NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013

NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013
Shri Ramapir Mandir/Temple in Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Friday, July 30, 2010

7 of a family killed in Jaffarabad firing in Balochistan, Pakistan

By Gopinath Kumar (Executive Editor)
Friday, July 30, 2010
(Photo : Hindus in  Balochistan during Hinglaj Mela at 2008)
QUETTA : A man and his wife and five children were killed in an incident of firing in Suhbatpur tehsil of Jaffarabad district in Balochistan, police said on Tuesday. The family was killed when they got caught in a gun battle between two factions of the Bugti tribe. Talking to Daily Times, Jaffarabad District Police Officer Javed Iqbal said the incident took place when an exchange of fire broke out between two armed groups of the Bugti tribe in the early hours of Tuesday.

Ten people of a family were sleeping outside their hut in Ghot Jarwar, bordering Dera Bugti, when they came under attack.

As a result, Shankar, his wife and their five children, Mashooq, Badal, Kezo, Amlon and Makri died on the spot, while three others, identified as Asif, Akash and Mahe Heran were injured.

The DPO said the deceased were members of the Hindu community and were residents of Bakhshpur town of Sindh.

Police rushed to the spot soon after being informed about the incident and moved the bodies to Suhbatpur Civil Hospital. The police cordoned off the area and launched a search operation to arrest the culprits. Meanwhile, Hindus in the area held a protest demonstration on the national highway, blocking it with the bodies of the deceased. They chanted slogans against the administration for its failure to protect the lives and property of the people.

Pakistan President orders probe into murder of Christian brothers, Hindu temple demolition

By Gopinath Kumar (Executive Editor)
Friday, July 30, 2010
(Photo : Pakistan President Mr.Asif Ali Zardari)
Islamabad : Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has directed the concerned authorities to probe the murder of two Christian brothers in Faisalabad and also look into the controversy over the demolition of an ancient Hindu temple in Rawalpindi.

Condemning both the incidents in which minorities were especially targeted, Zardari said the whole episode has brought a bad name to the country.

“Life of every person was sacred and no-one could be allowed to take law into his own hands,” The Dawn quoted Zardari, as saying.

He offered his condolence to the families of Pastor Rashid Emmanuel and Sajjid Emmanuel, both of whom were shot dead outside a court in Faislabad earlier this week, and asked the provincial government to pay a suitable compensation to the bereaved family.

Taking note of media reports about a historic Hindu temple being demolished in Rawalpindi, Zardari directed Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti to investigate the issue and report the actual facts.

Earlier this week, hundreds of Hindus took to the streets against the occupant of the ancient temple who had pulled down half of the temple structure for commercial purposes.

Pakistan, Hindu-Sikh body condemns temple demolition; ETB denies report

By Mohammad S.Solanki (Managing Editor)
Friday, July 30, 2010
(Photo : Hindus in Rawalpindi celebrating Diwali Festival in 2009)
RAWALPINDI : Pakistan Hindu Sikh Social Welfare Council in its meeting strongly denounced a so-called media group for trying to forcibly occupy a temple situated at Tippu Road, Javed Colony, here.

President of Pakistan Hindu Sikh Social Welfare Council Jag Mohan Kumar Arora vehemently criticised the Auqaf Department for its negligence. “The Auqaf Department is creating a rift between minorities and the government.”

He urged the government to take notice of the situation and ensure protection of minorities’ rights.Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti has condemned the demolition of an old temple at Tippu Road for commercial purposes.

Talking to APP here on Tuesday, he said that it was not good omen to damage the temple, which was built in 1923 in the memory of Tunkukh Rai.He said, “According to the Constitution of Pakistan, minorities have an equal right to live according to their religion”.

He took a serious notice of the incident and asked the Punjab government to conduct an inquiry into the incident and submit a report immediately. He also committed to safeguard temples, Gurdwaras, churches and other worship places of the minorities, adding, “It is a very shameful incident and no one is allowed to harm, demolish, disgrace or confiscate them.”

Meanwhile, rejecting the news item regarding the demolition of a temple at Tippu Road, Rawalpindi, the Evacuee Trust Board (ETB) clarified that the building was neither a temple nor had it any link to it.

Chairman Evacuee Trust Board Syed Asif Hashmi has formed a committee comprising leaders of Hindu Community to expose the conspiracy of spreading rumours by declaring the building as temple.

The committee would send its report to the board at the earliest. The Evacuee Trust Board had demolished an old building some days ago and some elements had declared the building as a temple. According to the spokesman of the ETB, the building was located near the Shamshan Ghatt and a temple was located on the distance of 500 yards from that building, which was demolished in 1992 after Babari Masjid Tragedy in a protest demonstration. The spokesman termed the protest triggered after demolishing the building a planned conspiracy.

Pakistan - Killing in the name of blasphmey

By Krishna Jaipal (PHP Lahore)
Friday, July 30, 2010

Dear friends,


Islamabad : Just yesterday a mob killed two young Christian brothers who were under charges of writing and distributing a pamphlet containing some blasphemous remarks against Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), which was proved wrong and it was likely that these brothers will be set free in next hearing of the courts.

It is really a discouraging element, that these characterless ( I am sorry for this word, but I have to use it) fundamentalists are eager to take any step causing destruction, blood, and/or anarchy; and calling themselves devoted Muslims.

now the question is not whether these brothers were guilty or not; but the question remains that are Muslims peaceful or not? Are they following Islamic teachings, or they themselves have abrogated the Quran'ic teachings for their own benefits and pleasure. on one hand Qur'an very clearly directs,

And do not follow (blindly) any information of which you have no (direct) knowledge. (Using your faculties of perception and conception, you must verify it for yourself. (In the Court of your Lord,) you will be held accountable for your hearing, sight, and the faculty of reasoning."[17:36]

on the other hand Muslims are not ready to follow the Quranic teachings, and determin their own ways, may it follows Islamic principles or not.

at this stage I am quite sure that the person who shot these brothers did not investigate personally to find out whether they were guilty or not? we are quite sure that this person was not even a true believer becuase he fully acted against Qur'an when it states, one who kills one person, kill the humanity. But the irony is that this act has been conducted in the name of Islam. its an attempt to save honor and dignity of the Prophet (pbuh). by law, it is necessary to write Peace Be Upon Him when ever we write Prophet Muhammad's name. But in reality is there any peace from Muslims for non-Muslims after commiting such an act. its not the only incident of kilings. there have been several killings of religious minorities through Blasphemy law and still Muslims urging to retain Blasphemy law. whereas it is quite clear that such culprits, themselves are committing blasphemy. but who's going to charge them for this act? and who is going to ask them the benefits of having such a law?

at the same time its really shocking to note that majority of Muslims have now closed their mouths instead of speaking against this henious act, they are of the view that the blasphemous should be killed. Such a biased attitude divides the entire nation in religious quarters and thus work being done by people like us becomes more difficult and carries several questions.

