Tag Archives: Hindu

The Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity – BJP’s Jaswant revises Jinnah

 

VIEW: BJP’s Jaswant revises Jinnah —Karan Thapar

Jaswant Singh’s view of Jinnah is markedly different to the accepted Indian image. He sees him as a nationalist. In fact, the author accepts that Jinnah was a great Indian. I’ll even add he admires Jinnah and I’m confident he won’t disagree

There’s a book published tomorrow that deserves to be widely read and I want to be the first to draw your attention to it. It’s Jaswant Singh’s biography of Jinnah. Read on and you’ll discover why.

Continue reading The Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity – BJP’s Jaswant revises Jinnah

Welldone Naseem Zehra to discuss on blasphemy law, it is not easy to speak truth in Pakistani (Junooni) soceity

Nice talk show by Naseem Zehra .. it was a pleasant surprise to have such discussion on TV… its not easy to speak truth in a ”junooni” (Pakistani) society. Blasphemy (Toheen) Law should be castoff because it is too easy in Pakistan to accuse anyone of Blasphemy to settle a score.

Courtesy: DunyaTV (Rana Sanaullah, Javed Akram Raja, Tahira Abdullah & Javed Ahmed Ghamdi join Naseem Zehra in Policy Maters 20 November 2010 program to discuss Aasiya Bibi’s death sentence under blasphemy law)

via- Siasat -> YouTube Link 1, 2

Rama Pir Sufi Saint of Sindh and Hind

 

Rama Pir Mandar

– Riaz Sohail, Karachi, Sindh

To read the report in Urdu, please click the following link;

or click the following link;

Courtesy: BBC urdu

http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/story/2008/10/081010_rama_pir_mandar_rh.shtml


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‘Beyond Hindu and Muslim’:

Rethinking Iconographic Models and Symbolic Expressions in Sindh, A Case of the Tradition of Rama Pir

By Sohail Bawani

Images, signs and symbols have always been significant intermediaries between the world and its representation before individuals. These images, signs and symbols portray more than just graphical facts, figures and forms; they are a means towards construction of human perception of ‘reality’: the ‘meaningfulness’ of the material world through the same (Lichty 2003: 1). Similarly, iconography, particularly portraying religious images, had played an important role in understanding and describing human interpretations about things beyond human imaginations, for example the matter of the creation of the universe.

The valley of the Indus River, since the time of its civilization’s peak and through local inhabitants and arrival of Muslims, including the Sufi saints, has been rich in its symbolic expressions and materials related to ‘image writing’; more specifically, within the context of the interaction between ‘Hinduism’ and ‘Islam’ in the Indian subcontinent (Khan 2004: 30). Moreover, not much has been written through the iconographic perspective about the cultural heritage in shape of sacred symbols among the various religious traditions in Sindh today.

With this perspective in mind, this paper is an attempt to explore the visual culture related to a devotional worship through a temple called Rama Pir or Ramdev Pir mandir, situated in Tando Allahyar, Sindh. The first part of this paper briefly describes different aspects of iconographic legends and symbols concurrently ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ in nature related to the famous charismatic figures in Sindh at present. This will be important in contextualizing the above visual culture in the broader context of religious traditions in Sindh. Moreover, the second part will take the tradition of Rama Pir, a Rajput prince-deity, as a case for depicting ‘syncretic’ (‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’) iconographic figure and symbol system. The third part will lead towards the main problem, by arguing as to what extent is it feasible to identify symbols and icons as ‘Hindu’ or ‘Muslim’ by taking the tradition of Rama Pir again as a case. Lastly, this paper will conclude by synthesizing the above part to draw some general principles on the same argument.

‘Neither Hindus nor Muslims’: Iconographic Legends and related Symbolic Expressions in Sindh, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar and Uderolal in Perspective

Richard Burton, in his famous account on Sindh has mentioned some Pirs revered by both Hindus and Muslims, in the portion in which he discusses tasawwuf, Sufism in Sindh (1975: 326). Among those Pirs he mentions Lal Shahbaz Qalandar and Sheikh Tahir containing both identities, i.e. as a Muslim Pir and also as a Hindu saint: Lal Shahbaz Qalandar as Raja Bharatri and Uderolal as Sheikh Tahir (ibid.). It is interesting to note from this observation regarding the names that perhaps it accentuated the perception of a community about a charismatic figure; which could be Muslim or Hindu.

