Social media is abuzz with the report of a human chain formed by Pakistan’s National Student’s Federation (NSF) on 6th March (Holi festival) for Hindus who are celebrating Holi at Swami Narayan Temple in Karachi to protect, and show solidarity with them. But what is most amusing is that more than the Pakistani citizens, it is the Indians who seem to have gotten on a new high after reading this news.
The Indian media is busy with the story of this greatness that has been shown by the majority towards the minuscule minority. Famous Hindi actor Akshay Kumar put this news but what people do not know is that on the eve of Holi, extremists in Pakistan tried to burn down a Hindu temple at Tando Muhammad Khan.
The extremists entered the Shiv Bhola Hanuman temple at Soomar Street and desecrated Hindu scriptures and pictures of Hindu deities.
Surprising? Here is more; just last year (year 2014) at the time of Holi, 3 Hindus were charged under draconian blasphemy law of Pakistan at Nao Dambalo, all because they were playing with colors. In this year and this month, just a few days back, Pakistani police arrested boys at Sindh University, and the reason given out was that a Hindu festival like Holi cannot be celebrated openly. Forget the festivals and temples for a minute as they may not interest everyone; let us talk about basic human rights which all minorities must enjoy. At present the situation of a Hindu woman in Pakistan is extremely shabby. Such is the situation that the Baghree Hindu community is asking Indian government to allow them refuge in India. Close to 400-500 families wish to come to India as soon as is possible. Why? Because Hindu girls, of any age, are being abducted openly and no one does anything. One of the daughter of the Baghree community, a married woman named Chandervati along with her 2-year old daughter, was abducted by armed gunmen and forced-converted at Amrot Shareef, married to a criminal, and later shoved into prostitution. But Pakistani establishment, instead of helping the victim arrested her father, her mother, and six other family members of the victim’s family because the ‘abductor-cum-husband’ claims that her family kidnapped her to take her away from him.
Most girls like her are trafficked out or just become sex slave to be passed on from one man to another. Prima facie most of these girls are under 18, surprising indeed because marriage of young female kids should be punished as pedophilia but at this everyone in Pakistan who can make a difference is quiet. Names of few of the forced conversion victims are Rinkle Kumari, Jeevani Baghri, Anjali Meghwar and thousands of others. So grave is the situation that a report by Movement for Solidarity and Peace in Pakistan says that up to 1000 women are shoved into forced marriages every year in Pakistan; 700 of these women are Christian and 300 are Hindu. There is no other reason to target these women except that they happen to be from oppressed minorities alone.
If that comes as a surprise to you, then also read how a Jew activist, Fishel Benkhald was beaten up by a Muslim mob when he questioned the apartheid-like situation that exists for minorities in Pakistan.
When such is the state of Hindus of Pakistan then how can anyone think that this gesture is anything but fake? The declining and fleeing Hindu population of Pakistan rarely ever becomes any news for anyone, but a cosmetic and a shallow gesture is so widely preached around that it washes away carefully labored efforts of Hindus and other minorities of Pakistan to sensitize the world about their sad state. Survival of minorities in Pakistan is the only way to stop radicalization in South Asia and if anyone has been following news about Yezidis, then it is pretty well-known as to why they are being targeted. They have been branded as ‘Devil Worshipers’ because they worship stone idols.
If Pakistanis tolerate deity worshiping Hindus, then it is likely that it will remain an egalitarian state and radicalization will wither out if not then a Taliban takeover is imminent. But to stop such a situation the Pakistani society will have to rise above cosmetic gestures because these actions help neither the terrified Hindu community nor their country. Also for Indians, just like everyone is praising this gesture, please do pay attention to minorities of Pakistan as well because their cries are going unheard and their survival is important if the idea of India has to survive.