
– A Hindu women from Pakistan on Eid via (the Dawn)

Every Ramzan, many Hindus residing in Pakistan fast and celebrate Eid. Like Diwali, it is a time for celebration and happy moments with family for many Hindus in Pakistan. Despite such approach by many Hindus in Pakistan, the situation remains more or less the same.

Every year more than 5,000 Hindus migrate from Pakistan to India. The Modi Government has taken a huge step ahead to recognise thousands of refugees from Pakistan, who continue to stay in the borders of Rajasthan and Gujarat. 

Despite such efforts, it barely makes any difference for millions of Hindus on the other side, who are still persecuted every day, in the hands of extremists. The brutalities of Pakistan’s military dictatorships and the Islamist is beyond description. Steps should definitely be taken by governments of both countries to STOP this SILENT GENOCIDE ONCE AND FOR ALL !!

– prepared By Yajush Gupta , Twitter: @yajush_gupta

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Hinduism is Not an Official or Preferred Religion in Any Country of The World, Says a New Report

Though Hinduism is the third largest religion of the world, it is not the official state religion of any country according to a Pew Research Center Report

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Hinduism
Hinduism is not an official religion of any country in the world. Instagram.
  • No country has declared Hinduism as its official state religion – despite India being an influential Hindu political party
  • Hinduism is not an official or preferred religion in any country of the world, according to a Pew Research Center report.
  • 53% of 199 nations considered in the study don’t have an official religion
  • 80 countries are assigned either an “official religion” or “preferred religion”

Nevada, USA, October 16: Hinduism is the primeval and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion followers of moksh (liberation) being its utmost desire of life. India is among the category of nations where the government do not have an official or preferred religion.

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank headquartered in Washington DC that aims to inform the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.

The report states that a country’s official religion is regarded as a legacy of its past and present privileges granted by the state. And a few other countries fall on the other side of the gamut, and propagate their religion as the ‘official religion’, making it a compulsion for all citizens.

It adds up on the context of allocation that more than eight-in-ten countries (86%) provide financial support or resources for religious education programs and religious schools that tend to benefit the official religion.

Hinduism
Islam is the most practiced official religion of the world. Instagram.

Commenting on Hinduism, the report states:

In 2015, Nepal came close to enshrining Hinduism, but got rejected of a constitutional amendment due to a conflict between pro-Hindu protesters and state police.

Although India has no official or preferred religion as mentioned in the Constitution,it was found by PEW that in India the intensity of government constraints and social antagonism involving religion was at a peak. “Nigeria, India, Russia, Pakistan and Egypt had the highest levels of social hostilities involving religion among the 25 most populous countries in 2015. All fell into the “very high” hostilities category,” the report added.

As per the 2011 census, it was found that 79.8% of the Indian population idealizes Hinduism and 14.2% practices to Islam, while the rest 6% pursuit other religions.

While Hinduism stands up with the majority, Article 25 of the Constitution of India contributes secularism allowing for religious freedom and allows every Indian to practice his/her religion, without any intervention by the community or the government.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, applauded the Hindu community for their benefaction to the society and advised Hindus to concentrate on inner purity, attract spirituality towards youth and children, stay far from the greed, and always keep God in the life.

According to Pew, these are “places where government officials seek to control worship practices, public expressions of religion and political activity by religious groups”.

-by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram.  She can be reached @tweet_bhavana

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Paintings Which Beautifully Depict Scenes From Ramayana

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Ramayana
Ram lifting the bow during Sita Swayambar. Wikimedia Commons.

Ramayana, the ancient Indian epic which describes the narrative of Ayodhya Prince lord Rama’s struggles. The struggles include- exile of 14 years, abduction of his wife Sita, reaching Lanka, destruction of the evil. It is strongly ingrained in the Indian culture, especially, the Hindu culture since a long time. Hindus celebrate Diwali based on the narratives of Ramayana.

The story of Ramayana gives out the beautiful message that humanity and service to the mankind is way more important than kingdom and wealth. Below are five paintings describing the scenes from Ramayana:

1. Agni Pariksha in Ramayana

Ramayana
Agni Pariksha. Wikimedia.

When Lord Rama questions Sita’s chastity, she undergoes Agni Pariksha, wherein, she enters a burning pyre, declaring that if she has been faithful to her husband then the fire would harm her. She gets through the test without any injuries or pain. The fire God, Agni, was the proof of her purity. Lord Rama accepts Sita and they return to Ayodhya. 

2. Scene From The Panchavati Forest

Ramayana
scene from the panchavati forest. wikimedia.