Furthermore, it urges non-Muslims to think is it meaningful to remain in one's homeland, where they are not safe at all. or migrate to other countries. interestingly, not only non-Muslims but a large number of Muslims will also avail the oppertunity and will flee from the country.

My request to you and other learned scholars is to kindly come out and please issue press statements against such actions and people, who bring only hatred for Muslims around the world. Even we who are working for peace, human rights and dialgoue, don't find many words when talking with people from our own community.

Please do something effective.

Haroon Nasir
    M.Th (UK); Fulbright Alumni

GULSHAN - Centre for Study of Islam & Christianity
O) +92-997-301209
C) +92-344-5185193

Gor Khatri (Peshawar) - ancient Gorakshnath temple and place of pilgrimage of the yogis and Hindus of Pakistan

By Gopinath Kumar (Executive Editor)
Friday, July 30, 2010
(Photo : S.M. Jaffar identified it with the place of Hindu pilgrimage where they performed the Sardukahr ritual,shaving off heads)

Gor Khuttree is a neighbourhood of Peshawar city, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan.


Gor Khuttree (or Gor Khatri) in the ancient city of Peshawar was identified by Sir Alexander Cunningham with Kanishka Vihara (the Great Stupa of King Kanishka) while Professor Dr Ahmad Hasan Dani identified it with the place where the famous tower of the Buddha bowl once stood.

Prof. S.M. Jaffar, in his monumental book "Peshawar: Past and Present", identified it with the place of Hindu pilgrimage where they performed the Sardukahr ritual (shaving off heads).

The celebrated Chinese pilgrim, Hiuen Tsang, who visited Gandhara in the early 7th Century CE, had paid glowing tribute to the city and the Great Stupa of Kanishka in his memoirs. He also talked about a site, which many historians argue refers to Gor Khuttree where "Buddah's giant bowl was kept".

Mughal Emperor Babar, who recorded its importance in his autobiography, visited the place.
We had heard stories about Gor Khatri, a holy place of the yogis and Hindus who came from long distances for pilgrimage and got their head and beards shaved there. At once I headed for Bigram (or present day Peshawar, saw its famed, ancient tree and surrounding countryside. But much as we enquired about Gor Khatri, our guide Kamari said nothing about it. However when we were almost back in our camp, he told Khwaja Muhammad Amin that Gor Khatri was in Bigram and that he had said nothing because of its confined cells and narrow passages. Khwaja Amin repeated his words to us. But we could not go back because the road was long and the day was spent.[1]
Jehan Ara Begum, the daughter of Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan, converted Gor Khuttree into a caravanserai and named it Sarai Jahanabad. She also constructed a Jama Masjid, a sauna bath and two wells inside Sarai Jahanabad for the convenience of travellers.

The Sikhs converted the site into the residence and official headquarters of their mercenary general [Paolo de Avitabile]] who was governor of Peshawar from 1838-1842. They constructed a Hindu temple for Shiva there.

Gor Khuttree is a typical Mughal-era serai and is located on one of the highest points of Peshawar City. It is a fortified compound consisting of an area of 160 x 160 sq meters. It has two prominent gateways: one in the east and one in the west. The Gorakshanath Temple is situated in the centre, a network of cells and buildings in the southern and western side of the complex and a fire brigade building, which was built in 1917.

Dr. Farzand Ali Durrani initiated the first vertical excavations at Gor Guthrree in 1992-93 but his excavation work could not be completed due to lack of funds. However, he confirmed the city foundation went back to at least the 3rd Century BC.

The second round of excavations carried on until 2007 in the north eastern aspect of Gor Khuttree pushed Peshawar's age by another couple of centuries, officially making it the oldest living city in South Asia.
Excavation work on the site is currently suspended owing to shortage of funds.

Today - Hindu minority homeless in Kashmir

By Dr. Radhe Shyam Kumar
Friday, July 30, 2010

Muslim separatist groups have been fighting Indian rule in Kashmir for two decades. New Delhi blames Pakistan for supporting them. Pakistan denies the claim.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict.

In the lead-up to talks between the two countriesin Islamabad on Thursday, Al Jazeera takes a closer look at the Kashmir unrest.

Al Jazeera's Prerna Suri reports from Srinagar about the region's Hindu minority left homeless by years of violence.

Hindu minority homeless in Kashmir - CENTRAL/S. ASIA - Al Jazeera English

Demolition of Hindu temple triggers protest in Rawalpindi, Pakistan

By Mohammad S.Solanki (Managing Editor)
Friday, July 30, 2010
(Photo : Pakistani Hindus during Festival 2010-2-28)
Islamabad : The demolition of part of an 87-year-old temple triggered protests by the minority Hindu community in the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi before authorities said they would prevent the rest of the shrine from being pulled down.

Hundreds of Hindus were joined by Muslim residents when they took to the streets to protest the demolition of a large section of the temple by a man who had leased the structure from the Auqaf Department, an autonomous body of the Provincial Government.

The temple on Tipu Road, opposite the Rawalpindi Medical College, is located near a 'shamshan ghat' or cremation ground.

It was built in 1923 by Lala Tansukh Rai, the Raees-e-Azam of Rawalpindi, in memory of his wife.

Muslim residents of the area joined Hindu and Sikh protesters to express solidarity with them and blocked the road for an hour.

Following an assurance from police that the demolition would be stopped, the protesters dispersed.

Channa Lal, the chief Hindu priest for Rawalpindi and Islamabad, said that religious rites were performed at the temple before bodies were cremated at the shamshan ghat.

Hindu Sabha president Jag Mohan said local residents noticed some labourers demolishing the structure and digging up its foundations yesterday morning.