It has been said that before the advent of Lal Shahbaz there was a Shivaite temple located in Sehwan in Sindh, where the shrine of this saint is situated. It might be an ancient pilgrimage center of the Hindus before the erection of the dargah (Boivin 2003: 7). Besides, a saint named Bharatri, an icon of ascetism in Indic traditions said to have been there before the arrival of the famous saint of Sehwan (Boivin 2003: 19); perhaps later became the appellation for Lal Shahbaz by the Hindus. On the other hand, it seems that association of Raja Bharatri, already a known character for Hindus, continued to exist in the form of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar later, as a Muslim Sufi saint. We may observe the impact of these parallel identities even after the demise of the saint-pir. For instance, a Hindu originated man called Lal Das came to Sehwan from Kashmir to pay homage to Qalandar and never went back (Boivin 2003: 13). A dargah of Lal Das was also erected after his death, who was buried rather than cremated. A small population of Hindus frequently visits this ‘Hindu’ shrine (Boivin 2005a: 316). Today, one of the most important rituals performed at the time of the urs (anniversary of a Muslims saint) of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar is the mehndi; an important element for the bride and groom in Indian weddings even in present times. It may come as a surprise that the mehndi ritual is performed by the Thakurs, local Hindu inhabitants, even before the proceedings of the sajjada nashins commence (Boivin 2003: 18-19).

The Indus has been worshipped since the earliest times in the form of water and light by local dwellers. Uderolal has been invoked as the incarnation of the river-god of the Indus and known under various names such as Khwaja Khizr, Darya Shah, Dulah Lal, Amarlal, Zinda Pir and others (Dawani 2002: 63-64). Popular poster art, available at local bazaars and temples represents Uderolal sitting on a fish with his white beard and mustache, resembling that of a Muslim Sufi saint floating on the River Indus. This iconographic description resonates with the continuation of the ‘river-cult’ in the Muslim era in the form of Sheikh Tahir and Khwaja Khizr; perhaps by those proselytes who still venerated Hindu sacred spaces even after becoming Muslims. This fact can be understood by the architectural structure of the shrine of Uderolal; situated in Hala, near the Uderolal railway station, Sindh. This shrine-complex was built under the supervision of the Mughals having Kashmiri and Persian importation of design (Dawani 2002: 67). This shrine-complex has both a temple and a mausoleum. A wooden Samadhi has been erected in memory of the river-saint including his image in the temple, however, no idol can be found. An oil lamp burns there regularly (Dawani 2002: 68). After this observation, one may ask, which structure is older, the mausoleum or the temple? We may propose tentatively the ‘Mughalization’ of the ‘cult’ of Uderolal after the advent of the Muslims. The restoration of the place into a gigantic structure indicates that the Mughals perhaps attempted to appropriate the spiritual heritage within the Muslim context: continuing the tradition of river-worship by associating a similar figure called Khizr, a wali2 related to the river and a famous symbol among the Sufis; who used to guide their disciples, those not having any formal relationship with a Sufi master, but on their way towards unification with the divine in various Sufi tariqahs.

The Tradition of Rama Pir in Sindh

Rama Pir is popularly known under the name of Ramdev Pir in the Indian subcontinent. In Sindh he is also known as Ramlo Pir; lo with Rama is an expletive rhythmic Sindhi suffix (Boivin 1998b: 28), and Pir, a Persian derivative to denote a saintly figure. Apart from these names, he is also venerated as Baba Ramdev and Ram Shah, probably referring more towards Muslim appellations such as Baba and Shah. It is not far away that at Runicha-Ramdeora, where the main shrine of this saint is located in Pokran, Rajasthan, in India, some Muslim votaries suspect him to be a Muslim saint; whose dargah, later on taken away by the Hindus, was transformed into a temple (Khan 1997: 64).

Present hagiographical accounts depict Ramdev as a Kshatriya Rajput deity-saint and an avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu-Krishna; who miraculously appeared in a cradle where his elder brother Viramdev was sleeping. His father Maharaja Ajmalji (King of Pokran) secured him through a sacred boon conferred by the Lord Krishna. The child was held in awe as he used to perform miracles since an early age. As the legend goes, he killed a demon called Bhero, who used to slaughter and eat the people of that area.

Khan suspects that the present form of the tradition is a transformed version due to many reasons and now turned merely into a ‘bhakti cult’ and a pilgrimage center in Rajasthan; which is a heterogeneous tradition from ‘mainstream Hinduism’ (1997: 62). However, she classifies Ramdev Pir as a guru or a spiritual leader of the ‘cult’ rather than the founder of the ‘sect’; and possibly connected with the Nizari Ismaili dawa: a highly organized proselytizing campaign of the Ismailis to propagate Islam that recognizes the right of authority of the Imams as their sole guide3 (Khan 1997: 60-96). The Ismailis are one of the important facets of Islam related to Shiite ideologies. An alleged Ismaili Pir called Pir Shams was actually responsible for initiating this tradition by proselytizing a lineage of Tanwar Rajput in which Ramdev Pir was an important figure, as the devotional hymns related to Meghwars, the traditional followers of Ramdev, have shown (Khan 1997: 68, 82-82) (Mallison). Ramdev, as a result, happened to be an alleged ‘forgotten’ saint of the Ismailis, who went back to ‘Hinduism’ later on; since Ismaili dawa perhaps could not be able to hold its vigor on the propagating reigns.

