Sri Krishna Ram temple outskirts of Karachi
(Originally posted on Daily Times)
By Faizan Ali Warraich
Much work is needed to preserve the deteriorating condition of Hindu temples present along the Indus in present-day Pakistan. Speakers at LLF said that conscious history would not be eradicated by demolishing temples, and that there was a little ‘Hindu’ in all of us. The session fetched a large number of audience, as speakers threw light on the plight of Hindu temples present in the Indus Valley, running along the Indus River. Seema Abbasi in the very beginning while addressing the audience said that there were only two Hindu temples left in Lahore, and this was alarming. She said that a series of events had taken place in the past, tightening cultural pluralism, which led to this cultural isolation of Hindus in Pakistan. She said that in Karachi alone, there was a temple named Shri Panchmukhi Hanuman Mandir, which was actually 1,500 years old and needed to be highlighted among the people so they could know about the rich history of this region. She emphasised that by preserving temples, Pakistan could generate good revenue by relaxing visa policy and inviting Hindu pilgrims from across the world to visit their places of worship. Speaking on the occasion, Aitzaz Ahsan said that there was “a little Hindu inside all of us, and we are the people of the Indus”. He said the essence of our identity would not be eradicated from our conscious history. He gave examples of intolerance that had prevailed among people in our society, saying that when Hindus demolished Babri Masjid in India, “we in Pakistan demolished and burnt the Jain Mandir in Anarkali, Lahore. He said that this tit-for-tat behaviour of society led us nowhere. He said that temples of Gupta period were amazing and should be protected. He said that books on history that were being taught to our generation were completely out of the context and irrelevant. “Our history ought to be taught from the medieval period of the Hindu and Buddhist rule on this Indus region where we were living, but instead of that these books narrate history from the time when Arabs came along to conquered Sindh.” IA Rehman said that ‘We need to renovate temples and worship places of minorities just as we were preserving Mughal forts.” Zulfiqar Ali said that the authorities in Sindh had made some security arrangements and providing facilities to temples, but all is not good in interior Sindh.