Jag Mohan said he and some other people went to the site and asked the labourers to stop the work and produce orders authorising them to demolish the temple.

The staff of the Auqaf Department too said the labourers were not allowed to demolish the building, he added. Before partition in 1947, the 'shamshan ghat' was spread over 277 kanals of land.

When a majority of Hindus migrated from Rawalpindi, the families that stayed behind handed over surplus land to the government for educational purposes during President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's tenure.

The total area of the shamshan ghat and the temple complex now was over two kanals, Jag Mohan said.

The Auqaf Department rented out the building to a welfare society despite protests by the Hindu community, he said.

The welfare society failed to pay rent to the Auqaf Department in 2000, following which the latter got the building vacated.

The Auqaf Department then leased the building to Raja Abdul Wahid, who further leased it to a private media group in 2005.

Following protests by Hindus, the Auqaf Department set up a committee that declared the building was not a temple, Jag Mohan said.

"It is unfair that we have been performing religious rituals in the building for the many years but the Auqaf Department gave it to a private company for commercial purposes," Jag Mohan added.

Over 100 Hindu families living in Rawalpindi and foreigners, including some diplomats, used the shamshan ghat for rituals, Jag Mohan said.

Ibadur Rehman Lodhi, a lawyer, told the Dawn newspaper that the Auqaf Department could not lease out places of worship where religious rituals are performed.

He said the authorities can only lease property adjacent to religious shrines or properties that were

abandoned for many years.

Commissioner Zahid Saeed said Hindu members of the Auqaf Department had verified that the building was not a temple.

Saeed said he had directed the district administration chief to verify whether the building was a temple.

Members of the Hindu community said there were several temples along Tipu Road and Nullah Leh in Rawalpindi.

Some of them were demolished before partition while many were razed after the Babri Masjid in India was demolished in 1992.

Most of the temples are under the control of the Auqaf Department, which has rented them out.

There are several temples in the Raja Bazar area which are now being used as residential apartments.

The Hindu community has demanded that the President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of Pakistan should take steps to protect the temple and shamshan ghats.


By Narain Kataria (New York)
Friday, July 30, 2010





Narain Kataria
(718) 478-5735

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims Across Rural Punjab Restore Mosques, India

Saturday, July 24, 2010
(Photo : Safe Custody Joga Singh with a maulvi outside the mosque in Sarwarpur that his brother Sajjan helped reconstruct in Punjab,India )
PUNJAB, INDIA : Around 200 mosques across the Punjab have been repaired, rebuilt or built from scratch with the help of Sikhs and Hindus in the last 10 years. Many destroyed during Partition riots are now being restored by village communities.

The Ghuman family of Sarwarpur, near Ludhiana, cannot understand what the fuss is about. Ever since Sajjan Singh Ghuman, an NRI Sikh living in England, rebuilt a mosque in his native village, the shrine, as well as his family back home, have attracted the curiosity of outsiders. “We never imagined we would be on a Punjabi TV channel just because my elder brother rebuilt this small mosque for the poor Muslim families of our village. For him, it was just a gesture towards restoring the collective heritage of our village,” says Sajjan’s brother, Joga Singh.

Much of the present effort to revive mosques is coming from a young generation. Kesar, a Jat Sikh farmer from Ratia, and Kamal, a Hindu whose family migrated from Sialkot in Pakistan, have slogged shoulder to shoulder for days to rebuild Dhuri’s lone mosque. Many people from the Hindu community helped dig the foundations. Hindus and Sikhs from nearby villages, too, contributed with hefty donations.

Kapaleeswaran Temple Qualifies for ISO Certification, India

Saturday, July 24, 2010
(Photo : Kapaleeswaran Temple,India )
CHENNAI, INDIA : The International Standards Organization, who defines the elements of an effective quality management system, has awarded the Kapaleeswaran Temple the ISO 9001:2008 certification. The 9001:2008 is a world class quality management system for companies/organizations that have an objective of improving their customer satisfaction.

Other temples in India are also receiving ISO certification.

Hinduism Summit in California - August 28, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010
(Photo : Hinduism Summit in California)
UNITED STATES : Based on the positive results of six Hinduism Summits held by the Forum Hindu Awakening (FHA) over the past year, FHA along with the Sunnyvale Hindu Temple is sponsoring a Hinduism Summit.

The Hindu Dharma Sabha welcomes anyone interested in understanding and living Hinduism. The Hindu Dharma Sabha will include presentations by Hindu and spiritual leaders, demonstrative videos and a posters’ display to create awareness about the spiritual reasoning underlying Hinduism practices. Please contact the Sunnyvale Hindu Temple for details here.

Lakshmi Narayan Temple to be Constructed in Freeport

Source: Paras Ramoutar, HPI Correspondent
Saturday, July 24, 2010
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO : Indian-born, seer, Jyoti Shacharya Sri Sri Gajendra Kumar has announced that construction work on a $14 million Lakshmi Narayan Mandir in Trinidad will commence on Divali, November 5.

“When completed, the Mandir will become a place of peace, solace, tranquility and deep spirituality where devotes could come and meditate, pray, offer obeisance to Hindu Gods and Goddesses,” says Jyoti Sri Sri Kumar.

Hinduism Flourishes in Ghana

Saturday, July 24, 2010
GHANA,  : The air is filled with the sweet smell of incense burning in a corner of the huge hall. Wrapped in shiny bright clothes, statues of Hindu Gods and Goddesses smile benevolently from the elevated platform. Sitting on the white marble floor a group of more than 50 men, women and children sing devotional Hindu songs. Nothing extraordinary about this scene,except that the temple is in Ghana and the devotees are all indigenous Africans.

The tall cone-shaped temple emerges out of the crowded neighborhood of Orkordi on the outskirts of the capital Accra. It can be easily identified-the holy Sanskrit “OM” shines on its top. Swami Ghanananda Sarawati established the temple in 1975.

The devotees here have no links with India and have never visited the country. Still they strictly follow religious rules and observe rituals in traditional Hindu way. They say they have all converted to Hinduism.

Today there are more than 2,000 indigenous African Hindus in Ghana. The total number of Hindus, including those from India, is much larger. Hindu religion was first introduced to Ghana by Sindhi settlers who migrated to Africa after India was divided in 1947.