It seems that the tradition related to Ramdev Pir in Sindh is a recent phenomenon, not before the twentieth century if we are to consider Aitken’s (1986: 182) remarks on the worship of Ramdev Pir (Bawani 2006: 27). Before Aitken (1986) we are unable to trace any source informing us about this deity-saint. However, according to a popular legend, the tradition of Rama Pir in Sindh starts with his journey towards a place called Umerkot; a desert area of Tharparkar in Sindh, situated in modern day Pakistan. It is believed that he visited this place for his wedding with a Sodha princesses called Netal Devi; Sodhas are a famous tribe that ruled Umerkot around the twelfth century (Chanuriya 2005: 91-102). Historical sources do not conjure up any event like this, though they show strong martial relations between the ruling tribes of Sindh and Rajasthan (Allana 1995: 68) (Butt 2003: 94).

Currently, for the Hindus in Sindh, who are mostly the so called ‘untouchables’, the temple of Rama Pir in Tando Allahyar is one of the third largest pilgrimage centers. It is situated in the midst of the main bazaar near the railway station of Tando Allayar, approximately 20 kilometers from Hyderabad in Sindh, Pakistan. Every year at the time of the annual fair held in the first week of September, this sacred space attracts thousands of devotees who pay homage and visit in fulfillment of their vows. For the votaries, Rama Pir is a savior deity; who also cures every kind of ailment if called upon from the heart. For the staunch bhakt or devotee he is said to appear mysteriously when his followers are faced with a terrible situation.

He has been worshipped as a hero-saint and for the ‘low caste’ Hindu communities as a caste demolisher. More particularly so, due to the suppression of the upper caste Hindu and Muslim feudal, borne by the low caste which forms a considerable number of peasantry and field labour force in various parts of Sindh.

Iconography and Symbolic Expressions

The first impression of the figure of Ramdev is an idol installed in the mandir of Tando Allahyar, which appears more like a Muslim saint riding a white horse. Popular iconography presents him with his beard and mustache like that of a Sufi with a two-sided conical banner in his hand. Traditionally, idol worship is strictly prohibited. It may possibly be related to the nirgun principle: a concept of immaculate god in Indic tradition; or perceived as a Muslim concept of unity of ‘being’. It is however, in recent times that the popular icon of Ramdev Pir has been introduced in Sindh. Before, as some of the devotees suggest, it was only a lamp that was regularly kept burning inside the main areas of the worship.

One of the important symbols related to the tradition of Rama Pir in Sindh is the constantly maintained oil lamp inside the mandir. It is believed that the temple situated in Tando Allahyar was erected when an upper caste Khatri, after the fulfillment of his vow for a child, took this lamp from Runicha; where the main center of pilgrimage of Ramdev Pir is located. Lamps have been kept in all major shrines of the Sufis in Sindh as a sacred object. One is also kept in the shrine of Uderolal already discussed. Moreover, light itself is a popular element in various sacred traditions.

One will feel amazed to observe the building of the temple, which is again close to a structure of a shrine than a temple. Usually, temples of the Hindus have cone-shaped roofs with many of the icons and carved images installed on the walls and on the pillars. However, at the mandir of Rama Pir, arches or mehrabs can be observed from the front view of the temple. Mehrab is thought to be a common characteristic associated with the structural designs of the sacred spaces of the Muslims. Moreover, the use of Hala and ceramic tiles has given this sacred site a traditional Sindhi feel.

Another prominent symbol of the tradition is the foot-print (qadam) and the banner (dhaja). The foot-print is generally painted or woven in the speared-flag mostly accompanied with a crescent and a star. This flag or banner has been carried by the devotees in atonement of a vow. In the context of the Indic tradition, this foot-mark is supposed to be of the Alakh, the formless god of the Jogis (ascetics) or it belonged to Vishnu (The Nirgun Lord), (Khan 1997: 106-107). A similar foot-mark is also common among the Muslims, for instance, the sacred qadam sharif or qadam rasul can be found in Jerusalem that has been ascribed to the prophet of Islam, Muhammad (pbuh); whereas, an impression of his cousin’s foot namely Ali, the first Imam of the Shias, can be observed in the sanctuary dedicated to him near Hyderabad Deccan in India (Schimmel 1994: 3). Moreover, related to the speared-banner is the main alam or banner installed in front of the temple. It has been raised in veneration of Rama Pir at the time of the annual festival where all the devotees take part in the sacred flag ceremony. In the Shiite tradition, one may find a similar vocabulary of alam and a flag with palm and fingers on the top, referring to the numeral five for the Panjetan Paak: the five key figures among the Shias namely, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Hazrat Ali, Bibi Fatima, Imam Hasan and Imam Husain.