The picture describes a scene from the Panchavati forest. It is believed that Lord Rama built his forest by residing in the woods of Panchavati, near the sources of the river Godavari, a few miles from the modern city of Mumbai. He lived in peace with his wife and brother in the forest.

3. Hanuman Visits Sita

Ramayana
Hanuman meets Sita. Wikimedia.

Hanuman reaches Lanka in search of Sita. At first, he was unable to find Sita. He later saw a woman sitting in Ashok Vatika, drowned in her sorrows, looked extremely pale. He recognized her. After seeing the evil king, Ravana making her regular visit to Sita, he hid somewhere in the Vatika. After Ravana left, Hanuman proved Sita that he is Rama’s messenger by showing her his ring. He assured her that Rama would soon come to rescue her. Before leaving Lanka, he heckled Ravana. Agitated by Hanuman’s actions, Ravana ordered to set Hanuman’s tail on fire. With the burning tail, Hanuman set the entire city on fire.

 

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Exploring the Faces of Faith and Devotion: 7 Principal Gods and Goddesses of Hinduism

Foremost among the several gods and goddesses of Hinduism are the Trimurti; Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh, the holy triad that signify supreme divinity in Hinduism – the creater, sustainer and destroyer of the world

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Are you familiar with the various gods and goddesses of Hinduism? Pixabay

New Delhi, October 9, 2017 : Devout Hindus have a god for every occasion and every day – over 33 million, according to popular beliefs. While people of other religions often interpret them as fictional characters, the multiple gods and goddesses of Hinduism are held with utmost devotion and sincerity by the believers.

Ours is a polytheistic religion – in other words, a myriad of gods and goddesses of Hinduism. Foremost among the several gods and goddesses of Hinduism are the Trimurti; Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh, the holy triad that signify supreme divinity in Hinduism – the creator, sustainer and destroyer of the world. These divine forces are known to appear in different avatars, embodied by different gods and goddesses.

In Hinduism, Lord Brahma is the creator of the Universe and the first member of the holy trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh). However, he is not worshiped as Vishnu or Shiva with only one temple dedicated to him, the Pushkar temple of Rajasthan.

Here are some of the many gods and goddesses of Hinduism.

1. Vishnu

Vishnu is the second member of the holy Hindu triad, who sustains the entire world – Vishnu is believed to return to the earth during distressed times to restore the balance between good and evil.

gods and goddesses of Hinduism
Lord Vishnu. Wikimedia

Believed to have incarnated nine times, Vishnu symbolizes the principles of order, righteousness, and truth. His associate is Lakshmi, the goddess of family life and prosperity.

Vishnu is always depicted with a blue-colored human body with four hands, each of which carries four different objects – a conch, chakra, lotus flower and mace. The god is shown to ride the Garuda, an eagle.

So far, Vishnu has appeared on earth in various incarnations. These include fish, turtle, boar, Narsimha (half lion, half man), Vamana (dwarf sage with the ability to grow), Parsuram, Ram, Krishna and Buddha. Devotees believe he will re-incarnate in a last avatar, popularly known as ‘Kalki’, close to the end of this world.

Hindus who worship Vishnu are primarily known as Vaishnava and regard him as the greatest god.

2. Shiva

One of the members of the holy Hindu trinity, Lord Shiva is as the god of destruction, so that the world may be recreated by Brahma. Thus, his destructive powers are perceived as regenerative: necessary to make renewal possible.

Known by different names like Mahadeva, Nataraja , Pashupati, Vishwanath and Bhole Nath, Shiva is known to have untamed enthusiasm, which drives him to extremes in conduct. It is his relationship with wife Parvati which established the balance. While other gods and goddesses are represented in glorious avatars, Shiva is dressed in plan animal skin and usually sits in a yogic aasana.

gods and goddesses of hinduism
God Shiva, Wikimedia

Shiva is often addressed as the Lord of Dance, with the rhythm of the dance believed to be symbolic of the balance in the universe, masterfully held by Shiva. His most significant dance form is the Tandav.

Hindus who worship Shiva as their primary god are known as Shaivites.


3. Lakshmi

One of the most popular goddesses of Hindu mythology, Lakshmi gets hers name from the Sanskrit word ‘lakshya’, meaning ambition or purpose. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, prosperity and purity and is the associate of Vishnu.

Lakshmi is believed to reside in places of hard work, and sincerity, However, the goddess leaves whenever an individual is overcome with greed or malice or when these qualities are not evident anymore. Hindus believe Sita is an incarnation of Lakshmi. Hence, they worship the goddess of prosperity primarily during Diwali, which commemorated the Hindu epic Ramayana.

Gods and goddesses of hinduism
Goddess Lakshmi. Wikimedia

Lakshmi is widely represented as an enchanting woman with four arms, settled or standing on a lotus flower.