Kashmir Roots Tug Hindus Home

Saturday, July 24 , 2010
(Photo : Upper-caste Hindus known as Pandits prayed last month at the Vichar Nag shrine, above, in Srinagar, Kashmir)
SRINAGAR, KASHMIR : The ceremony is simple and common. A Hindu priest lights a fire, places some herbs, clarified butter and other offerings atop it and through its peculiar alchemy the smoke purifies everything it touches. But nothing about this Maha Yaghya ritual performed in the once-abandoned Vichar Nag shrine here on a recent Saturday night was simple. Most peculiar was the ceremony’s location, astride one of the world’s most fractious religious fault lines, between two nuclear-armed neighbors who have fought three wars, two of them over the land on which the shrine sits.

Twenty years ago, nearly 400,000 Hindus fled the Kashmir Valley, fearful of a separatist insurgency by the area’s Muslim majority. Now they are trickling back, a sign to many here that the Kashmir Valley, after years of violence and turmoil, is settling in to an uneasy but hopeful peace. More than a dozen shrines have reopened in recent years, said Sanjay Tickoo, a Kashmiri Pandit who never left the valley and is now trying to entice those who left to return. Both sides have taken steps toward a peaceful coexistence.

Hindu Women Breach a Male Bastion: the Cremation Grounds in India

Saturday, July 24, 2010
(Photo : Varanasi - cremation grounds along the Ganges,India)
ALLAHABAD, INDIA : Six years ago, Badami Devi thought performing the last rites of the dead was unthinkable. It was considered a taboo for women. But her husband — who pursued this ancestral profession of Mahapatra brahmins in Maniaya village — was seriously ill.

Today, there are eight women, some of them unmarried girls, performing this hereditary profession in Karchana tehsil, about 22 miles from Allahabad. While some of the women try to supplement the family income this way, others have taken it up to continue their ancestral profession in absence of male members in the family.

Bodies from about 150 villages are brought to the cremation ghat on the bank of the Ganga in Maniaya daily and the 10-odd families of Mahapatra brahmins have a hereditary right to perform their last rites.

“There is nothing wrong in taking up this work, but one should be well-versed in the rituals,” said 18-year-old Kaushalya, daughter of Badami Devi. “In Hindu religious texts, special importance is given to the person who performs the last rites. We attained the knowledge and then got into this profession. Now, our men take up other jobs and this helps supplement the family income. We do not object if people come with their own priest, but we are ready when anyone needs out services.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pakistani Hindu arrested with fake currency in India

By Gopinath Kumar (Executive Editor)
Saturday, July 17, 2010
(PHOTO : A Hindu temple in Karachi's posh Clifton area, Pakistan)
INDIA : Punjab police today arrested a Pakistan national for carrying fake Indian currency with a face value of Rs 15,000 here.

Wasu Ram (35) was arrested following information from a shopkeeper that a man was trying to pass off a fake note in a market here.

According to the police, Wasu Ram was carrying fake Indian currency and was trying to purchased some goods from the local market with it. When he tried to pass off the counterfeit note at a shop, the shopkeeper immediately brought the matter into the notice of police which arrested Ram and recovered Rs 15,000 in the denomination of Rs 500.

Police said Ram, resident of Sindh province of Pakistan, had come to India yesterday for pilgrimage to Hindu temples at various states along with a group of Hindus from Pakistan.

WASHINGTON DIARY: Excerpts from SANA —Dr Manzur Ejaz

By Editorial Staff
Saturday, July 17, 2010
(PHOTO : Dr Manzur Ejaz)
I visited Thar a few years back and have seen Thardeep’s innovative approaches from finding spring water in the middle of the desert to providing electricity using solar energy techniques. If I had to get involved with development work in my area in Punjab, I would adopt many models developed by Thardeep

USA : The Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) maintained its unique distinction of being the only secular organisation of expatriates by inviting the most prominent Sindhi from India, Mr Ram Jethmalani, member of Rajya Sabha and president of the Indian Supreme Court Bar, to its annual convention, held on July 2-5, 2010 in Houston. At 87, Mr Jethmalani, vibrant and kicking, delivered one of the most enticing speeches I have heard in the last few years. In addition to Mr Jethmalani, development star from Thar, Dr Sono Khangharani, nationalist leader Dr Qadir Magsi, notable analysts Mr Zulfiqar Halepota and Jami Chandio made very enlightening presentations in various seminars.

Mr Jethmalani was prophetic when he said, “Democracy without education is hypocrisy without limitations,” and that politicians have a direct conflict with education because they do not want well-informed constituents who can question them. He may have added some spice to his speech if he had seen the circus of the Punjab Assembly passing a resolution against the media for exposing their fake degrees.

Mr Jethmalani, a successful lawyer and partner of A K Brohi before partition in Karachi, had to restart his life from immigrant camps in India. “I never thought of revenge while going through the miseries of partition and I am still the best friend Pakistan has in India,” he asserted. He was very disappointed with the political lot in India as well as in Pakistan. In a light-hearted mood he commented, “Politicians should be changed like diapers and for the same reason.”

Speaking on religion he said, “I am not a religious person because so much blood has been shed in the name of religion that navies of the entire world can easily swim in it. Mohammad (PBUH) was the greatest prophet of all times because he assigned more strength to the ink of a pen as compared to the sword. Consequently, Muslim cities became centres of scholarship and Muslims pulled Europe out from the Dark Ages. However, when Muslims became book burners and destroyers of civilisations they were enslaved.”

In addition to Mr Jethmalani, another Hindu from Thar, Sindh, Dr Sono Khangharani, shared the development ideas he is implementing to provide housing, water, electricity and education. I visited Thar a few years back and have seen their organisation’s — Thardeep — innovative approaches from finding spring water in the middle of the desert to providing electricity using solar energy techniques. If I had to get involved with development work in my area in Punjab, I would adopt many models developed by Thardeep. Dr Khangharani was very modest in presenting his achievements. I wish he had talked more about the innovations he has made in changing conditions in Thar.