An Approach towards Rethinking Iconographic Models and Symbolic Expressions in Sindh: A Case of the Tradition of Rama Pir

The decisive principal thought behind the above discussion has continually focused: interaction between ‘Hinduism’ and ‘Islam’ on different levels; from sharing symbolic expressions to charismatic figures. Experts have tried to understand this phenomenon through different approaches and many theories had been proposed for the same. For instance, this interaction has recently been understood anew by the concept of ‘liminality’4 by Dominique Sila-Khan (2004) in the context of South Asia. The word ‘liminal’ emanates from ‘limen’ – Latin in origin – to mean a ‘boundary’ or a ‘threshold’. However, in the context of South Asia, she has used this concept to articulate the state of shared religious practices among the Hindus and Muslims; for example, rituals, formulas, literature, legends and even religious figures…a state of ‘religious identity’ that is ‘in-between’ and is difficult to draw a margin on to call something or someone a ‘Hindu’ or a ‘Muslim’. With this remark, we can argue the approach in which iconographies and symbol system has been interpreted. For example, what is the criterion that qualifies Ramdev Pir as a Muslim saint? His beard and mustache, which seems ‘Islamic’? Or does the title of Pir makes him eligible? More precisely, we may argue, if iconographic models or symbolic expressions are ‘Hindu’ or ‘Muslim’ in nature?

It will be significant to observe these ‘objects’ (signs, symbols and images) when they became ‘sacred objects’, i.e. a phenomenological approach towards them. In other words, these signs, symbols and images are more ‘cultural’ than ‘religious’. For example, the symbol of the foot-print associated with the tradition of Ramdev Pir and the Muslims is first a natural object, a stone. The use of stone is as ancient as human societies for conveying abstract meanings. Stones have been taken as signs of power and sometimes as eternal strength, perhaps due to the hardness and perpetuity (Schimmel 1994: 1). Moreover, in the Indus Valley, stones are prominent objects of worship related to the mother goddess in the form of rings (Jairazbhoy 1994: 9). The famous practice of worshipping lingum, an important symbol in the Shivaite tradition, is also associated with the stone (Jairazbhoy 1994: 12-13).

Similarly, flags or banners are supposed to be the developed form of rod or wand – which is again a symbol that is derived from the tree – widely used to satisfy superstitions and magical practices in primitive societies. Besides, it has also been thought to increases human power and used as a sign of guidance (Schimmel 1994: 29-30). However, a Peepal tree (ficus religiosa) has been a sacred object depicted in a seal found in the excavations conducted in Mohenjodaro, Sindh. The mother goddess can be seen sitting in its shade (Jairazbhoy 1994: 8). In Sindh, a Sufi master called Pir Jhandewaro (Pir of the flag’) has also been named after the flag (Schimmel 1994: 30).

The same can be said for the architectural design of the sacred spaces that are so-called ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’. Both derive their architectural heritage from neighboring cultures and civilizations. For instance, architecture associated with the Muslim societies is mostly influenced by the Christians, like the Copts or Mozarabs, Jews or the Armenians; who sometimes acted as material and cultural contact agents between Muslims and themselves, by means of commerce (Irwin 1997: 214). Similarly, temple structures in Indic traditions evolved out of the Stupas5, known in India since the first century BC, but possibly were more ancient than the suggested era of their identification. The Stupas were designed to be ‘seen as the image of the cosmos’, again symbolizes a universal phenomenon of encompassing transcendent ‘reality’ through a corporeal object.

We may now conclude that ‘objects’ remain the same but the ‘vision’ or creative imagination have made them abstract and appropriate for the respective ‘religions’, or sacred traditions which are at the core of every religion. And, every religion or sacred tradition internalizes the eternal ‘existential quest’ of human beings; personal search for some questions that transcends reason: to whom I belong? Who is the creator of this universe and how it works? They become ‘meaningful’ through various religious visions by materialization of the same through cultural items. Since, ‘…vision is implicit in culture’ but it is encapsulated into social and cultural practices; similarly, symbolic expressions and images are encoded values of the religious visions, more or less common in every human culture but they vary in their meanings.

Courtesy: http://www.nuktaartmag.com/Nukta/GeneralContent/View/110

Poonam, a Hindu girl, was abducted to be forcefully ‘converted to Islam’

13-year-old Hindu Dalit girl abducted, forcibly converted to Islam …

Karachi, Sept 11 (ANI): An incident involving forced religious conversion of a 13-year-old Hindu girl belonging to a Dalit community has surfaced in Lyari Town of Pakistan.

The girl- Poonam- was kidnapped from the neighbourhood in Lyari Town on Wednesday, and the neighbours informed her family of her presence at a Madrassa in the town, the Daily Times quoted the girl’s uncle, Bhanwroo, as saying.

He said that when the family went to the Madrassa, they found out that “she was very scared and under the influence of maulvis. She told us they will not let her go, so she will stay with them as a Muslim.”

The family tried to lodge an FIR of kidnapping at Chakiwara Police Station, but the policemen refused to register the case.