Devout Hindus worship Lakshmi at temples and inside homes alike, and believe worshipping her with utmost sincerity blesses an individual with success and fortune.


4. Ganesha

The pot bellied, elephant-headed god Ganesha, also known as Ganpati, Vinayak and Binayak, is the son of Shiva and Parvati. one of the most popular gods and goddesses of Hinduism, Ganesha is revered as the remover of all obstacles, which is why his presence is first acknowledged before beginning any new work.

The lord of success and wealth, Ganesha is also the patron of knowledge and learning; devotees believe he wrote down parts of the Hindu epic Mahabharata with his broken tusk.

gods and goddesses of hinduism
Ganesh Puja. Wikimedia

Ganesha is typically depicted as a pot-bellied, elephant-headed red colored god, with four arms and a broken tusk. This head is believed to characterize the atma or the soul and the body represents the maya or mankind’s earthly existence. The rats, which can gnaw their way through every hardship, are believed to symbolize Ganesha’s ability to destroy all obstacles.

Lord Ganesha is shown riding mouse, which can gnaw their way through every hardship, are believed to symbolize Ganesha’s ability to destroy all obstacles.


5. Krishna

Believed to be the most popular and the most powerful avatar of Vishnu, Krishna is revered as the Supreme Being or the Purana Purushottam out of a list of several hundred gods and goddesses of Hinduism, by several devout Hindus. One of the most loved and mischievous gods, Krishna means ‘black’ and can be believed to denote mysteriousness.

In Hinduism, Krishna takes several different roles- that of a hero, leader, protector, philosopher, teacher and a friend and is believed to have lived on earth between 3200 – 3100 BC. His birth is widely celebrated on the midnight of Ashtami during the month of Shravan, and is called Janmashthami.

gods and goddesses of Hinduism
Picture of idols of Lord Krishna and Radha, decorated for Janmashtami. Wikimedia

Stories of Krishna’s birth, childhood and youth and widely read and circulated, with every mother wanting to have a child like him. His raas with Radha is also remembered widely.

Krishna is held with utmost reverence for his role as the charioteer of Arjuna, as explained in the Mahabharata. It was in the middle of this war that Krishna delivered his famous advice about ‘Nishkam Karma’ which propagated action without attachment, which formed the basis of the Bhagwat Gita.

Krishna is extremely fond of white butter and there are several stories about how he stole butter from gopis throughout his childhood. He is depicted as a dark and extremely handsome, usually depicted with a flute which he used for its seductive powers.


6. Ram

Maryada Purushottam Ram is the ideal avatar of Vishnu. An epitome of chivalry, virtues and ethical demeanor, Ram is the seventh incarnation of Vishnu who is believed to have taken birth to eradicate all evils from the world.

gods and goddesses of Hinduism
Ram Darbar. Wikimedia

Unlike all other gods and goddesses of Hinduism, Ram is believed to be a historical character, instead of an imaginary figure. The Hindu epic Ramayana is a retelling and celebration of Ram’s life – a tale of his fourteen years in exile with his wife and brother.

Ram’s birthday is celebrated as Ramnavmi, wherein devotees invoke him with religious chants to attain his blessings shield. The festival of lights, Diwali, which is one of the major festivals in Hinduism, is also observed to celebrate the return of Ram, Laksham and Sita back to Ayodhya after an exile of fourteen years.

Ram bears a dark complexion to show his resemblance to Vishnu and his other avatar Krishna, and is almost always depicted with a bow and arrow in his hands and a quiver on his back. Ram also wears a tilak on his forehead. Accompanying the statues of Ram are idols of his wife Sita, brother Lakshman and the celebrated monkey-god Hanuman, who together combine the Ram Darbar.

7. Saraswati

Daughter of Shiva and Durga, and the consort of Brahma, Saraswati is revered as the goddess of wisdom, learning, speech and music. She is the goddess of knowledge and arts. Devotees often worship the deity before commencing any educational work- books and stationary items are often revered as Saraswati is believed to reside in them.

Saraswati Vandana, religious chants dedicated to the goddess of music often begin and end all Vedic lessons. The goddess also plays songs of wisdom, affection and life on the veena, a string instrument.

gods and goddesses of hinduism
Sarswati, Wikimedia Commons

Saraswati is visually represented in pure white attire and rides a peacock, with a lotus in one hand and sacred scriptures in the other. She also has four hands that signify the four aspects of learning- mind, intellect, alertness, and ego.

Out of all the 33 million gods and goddesses of Hinduism, devout Hindus believe only Saraswati can grant them moksha- the ultimate emancipation of the soul.