Dr Khangharani avoided making any political comments but that was taken care of by one of his companions, Mr Zulifqar Halepota. By thoroughly analysing the 18th Amendment, Mr Halepota showed how this piece of legislation was gender blind by not touching anti-women clauses added to the constitution from Ziaul Haq to Nawaz Sharif. “This amendment does not do much for the constitutional issues facing the common citizens of Pakistan,” he concluded

A N G Abbasi, an authority on water issues, asserted that despite the Sindh government’s consent, the water agreements with India and between Pakistani provinces were not fair enough. In addition, he argued that these agreements were not adhered to in distribution of water and that Sindh suffered the most because of a shortage of water. He suggested that future plans should be made on the actual availability of water and not on rosy assumptions. During the question and answer session, he took to task the ruling elite for being totally insensitive to the mammoth problems being faced by the common people. He added that constitutional changes were not going to do anything for the people unless the entire ruling elite is replaced. Representing the abadgars, Mr Aslam Baloch also emphasised the role of water shortage in increasing impoverishment in Sindh.

Contrary to expectations, Dr Qadir Magsi focused on the issue of Sindhi nationalism rather than the water issue. Highlighting the role of language and culture, Dr Magsi claimed that Sindhis were secular humanists and peace loving people. However, Sindhis were not passive and could stand up for their own rights. Shedding light on the evolution of Sindh, Dr Magsi said that if the middle classes of Sindhi Hindus had not left, alien people would not have taken over the industry and trade in the province: Sindh would have survived as an independent nation today.

Dr Jan Mohammad Memon and Mr Adnan Kehar, made presentations on education and technology respectively in the seminar on the economic and social issues of Sindh. Coordinated by Muhammad Ali Mehar, SANA’s ex-president, Mr Aziz Narejo, presided over the seminar on the socio-political issues of Sindh. It was this seminar in which Dr Qadir Magsi, Mr Halepota and the special guest and keynote speaker, Mr Ram Jethmalani shared their ideas with the audience who had travelled from all around the North American continent.

Earlier in the day, a seminar on medical issues was coordinated by Dr Hafeez Abbasi. Dr Aijaz Turk presented research on colon cancer and Dr Sattar A Shaikh spoke on diseases of the heart. In Sindhi Adabi Sangat, Dr Turk, Jamil Daudi, Munawar Leghari, Jami Chandio and Aziz Narejo recited the poetry of famous Sindhi poets. Mr Mumtaz Chang and Mr Muhammad Ali Mehar recited their own poetry. I missed the thunderous performance of Dr Aijaz Turk this year because of arriving one day late to the convention.

SANA was very innovative in creating programmes for children of different age groups. SANA’s website, maintained by Mr Masood Baloch, was inaugurated in the opening ceremonies of the convention. SANA’s successful convention was, of course, the result of the hard work of many individuals like its President Valeed Shaikh, Secretary Shabbir Shaikh, Treasurer Dr Maqbool Halepota and other members of the leadership such as Aijaz Memon, Zafar Agha, Jamil Daudi and Sarfraz Abbasi. To SANA’s credit, its annual conventions are purposeful and carry a serious tone while better-funded organisations of Pakistani expatriates just end up socialising and wasting money.

The writer can be reached at

Pictures of Celebrating Diwali in Karachi, Pakistan

By Dr. Radhe Shyam Kumar (Managing Editor)
Saturday, July 17, 2010

Karachi : Pakistani Hindu families are celebrating the happy Diwali festival in Karachi, Pakistan, 17/10/2009.
For more photos visit link below -

Pictures of Hindu festival of Bahuchara Mata, Karachi, Pakistan

By Rajesh Kumar (PHP Islamabad)
Saturday, July 17, 2010

KARACHI : The Hindu festival of Bahuchara Mata was celebrated at Shiv Mandir Karachi, in which both Hindu elders and children participated, some of them sang religious songs and some of the performed.
Below is link for more photos -

Pictures of The Hindu Temple on the Island of Manora, Karachi

By Rajesh Kumar (PHP Islamabad)
Saturday, July 17, 2010

These are images of a Hindu place of worship called Sri Varun Dev Temple at Manora in Karachi, Pakistan. 15/07/2010.
To see more photos please visit belwo link -

Pictures of Lord Ram Bhajan Festival in Pakistan

By Rajesh Kumar (PHP Islamabad)
Saturday, July 17, 2010

KARACHI : The country of Pakistan has many different religions other than Muslim who are living and leading their life with their own religious way. Hindu Families are celebrating RAM BHAJAN FESTIVAL in Karachi.
To see more photos, Below is Link -

Pictures of Hindu Temples of Karachi, Pakistan

By Rajesh Kumar (PHP Islamabad)
Saturday, July 17, 2010

KARACHI : The Hindu temples of Karachi, some of which are deteriorating due to neglect, nearby construction projects and land encroachment. Karachi, Pakistan, 04/11/2009.
Below is link -

Hindus in Karachi (Sindh) attacked after boy drinks from mosque cooler in Pakistan

By Mohammad S.Solanki (Managing Editor)
Saturday, July 17, 2010
(Photo : The Hindu temples of Karachi, some of which are deteriorating due to neglect, nearby construction projects and land encroachment. Karachi, Pakistan, 04/11/2009)
ISLAMABAD : Several members of the minority Hindu community were attacked and forced out of their homes in Pakistan's southern Sindh province after a boy drank water from a facility outside a mosque.

About 60 Hindu men, women and children were recently forced to abandon their homes at Memon Goth in Karachi, the capital of Sindh, after influential tribesmen of the area objected to the boy drinking water from a cooler.

"All hell broke loose when my son, Dinesh, who looks after chickens in a farm, drank water from a cooler outside a mosque. Upon seeing him do that, the people of the area started beating him up," a Hindu man named Meerumal told The News daily.

"Later, around 150 tribesmen attacked us, injuring seven of our people — Samo, Mohan, Hero, Chanu, Sadu, Heera, and Guddi — who were taken to the Jinnah Hospital," he said.

The Hindus who were forced out of their homes have taken refuge in a cattle pen. One of the injured, Heera, said about 400 Hindu families are being threatened to vacate the area.

"Our people are even scared of going out of their houses. We are also putting up with living in the filthy (cattle) pen because we cannot go home for fear of being killed," said Heera, who too is living in a cattle shed.

"A trivial incident led to riots between the people of the area. Since both the communities happened to be illiterate, the matter just flared up," said the chief of Memon Goth police station.