Read more >> ThaindianNews

Dalit dog – by Dr Manzur Ejaz

A distinction should be made between feudalism as an economic phenomenon and feudal culture, which can retain its grip for a very long time; the feudal culture can survive or take other forms long after the economic base has been changed from feudalism to industrialisation

According to a BBC report, in Madhya Pradesh, India, a dog named Shero was thrown out by his owner, Amrat Lal, because he was fed by a Dalit (untouchable) woman, Sunita. Further, the donating Dalit was fined Rs 15,000 by the village panchayat (court) for feeding the dog of a higher caste Rajput Hindu. Now the poor dog has been left tied to a tree in a predominantly Dalit area and Ms Sunita has lodged a complaint in the police station against the village court and the matter is being handled by the authorities. …

Read more >> WICHAAR

Ayodhya Verdict: Musings of a Now Hardened Agnostic – By Yoginder Sikand

As neither a Hindu nor a Muslim, but, rather, now a hardened agnostic who suspects there is an invisible force behind the universe but is fully distrustful of all religions, I could not be bothered in the least if a temple or a mosque or a profane structure—or, indeed, nothing at all—is now to occupy the disputed spot in Ayodhya. As far as I know, the force that I want to believe exists and pervades the entire universe and beyond is supremely indifferent to who the new owners of the contested spot are to be. This force knows no distinction of religion, caste, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, and so on and so forth. For all I care, you can smear your head with ash and fall flat in front of the toy-like idols that now stand on the disputed spot and mumble mantras in incomprehensible Sanskrit, or you can don a skull-cap and bend and bow while muttering phrases in Arabic of which you understand not a word if the mosque that once stood on the spot is reconstructed. The universal force I sort of suspect exists is, I know, supremely unaffected by what you do on that measly bit of earth. …

Read more >> indianmuslimobsever

Devdasi prostitutes in India

Prostitutes of god

Journalist Sarah Harris has made a documentary about temple prostitutes in south India -Devadasi girls are dedicated to a Hindu deity and spend their lives selling sex.

– Interview by Matilda Battersby

…. Living a normal life in India after having been a Devadasi prostitute is extremely, extremely hard because they’re seen as damaged goods. In India marriage is everything. If there’s any suggestion that a girl has had sex before marriage then she’s ostracised from society. Women are still stoned to death in some villages for those kinds of transgressions. So it’s very difficult for them to rebuild their lives.

Read more >> The Independent

14-15 August : Independence Day – TRYST WITH DESTINY

TRYST WITH DESTINY

by: Deepak Mirchandani, Toronto, Canada

…I am a Sindhi – a Hindu Sindhi, with roots in Hyderabad, Sindh, in modern day Pakistan. I cannot celebrate the partition – because the partition stands as a reminder that my family was uprooted. Having history embedded in the motherland of Sindh for 11 generations, my parents had to flee angry mobs. And what reason do I have to celebrate the freedom of India? The generation before me spent time in refugee camps, with no sanitation. They begged and pleaded the government of India for assistance, and received none. Sindhis, being who they are, with a spirit of adventure and resilience to the harshest environments, took matters into their own hands, scattered the world over, and made fortunes that most only fantasize about.

Hindu Sindhis don’t have a homeland in India. Where is Sindhi culture heading in India? Towards extinction, in my opinion. My generation, and the one after me, can barely speak the language, let alone read and write it. Who are Shah Abdul Latif, Sachal Sarmast to us? Some obscure names in Sindhi Literature.

While most Hindu Sindhis the world over rejoice during India’s Independence Day, I for one, shed tears for the lives lost during the mayhem of 1947, on both sides of the great divide. I shed tears for never having set foot on the sacred soil of Mother Sindh. I shed tears that future generations will have but a fleeting glimpse of where their heritage is from. I shed tears because my culture is slipping away from me.

But, I rejoice that I am a Sindhi. I rejoice that I belong to one of the richest cultures in the world. I rejoice that we have a rich literary background in the Sindhi language. I rejoice for Sindhi values. I rejoice for Sindhis being a kind and compassionate people.

And yet, I am saddened that I don’t have a homeland. My fellow Sindhis, the future of Sindh has been entrusted to you. Stand tall, stand proud of the soil of Sindh. I repeat this story time and time again. I once asked a fellow Sindhi what it is that he likes most about Sindh. His reply – “the fragrance of the soil after a rainfall.” Alas, will I ever experience that fragrance?

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists, e-groups, August 13, 2009

Losing Faith In Pakistan: A Nation Of Human Bombs

The War within Islam – Losing Faith In Pakistan: A Nation Of Human Bombs

By Aatish Taseer

These shrines are a memorial to the hybridity of the land, if not the state, of Pakistan. Until Partition, before the exodus of Pakistan’s Hindu and Sikh populations, they were places (as they still are in India) where Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims worshipped together. Behind each one—formed out of more than six centuries of religious reform, which created humanistic, more tolerant hybrids of India’s religions—would be some tale built around a local saint that celebrated the plurality of the land. To adhere to the spirit of these shrines was to know that deeper than any doctrinal difference was a shared humanity; it was almost to feel part of a common religion; the spread of this shared culture through Punjab, Sindh and Kashmir constituted an immense human achievement. And for as long as the plurality remained, the religion remained, seemingly immune to fanaticism, incapable of being reduced to bigotry and prejudice. But once the land of Pakistan, after Partition, was drained of its diversity (and this constituted no less a shock than if London or New York were suddenly cleansed of their non-white populations) , the religion lost its deepest motivation, which was to bring harmony to a diverse and plural population. The amazing thing was that even after Partition, when the land of Pakistan was no longer so plural, it was this religion, full of mysticism, poetry and song, that clung on as the dominant faith of the people of Pakistan. …

