Tag Archives: Castes

Scheduled castes give voice to woes

SADIQABAD – Arjun Das Advocate, chairman of Pakistan Meghwar Council, has regretted that the representative of a caste having only 3,500 votes is present in the National Assembly but the scheduled castes which have 1.4 million votes has no representative in the assembly on the 10 seats reserved for minorities in Pakistan.

Likewise in Sindh province, 75 percent people of the minority belonged to the scheduled castes while their no representative is present in the Sindh Assembly and the same situation was in the Senate, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and the Balochistan Assembly. He said that it was proved that the process of getting representatives from the minorities in the assemblies was non-democratic, discriminatory and unjust. Therefore, he demanded, the method should be changed immediately. He also said that the communities’ members belonged to their respective parties and they do not represent the public thus they had no courage to raise a voice for the communities’ welfare nor they could heel their wounds by solving their problems.

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The fading soul of Pakistan’s diversity – By Zeba T.Hashmi

Around the Lahore Central Railway Station, narrow alleys are like a maze, with hotels and restaurants for passengers coming in from across the country. The visitors from Cholistan were staying in one such building. Their common attire said nothing about their significance. The assertiveness is in their eyes spoke of the hardships they face in the middle of the uninhabited deserts. Through the music they make, they bring their world to life with songs of love, mysticism and sad partings.

A group of singers from the Bheel community were my hosts in one of the rundown hotels where they were staying. A few moments after I entered the room and greeted them, there was music all around, the sadness of the room shattered by the elaborate melodies they made from the stringed Yaktara and the colorful Raanti instruments. Such was the beauty I found in that tiny, unfamiliar room that came to life with music and lively stories, in spite of interruptions by the hotel manager who kept asking us to tone it down.

The members of the Hindu Bheel community are mostly landless, and they are known for their melodies and beautiful traditional musical instruments, ornamented by elaborately embroidered bright colored fabrics. They make their stringed instruments with animal hides and wood, hollowed pipes that are magic for the ear. They are known for their distinctive voice quality and the art of story-telling. Their women wear glass bangles all over their arms and wear colorful Cholis and Ghagharas.

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Pakistan and India: apples and oranges? – Dr Manzur Ejaz

…. Most Pakistanis and Indians equate Pakistan with the Muslim world and start idealising or criticising it, as if religion is the single most important denominator. Pakistanis project themselves to be part of the so-called ummah in self-denial of their own real history to idealise their past and Indians find it convenient to put Pakistan in a religious category and demonise it. Pakistanis believe they are heirs of Muslim rule and their opponents believe in the same notion as well. In short, Pakistani and Indian nationalists agree on this point.

The fact of the matter is that most of the Muslims living in Pakistan are converts of lower layers of different castes. Till the time of the partition their status as a lowly mass of peasants, artisans and labourers continued. Muslim feudal lords mostly owned land and urban centres were completely run by the Hindu elite. Muslims of the present Pakistan had hardly any representation in the business community, bureaucracy, or education. During the entire Muslim rule, their status remained similar to the untouchables who converted to Christianity during the British rule. Therefore, other than a small percentage of Urdu speakers who may have come from the old ruling Muslim elite, it is misleading for the Pakistanis to idealise themselves as heirs to Muslim ruling elites who had descended from Central Asia, Afghanistan, Iran and the Middle East. …

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