Sindh's Minority Affairs Minister Mohan Lal has assured the Hindu community that it will receive full government protection. "I have directed the (district police chief) and the SHO to ensure that these people go back to their houses safely," he said. Lal said the culprits will be dealt with severely. (END)

Slowly, Hindu Women Gain Ground through Land Ownership in Pakistan

By Dr. Radhe Shyam Kumar (Managing Editor)
Saturday, July 17, 2010
(PHOTO : Women in BADIN, Pakistan)
BADIN, Pakistan  - "I told my husband if he ever hits me (again), I’ll pack up and go to my parents who live just round the corner, and he will lose the land I got," says Jannat Gul of Tando Bagho village here in this southern Pakistani district. Her husband has not hit her for the past six months – since Gul became the owner of some 1.6 hectares of land.

Gul is one of the beneficiaries of a project of Pakistan’s Sindh province, initiated in 2008, to distribute 91,000 hectares of cultivable state land to 80,000 poor and landless peasants, many of them women.

Indeed, President Asif Ali Zardari has decreed that the 21,000 hectares of land for distribution during the project’s second year be reserved for women, who are traditionally left out of land reform schemes and have less opportunities to own land.

The coordinator of the land distribution programme, Faisal Ahmed Uqaili, says it aims to "empower the rural women of Sindh", the country’s southernmost province.

Latest reports, released in November 2009, say that over 17,400 hectares of land, in 17 of the 23 Sindh districts, have been distributed to some 4,200 beneficiaries. More importantly, 70 percent of these were the most impoverished women. Each receives between 1.6 and 10 hectares of land, depending on availability.

To many rural women, land ownership in this South Asian country has empowered them in various ways.

To many, it has opened the door to improvements in livelihood. To others, it has brought respect in an agricultural setting where women wanting or demanding land ownership can be seen as "weakening" the position of brothers and fathers, as a 2008 study by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) describes it.

"I would never, even in my wildest of dreams, been owner of 1.6 hectares of land," exclaims Hema Mai, 42, a former farmhand from the minority Hindu community in Begna Mori, a village of 4,000 people in the Jaati district in Sindh. "Our fortunes have turned."

With agriculture accounting for 42 percent of full-time employment and 23 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, land ownership is considered the most important safeguard against poverty in rural Pakistan, where nearly two-thirds of the population resides.

But land ownership is, as the SDPI report describes, "highly skewed" – with women receiving the shortest end of the stick.

Women can legally own land, but state land allotment has always excluded women, explains Haris Gazdar, a Karachi- based economist. "Land allotment rules require that allottees be recognised as cultivators, and this invariably means men. This scheme is the first that I know of in Pakistan, where women are targeted as exclusive or primary beneficiaries," he says.

"It is not easy for a woman to control, access and manage her land. The revenue department which maintains land records or the agriculture markets is heavily male- dominated," Uqaili adds.

This initiative to level the playing field is the "Benazir effect", says Gazdar, in reference to former Pakistani prime minister and champion for women’s rights, Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in 2007. "This thrust for women's land ownership came from the political leadership and not from the bureaucracy," he adds.

But old ways of thinking are not easy to change - and some men are voicing their displeasure over the programme. "They (disgruntled men he meets during field visits) say women will become rebellious, will find a tongue (if they own land)," explains Jalil Khokhar, coordinator of the non- government National Rural Support Programme, which supports the Sindh scheme.

"Socially, it is considered a norm for women to forego inheritance rights, and if they own title, they will allow husbands, sons, brothers etc to take charge," Gazdar says. "Social norms are based on the notion that a woman will leave her parents' home and her husband's family will acquire control over her property, hence the reluctance to allow her to inherit fixed assets."

It is also common for men to assert claims over land held by female relatives. Thus, the Sindh programme tries to ensure that the land allotted to women will remain with them. "The land cannot be sold for at least 15 years and the heirs can only be female next-of-kin," says Khokhar.

But despite its gains, the programme faces a gamut of problems.

A study conducted after the first year of the programme by the non-government group Participatory Development Initiatives (PDI) reported that 50 percent of the women beneficiaries did not receive their corresponding legal ownership documents.

Uqaili questions these allegations: "There were such cases, but 50 percent is a gross exaggeration. Of the 4,200 people who got land, only 150 women did not get legal ownership documents."

But, he admits: "Despite our best intentions, we met with huge issues at every step."

"At times, the land was illegally occupied by influential individuals, which meant long-drawn litigation as delaying tactics. Then, in some places, land was allotted but there was no water as had been promised," Uqaili says.

In some cases, land was also found to have been allotted to relatives of influential persons.

According to the PDI, hundreds of cases are under litigation because there were multiple claimants to the allocated state land.

Encroachment on Hindus’ worship place slammed, Pakistan

By Gopinath Kumar (PHP Executive Editor)
Saturday, July 17, 2010
(PHOTO : Devali Celebrations in a Hindu Temple in Karachi near soldier bazaar, Pakistan)
ISLAMABAD : Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister Sharmila Farooqui assured a six-member Hindu community delegation effort would be made to end encroachment on their worship place in Sachal Goth. “The government is committed to securing the rights of minorities, including Hindus, on a priority basis besides providing protection to their worship places. We are also striving hard to provide two percent job quota to the minorities,” she added.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

World Hindu Council says, Indian External Affairs Minister should raise Hindu attack issue with Pakistan govt.

By Dr. Radhe Shyam Kumar (Managing Editor)
Thursday, July 15, 2010
(Photo 2008 : Karachi, The courtyard of the Swami Narayan temple was echoing with the voice of the pundit reciting the holy mantra in Sanskrit. Women wearing banarsi saris were sitting on chairs and children were surprised to 20 brides and grooms sitting in mandaps which were arranged for a typical Hindu wedding and a pundit was instructing the couples over a loudspeaker to start making rounds around the holy fire. Then the groom put the mangalsutar around the bride’s neck and he put sindoor in the bride’s maang, completing the marriage rituals.)
New Delhi : Expressing concern over recent attack on Hindu minority in Pakistan's southern Sindh province, VHP on Wednesday requested External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, who is on a three-day visit to that country, to raise the matter with Pakistani authorities.

"We expect our External Affairs Minister to take up the issue of attack on Hindus in Sindh province with his Pakistani counterpart," president of Jammu and Kashmir unit of VHP Ramakant Dubey told reporters here.

Krishna should also take up the issue of decrease of Hindu population in Pakistan, he said.