As the attacks on shrines like Data Sahib multiply, as the Americans discover that nothing will be achieved by throwing money at Pakistan, as India realizes that Pakistan’s hatred of it is not rational, that the border issue with Kashmir cannot alone be the cause of such passion, as the world begins to see that Pakistan’s problems are not administrative, Pakistanis will have to find a new narrative. The sad truth is that they are still a long way from discovering the true lesson behind the experience of the past 60 years: that it is of language, dress, notions of social organization, of shared literatures and customs, of Sufi shrines and their stories, that nations are made, not religion. That has proved to be too thin a glue and 60 years later, it has left millions of people dispossessed and full of hateful lies: a nation of human bombs.

Read more >> NewAgeIslam

Sindh – Entering another Realm- Mast Qalandar!

sehwa-sharif-festivalPakistan’s Sufis Preach Faith and Ecstasy

By Nicholas Schmidle
I stopped taking notes, closed my eyes and began nodding my head. As the drummer built toward a feverish peak, I drifted unconsciously closer to him. Before long, I found myself standing in the middle of the circle, dancing beside the man with the exuberant earlobes.

“Mast Qalandar!” someone called out. The voice came from right behind me, but it sounded distant. Anything but the drumbeat and the effervescence surging through my body seemed remote. From the corner of my eye, I noticed photographer Aaron Huey high-stepping his way into the circle. He passed his camera to Kristin. In moments, his head was swirling as he whipped his long hair around in circles.

“Mast Qalandar!” another voice screamed.

If only for a few minutes, it didn’t matter whether I was a Christian, Muslim, Hindu or atheist. I had entered another realm. I couldn’t deny the ecstasy of Qalandar. And in that moment, I understood why pilgrims braved great distances and the heat and the crowds just to come to the shrine. While spun into a trance, I even forgot about the danger, the phone calls, the reports of my disappearance and the police escort.

Continue reading Sindh – Entering another Realm- Mast Qalandar!

Hate crime

Hindus in Sindh attacked after boy drinks from mosque cooler

by Ahmed Makhdoom

Allow me to make a correction here. Sindhi Hundus and Christians are not ‘minorities!’ They are the indigenous inhabitants and natives of Indus civilisation, know as the Moenjodaro Civilisation, which we proudly call as our motherland, Sindh! Many Sindhis did not leave at the time of partition, they preferred to live and die in Sindh!

Religion – is something personal and it is not for to use against others – therefore attacking an innocent boy on drinking water is a hate crime!

And, let us remind the world that Sindhis – irrespective of their caste, creed and religion, they are against all kinds of hate crime.

The Common Bases for Hindu-Muslim Dialogue

by Maulana Waris Mazhari

(Translated from Urdu by Yoginder Sikand)

The first step in the quest for inter-community dialogue is the search for common ground. Religious and cultural differences divide Hindus and Muslims from each other. This diversity need not necessarily be seen as intimidating, however. In fact, the Quran explains that diversity is natural. The Quran instructs us thus:

‘If God so willed, He could make you all one people’ (16:93).

Commenting on the above-quoted Quranic verse, the noted Islamic scholar Imam Razi writes in his Tafsir-e Kabirthat this refers to the fact of diversity of religions and customs among human beings.

Nature desires diversity, not uniformity. That is why we should aim not at eliminating these differences but, rather, to tolerate them in accordance with the demands of Nature.

Man is a social animal. It is ingrained in his nature to seek to live in peace with others. That is why there are no two communities in the entire world that have nothing in common between them. It was for the common purpose of protection, peace and justice that the Prophet entered into a treaty or pact with the Jews of Medina. This is an instance of practical inter-community dialogue based on common values and concerns.

For full article please click the following link;

Courtesy: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicSociety_1.aspx?ArticleID=2945

PAKISTAN: A Hindu teenager is told to marry her alleged rapist; police and courts fail to act

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned that four men who allegedly assisted in the rape of a young Hindu girl have been granted pre-arrest bail by a session court. Rape is a non-bailable offense in Pakistan and this is against criminal procedure and the law. Attempts by the family to file an FIR and obtain a medical report have been obstructed by local police, who later arrested the victim’s father on a false offense. Meanwhile members of an illegal tribal court have reportedly proposed that the victim marry her rapist and convert to Islam. She has threatened public self immolation if the perpetrators are not arrested and brought to justice by the authorities….

The AHRC received frequent reports of forced marriages of minority girls with Muslim men in areas along the Indian borders that have large Dalit Hindu populations, such as Thar Parker, Nagar Parker, Umer Kot, Mithi and Karoonjhar. The term Dalits are members of a scheduled caste, and due to the position of many as bonded labourers, female Dalits are particularly vulnerable to abuse. It is not unknown for Muslim seminaries to urge the forced conversion of Dalit women.

