Tag Archives: Religious Harmony

Sindh: Peaceful coexistence: An oasis of religious harmony in Thar desert

y Hafeez Tunio

MITHI: Two elderly turbaned men wearing traditional dhotis were gossiping in Dhatki, the language spoken in Tharparkar and Umerkot districts of Sindh. One introduced himself as Bheru Menghwar and the other as Faqir Muhammad Dars, both residents of Munghat village, some 100 kilometres away from Mithi Town.

Munghat is an oasis of religious harmony in a country where minority communities often complain of discrimination and persecution. This peaceful coexistence of Hindus and Muslims is not unusual for this impoverished desert district where a sense of togetherness transcends all ethnic and communal affiliations.

We, Hindus and Muslims, have lived like one family in this village for the last 200 years. Not a single communal feud has ever been reported that could have threatened communal harmony here. We share each other’s joys and grief.

Not only do we live together, but also share a common graveyard to bury our dead. There is just one thin border line. One side is for Hindus and other for Muslims, said Faqir Dars, 85.

According to local people, the Hindus participate in Muslim religious festivals like Eid and Ashura-e-Muharram. Similarly, Muslims attend Hindu festivals like Diwali and Raksha Bandhan. Many Hindu women also tie Rakhi to their Muslim brothers.

“Many Hindus set up Sabeel for mourners in Muharram, and Muslims in many areas of Tharparkar don’t eat beef out of respect for Hindus who consider the cow as sacred,” said local journalist Khatao Jani. “These people are socially integrated, which is why there has been no dispute between Hindus and Muslims. Generally too, the crime rate in the district is negligible,” he said.

According to the 1998 census, 64% Muslims and 36% Hindus live in Tharparkar, but not a single incident of forced conversion, kidnapping for ransom and extortion has been reported here in recent memory.

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Sindh: Muslim family protecting Hindu temple in Johi, a town in which no Hindu family resides.

templeOasis in Sindh: Muslim family protecting sole Hindu temple in Johi

By Sameer Mandhro

JOHI: Sikandar Chandio, 53, was born in the temple he now protects. “This is our fifth generation living on the premises of the temple. I believe it is a sacred place for some people and I don’t want this building to be damaged.”

Despite some recent untoward incidents against the Hindu community, the people of Sindh largely uphold religious harmony.

Chandio’s Muslim family ‘protects’ the only temple in Johi, a town in which no Hindu family resides. A Hindu man handed over the charge of the temple to his grandfather, Jamaluddin.

“My grandfather didn’t purchase it,” he admitted. “The Hindu man gave the possession to him through a verbal agreement.” “I was born in this temple, so were my children. We all are watchmen of this building,” Chandio said.

The temple is locally called ‘kubi’ and is a very prominent building. The area where the temple is located has been named as ‘kubi mohalla’ (area of the temple) as it is known for the place of worship.

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/669084/oasis-in-sindh-muslim-family-protecting-sole-hindu-temple-in-johi/

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To See the photos of Hindu temple in Johi, Click here

Eroding Religious Harmony

By Salam Dharejo, Sindh

Umarkot, the birthplace of Moghul Emperor Akbar and a city of large Hindu population, is one of the few towns in Pakistan where religious festivals such as Holi and Diwali are celebrated by both Hindus and Muslims. Holi and Diwali are considered to be a particularly Hindi festival. However both Hindu and Muslim residents of Umarkot unite to celebrate these festivals to express communal solidarity and their particular village identity in spite of religious differences. No matter whether they are Hindus or Muslims, residents of Umarkot primarly identify with each other as members of the same village. Thus during such festivals, they dance in the streets and exchange sweets. A desert town splashes colors and celebrates with each other.

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