It is unfortunate that the Hindu population in Pakistan has shrunk to nine lakh from 90 lakh in 1947, he said, adding that Krishna should ask Pakistan what steps it has taken to protect the Hindus in the country.

Dubey said talks are meaningless between the two countries unless interests of Hindus in Pakistan are not protected.

On July 12, about 60 Hindu men, women and children were forced to abandon their homes at Memon Goth in Karachi, the capital of Sindh, after influential tribesmen of the area objected to a boy drinking water from a cooler outside a mosque.

On Kashmir situation, Dubey said the government should act sternly against the terrorists and separatists who are out to disturb peace in the state.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hindu American Foundation Condemns Forced Expulsion of Hindu's in Pakistan

By Editorial Staff
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
(PHOTO : Lord Hanuman (Hindu) Mandir in “Streets of Karachi, Pakistan)
USA : The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) condemns the forced expulsion of Hindu families from their homes in the Sindh province of Pakistan.

The horrific event occurred as witnesses claimed a Hindu boy, Dinesh, was caught drinking from a water cooler at a nearby mosque. Several members of the Hindu community of Memon Goth were severely beaten and hospitalized.

Sixty men, women and children of the community were forced to leave their homes and possessions by landlords and have taken refuge in a cattle pen.

Despite assurances from local and federal officials for protection, the Hindu community of Memon Goth is fearful of further persecution and violence. According to Abdul Hai, Human Rights Commissioner of Pakistan, members of this community have long been persecuted and are subjected to performing menial labor for the landlords who are driving them out. These acts of harassment continue to form the established pattern of driving minority communities out of Pakistan, as has been noted in HAF's annual Hindu human rights report. The Hindu population in Pakistan, which was between 15 and 24 percent in 1947, at the time of partition of India, has now been reduced to less than two percent.

"Assurances and statements are not enough. We want government officials to take swift action to bring the responsible parties to justice," said Prof. Ramesh Rao, HAF's Human Rights Coordinator. "Only then can the Hindus and other minorities of Pakistan be assured of their and the future generation's safety."

The Hindu American Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, non-partisan organization promoting the Hindu and American ideals of understanding, tolerance and pluralism.

Contact HAF at 301.770.7835 or on the web at

Pakistani Hindus In India for years, Says don't want to return back

By Dr. Radhe Shyam Kumar (PHP Mangaing Editor)
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Facing alleged social discrimination and economic backwardness, a number of Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan want to embrace Indian citizenship.

New Delhi : Many Pakistanis belonging to Hindu and Sikh faiths have been living with their relatives in various parts of India for years and many of them want to be here permanently.

About 200 such families have been residing in this city for over 10 years. While some of them have acquired citizenship of this country, many who are still waiting accuse the Indian government of being "apathetic" to their condition.

Sammakh Ram, who migrated here with his family from Peshawar in 1998, claims that the condition of Hindus in the neighbouring country is "miserable".

"You can't imagine how Hindus are treated there. We neither have any rights nor facilities," he said.

Ram claims that about 15-20 lakh Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan are willing to settle in India as "they do not have religious rights and are socially and economically backward."

"Now, this is our country and we will not go back to Pakistan at any cost," he said.

Senior Punjab Minister Upinderjit Kaur said, "Citizenship is given on the basis of certain rules and not on mere request."

Seeking intervention of the Union government to resolve the problems of Hindus and Sikhs, Kaur asked the Centre to take up the matter with Pakistan authorities and ensure protection of human rights of the minorities in that country.

Thakkar Sapaal, who moved here from Sialkot, said Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan face inconvenience when it comes to performing the last rites of their family members.

"There are hardly any cremation grounds for us there. We usually travel 300-400 kms to cremate our people," he said.

Buaditta, another man who migrated to India from Sialkot,

claimed: "Sometimes we are prevented from celebrating religious festivals there and are threatened."

Seventy-year-old Mulk Raj, who left his business in Karachi and settled here, claims that Pakistani authorities sometimes even want them to spy for their country.

Mulk Raj came here with his family of ten, out of whom four have acquired Indian citizenship. Though he is an Indian citizen now, his wife is not.

"We face problems in getting our passports renewed. In India, we are asked to go to Pakistan and get official letters from there to get new passports. When we go there, we are not given the letters that we need," he said.

BJP MP Avinash Rai Khanna said the party has constituted a committee to look into the problems of such people.

"We have demanded that Punjab government give a monthly grant of Rs 500 to each member of such families living in the state, a maximum of Rs 2,000 per family."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Daily Inspiration from Pakistan Hindu Post (PHP)

By Rajesh Kumar (PHP Islamabad)
Friday, July 09, 2010
God is the creator, and the best way of offering prayer to him is to be creative. God is all loving, and the best way to serve him is to serve humanity.
Swami Dayananda Saraswati (1825-1883)

‘Hounded’ Hindus take shelter in Karachi cattle pen after drinking water from mosque, Pakistan

By Mohammad S.Solanki (PHP Managing Editor)
Friday, July 09, 2010
(PHOTO : Location of Karachi City in Sindh State of Islamic Republic of Pakistan)
Karachi : In an incident which showcases the brutal hatred with which Hindus are seen in Pakistan, at least 60 members of the minority community, including women and children, were forced to abandon their house in Karachi’s Memon Goth area just because a Hindu boy drank water from a cooler outside a mosque.

Local tribesman, who hold a good clout in the area, thrashed several Hindus forcing them to run away and take shelter in a near by cattle pen, The News reports.

“All hell broke loose when my son, Dinesh, who looked after chickens in a farm, drank water from a cooler outside a mosque. Upon seeing him do that, the people of the area started beating him up,” said Meerumal, a resident of the area.

“Later, around 150 tribesmen attacked us, injuring seven of our people, who were taken to the Jinnah Hospital,” he added.

One of the injured, Heera, said that another 400 families of the area were also being threatened to leave their households and settle elsewhere.

“Our people are even scared of going out of their houses. We are also putting up with living in the filthy pen because we cannot go home for fear of being killed,” Heera said.

Police officials are aware about the incident, but they have failed to take any steps to stop the atrocities being meted out to theminority community.

“A trivial incident led to riots between the people of the area. Since both the communities happened to be illiterate, the matter just flared up,” said Memon Goth Station House Officer (SHO).