The AHRC has documented several such cases, including UA-008-2006 and UG-020-2006 and is aware of many more, in which Hindu scheduled caste and Christian women and girls have been abducted by Muslim men and raped. When confronted by the authorities perpetrators are often able to produce a marriage certificate from a seminary confirming the marriage and conversion of the victim. The girls are often taken out of contact with their families entirely, and various cases have been documented in which the courts have condoned such marriages with girls below the age of consent.

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-027- 2010

Pakistani Hindu Migrants Prefer To Stay Back India

Jodhpur: “We Hindus in Pakistan are being discriminated against, tortured and harassed,” complains Ram Lal, a 45-year-old migrant from Pakistan, one of the estimated 10,000 migrants from that country settled in and around here in the desert state of Rajisthan. He come to Jodhpur with his family of five over six months ago when, he says, things started to worsen.” I do not want to go back… being a Hindu, there are so many problems for you in Pakistan,” Ram Lal told IANS, adding that only one member of his family, his brother, now lives in Pakistan

Continue reading Pakistani Hindu Migrants Prefer To Stay Back India

Pakistan Punjab Police erased Kalima

YouTube source – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqYyHh1MTw4

NEWS EXPRESS CHANNEL DISCUSSES ERASING OF KALIMA BY PAKISTANI AUTHORITIES (ISLAM AHMADIYYA) Ahmdi mosque destroyed

Description- URDU/Hindi: Pakistani TV hosts Mr Mubashir Luqman discusses the recent persecution against Ahmadi Muslims where Pakistan Punjab Police erased Kalima from Ahmadiyya mosque and other Islamic inscriptions from Ahmadi houses. The logic given by the panel justifying these unIslamic acts is even more irrational than these unholy actions. We thank Mubashir sahib for showing this courage. May Allah reward him for his integrity and honesty.

Courtesy: Wichaar.com

To watch the discussion, please click here

Source – http://www.wichaar.com/videos/ahmdi-mosque-destroyed/news-express-channel-discusses-erasing-of-kalima-by-pakistani-authorities-islam-ahmadiyya-video_9e075493d.html

Mohd Rafi sings Tu Hindu Banega na Musalman Banega

Poet Sahir Ludhianwi, music N. Dutta, actor Manmohan Krishna

A Hindi/Urdu song by Sahir Ludhianvi

Neither Hindu Nor Muslim

Translation by B. R. Gowani

You will not become a Hindu nor a Muslim will you become

of the human progeny you are and a human being you will become

It is wonderful that so far no name you have

and no association with any religion you have

the knowledge that has divided the human beings

no blame on you, for none of that you have ..

Via: Globeistan

Historical Look at Hingol : Hinglaj Devi was last mother queen of Matriarchal era of Indus Valley

Another name of Hinglaj Devi is Goddess Naina which is very akin to Goddess Nania of Sumerian Civilization

by Jagdeesh Ahuja, Hyderabad, Sindh.

Originally Hinglaj has nothing to do with religion or nationalism. Hinglaj is the historical monument of Sindhu Civilization. Hingol was one of the great many kingdoms of Sapta Sindhva (Sindhu des of seven rivers) and Hinglaj Devi was last mother queen of matriarchal era of Indus Valley. Another name of Hinglaj Devi is Goddess Naina which is very akin to Goddess Nania of Sumerian Civilization. The great poet of Indus Valley, Shah Latif called her “Nani Ama(n)” and after then Hinglaj Temple became famous as Temple of Nani Ama(n) especially in the Muslim populace. And Hinglaj Yatra has now got a great new altitude beyond religious divide.

We are unfortunate people who disown our own history. Ironically people of India own our monuments of ancient civilization as their sacred religious shrines and we are ever ready to give up our past and destroy our future. What a great alienation and ignorance of our own history! How can one weigh the advantages of destruction of Harappa, Taxila or Mohen-jo-daro!? Hinglaj is even more ancient than these historical sites. Mehargarh and Hinglaj are the monuments of advent of civilization. Legend of Shiva Parpati explains the transition of matriarchal era to patriarchal era. Shiva is the first male god of Sindhu Civilization whose whole Shakti (Power) was enshrined in his spouse Parpati (Hinglaj Devi) that is why she is also called Shakti Devi. It is well known fact that Shiva was the Lord of Indigenous Dravidian people of Indus Valley. When they were forced to migrate to Ganges Valley by Central Asian Aryan invaders, they continued to worship their Lord Shiva there. Long after the Aryans settled in Sapta Sindhva and owned Shiva along with their Lord Indra (God of Storm), people of Ganges valley started to visit the land of their ancestors. Hence the tradition of Hinglaj Yatra took place.

We must not forget the fact that the word Hindu itself is nothing but Sindhu. The Persians pronounced Sindhu as Hindu. And later Greek invaders pronounced Hindu as Indu, thence words Indus and India came into existence. Due to our ignorance we have lost sense of our history. Religious and nationalistic narrow mindedness has blurred our vision. Hinglaj doesn’t belong to any single religion or nation only, it is a great asset of Indus Valley and heritage of whole humanity, which should be put in the World Heritage list of UNESCO.

Quaid-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah: The Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity

Two Sindhis together, Jinnah & Gandhi

Muhammad Ali Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress expounding ideas of Hindu-Muslim unity and helping shape the 1916 Lucknow Pact with the Muslim League; he also became a key leader in the All India Home Rule. He proposed a fourteen- point constitutional reform plan to safeguard the political rights of all.
Several Muslim leaders persuaded Jinnah to return in 1934 and re-organise the Muslim League. Jinnah embraced political opponents by the goal of self-governance/ 1940 Lahore Resolution. The full council of Muslim League in the leadership of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah had unanimously passed the resolution in 1940 Lahore Resolution later known as Pakistan Resolution. The council of the Muslim league granted only three aspects of governance-currency, foreign affairs, and defense related communication to the federal government and all other aspects to states/ provinces. The League won most Muslim seats in the elections of 1946, the strong reaction of Congress supporters resulted in communal violence across subcontinent. The failure of the Congress-League coalition to govern the country prompted the British to divide the subcontinent.
Unfortunately, after the creation of Pakistan, the 1940 resolution was not implemented in the letter, in spirit to the smaller provinces – Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan – were deprived of all their rights and its people treated as slaves. Due to it, one province of the federation named East Pakistan (Bangladesh) has already seceded from Pakistan.

SINDH THROWN TO WOLVES

AUGUST 15, 1947 -Sixty one years AGO Sindhis were forced to leave their beloved home and migrated to Indian territory. History has not recorded about the exodus and Sindhi sacrifices. Our third and fourth generations are curious to know of the past history and about our ancestors. Please read sixty five pages of history posted on the web site.

PARTITION Of Sub-continent – SINDH THROWN TO WOLVES – Book – From Sindh Story

By Late Professor Kewal R. Malkani

Submitted By Dial V. Gidwani- Sindhu American

Text verified and edited by Dr. Dur Pathan of Gul Hayat Dokri from his archives

The review by Martin Rubin in New york times of September 27,2007 of two new books” India Remembered ” by Pamela Mountbatten, and and “India summers” reveals that Partition of India was the hasty act of the Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten.

Continue reading SINDH THROWN TO WOLVES

Praiseworthy decision: Hindu Gymkhana to be restored to Hindhu community

Hindu Gymkhana to be handed over to Hindu community: a good decision by Sindh government

Sindh Culture and Tourism Minister Sassui Palijo has said that the Hindu Gymkhana will be handed over to the Hindu community after getting it vacated from the National Academy of Performing Arts, which will be shifted to some other place.

http://thenews. jang.com. pk/daily_ detail.asp? id=107408

http://dawn. com/2008/04/18/local12. htm

It is a good decision and one hopes that it would really happen and would not remain just a public relation statement. Sindh government needs to take immediate and comprehensive measures to preserve the national heritage of Sindh and put an end to occupation of historic buildings.

It may be recalled that the previous government had handed over the historic building to Zia Mohiuddin ignoring the protests by the Hindu community and others.

Here is a letter by this scribe published in daily Dawn on 6 September, 2004 on the subject:

http://www.dawn. com/2004/09/06/letted. htm#2

Hindu Gymkhana

A report in a Sindhi daily (Aug 30) says some influential people are trying to take over the historical Hindu Gymkhana building in Karachi. According to the report, some people had acquired two rooms in the building some time back for establishing a dance and music centre.

Now they are trying to occupy the whole building and the provincial culture department is said to have sent a summary in this regard to the chief minister for approval.

According to the report, the city landmark spread over 8,400 sq meters was built in 1927. A noted Shikarpur architect Agha Ahmed Hussain had prepared the design and Seth Ram Gopaldas Mehta was the man behind the project.

After independence, the building housed the offices of the Federal Public Service Commission. It was vacated when the capital was moved to Islamabad in the 1960s.

The Sindh culture Department took the building under its control in 1993 and proclaimed it a heritage site. The department planned to establish a College of Art and Design at the site following the example of the Lahore Arts College . A sum of Rs4.05 million was sanctioned. No one knows the fate of the proposal.

It is a matter of great concern that historical and archaeological sites are being ignored. Many a building has deteriorated, been occupied by people, demolished or desecrated one way or the other.

The government had some time back announced plans to vacate the Pucca Qila, Hyderabad , and restore the great archeological site as a befitting national monument with a museum inside. Nobody knows the fate of that announcement either.

One appeals to the governor, the CM, the chief secretary and other concerned people to show some respect to historical buildings and national heritage sites and take measures to protect and preserve them.

Source – Courtesy: Aziz Narejo, Sindhi-elists/ e-grousps, April 18, 2008