Meanwhile, Minority Affairs Minister Dr Mohan Lal has assured Hindus of full government protection.

“I have directed the DPO and the SHO to ensure that these people go back to their houses safely,” Lal said.

Hindu Pilgrims from Pakistan spend days in courts, offices instead of shrines in India

By Gopinath Kumar (Executive Editor)
Friday, July 09, 2010
(PHOTO : Pakistani Hindu Pilgrims outside police commissioner’s office in Shahibaug. It took them an entire day to get registered with the police, India)
Rajasthan : India is known for her hospitality, but we are sorry to say that our experience with the officials here is nothing short of a nightmare,” says Satya Ramprakash, a member of a 65-member Hindu pilgrim group that has come from Pakistan.

The group wanted to visit various places of religious importance to the Hindus, but so harried it is that many of them are planning to dump the tour midway and return to Pakistan.

The 65-member group left Sindh in Pakistan on June 18 for India on a month-long pilgrimage. They arrived in Jodhpur the very next day and their trauma began then and there. Rules are such that besides registering with the local police, they have to have a guarantor in each city they visit. Their local guarantor at Jodhpur, Acharya Gopal, washed off his hands of their onward journey, once they reached there.

“Despite valid visa, we had to go to the court to file an affidavit, stating that we are from Pakistan and have come to India on a pilgrimage. We sought residential permit so that we could stay at some places during our month-long tour. It took us as many as eight days to complete the formality,” said Nagji Thakor, a person of Gujarati origin who lives at Virpur village in Sindh province.

“Since we could not check into any hotel, we had to spend our days at courts and offices and nights at railway station,” he added. That the group had many elderly persons and women did not move the officials.

However, they expressed their gratitude to local people. “People are friendly. They have helped us and guided us. It is the set of rules that has balked us. If you have such rules what is the fun in running Samjhauta Express?” said Sardara Prajapati.

He pointed out that many groups have travelled to India in the past, but they did not face such problems.

The group arrived in Ahmedabad on Sunday and ran into the “Bharat bandh” on Monday. After wasting a day, they went to the police commissioner’s office in Shahibaug on Tuesday morning. It took the entire day for them to register themselves.

“The recent change in rules and procedure has sapped our spirit and energy. Registration that should take a few hours is taking days and instead of praying at shrines we are spending time in courts and offices,” Goswami Bhairopriya Maharaj who is from Dingan village in Sindh.

“Many are contemplating going back to Pakistan. I am not sure how many of us will continue with the tour,” he added.

The group’s next stop is Radhanpur in north Gujarat. Their itinerary included visiting 150 small and big religious places across India during the 28-day tour. Some of the important places included Jodhpur, Barmer, Ahmedabad, Radhanpur, Mathura and Hardwar. They entered India in Samjhauta Express via Attari in Punjab.

Hindu Sindhis Find Their Way to a New Home in Indonesia

By Editorial Staff
Friday, July 09, 2010
INDONESIA : Businessman Devidas Hemrajani’s story is just one among the many Sindhis who have left their home country and now call Indonesia home.

Sixty years ago, Devidas arrived in Indonesia after months of traveling from Sindh, which is now a province of Pakistan. At the time, Sindh was being torn by often bitter conflicts between Hindus and Muslims.

Devidas, now 77, recalled that six months before he left, the Hindus in Sindh had already started their mass exodus in 1947, when the partition of India and Pakistan took place.

At the time, Devidas, along with his mother, sister and aunt, went to the train station where security officers asked them to put their belongings in the next train car. They were assured that the car would follow their own.

They never saw their belongings again. When they arrived in Mumbai, they were sent to a refugee camp where they were fed, clothed and sheltered over the next months, receiving better treatment than the people living near the camp.

“One morning, one of the guards asked me if I could write in English,” Devidas said. “I said yes. The next day, I was given the job of writing down food coupons for the refugees staying in the camp. To my dismay, they asked me to write fictitious names. I was aghast, the next day I quit.”

Devidas and his family eventually made their way to Singapore. A cousin in Jakarta then offered him a job, and although his mother was hesitant at first, she eventually gave Devidas her blessing.

After working several jobs in Jakarta, Devidas landed a well-paying job with Chotirmall, one of the biggest Sindhi companies in the city. Devidas worked at the company for 30 years, eventually leaving to start his own export business with his son.

Devidas’ story is not uncommon among the elder generation of Sindhis here. The Sindhis, with an estimated 10,000 families in Jakarta, are considered a minority within the larger Indian community here.

The word Sindhi is derived from Sindh, a province that was once part of India. In the 1947 partition of India by the British colonial rulers, Sindh, a Muslim majority province, became part of Pakistan. This resulted in an inflow of Muslim refugees from India, while many of Sindh’s Hindus made their way to India.

Jakarta’s Sindhi community is active in organizing events at every opportunity. This Thursday, for example, the community opened a three-day international gathering, the 17th International Sindhi Sammelan.

According to the Web site, the annual conference is a chance to bring together dispersed Sindhis, giving the community the chance to meet, network and interact.

Aside from helping Sindhis expand their business networks, the aim of the event is also to enhance knowledge of Sindhi culture and engage with the members of the community in a meaningful manner.

The first Sindhi-owned company in Indonesia was started by Wassiamall Assomull in 1865. When he went looking for employees, he turned to Hyderabad, Sindh, whose residents had a reputation for being honest and hard working.

The Sindhi community in Indonesia slowly grew with the arrival of the new workers, most of whom settled permanently in the country.

Some of them eventually set up their own businesses, and when India was partitioned in 1947, many went back to pick up members of their families and bring them to Indonesia.

Like Devidas, the partition paved the way for Kalu Metharam Bhagnani and his wife, Bhagwanti, to eventually settle in Indonesia. Both their fathers owned shops in East Java, one in Madiun and the other in Jombang.

When the partition happened, their families left their houses in Sindh and took the train to the nearby city of Jodapur, after which their fathers asked them to move to Indonesia.

When Kalu and Bhagwanti were rejoined with their families here, they adapted to the new way of life, but still managed to retain their culture.

Bhagwanti said that during those early years, “People were more loving. We would visit each other’s houses very often. People were very concerned with the kind of reputation they had.

“We had festivals where we toasted sweet chapatis [unleavened flatbread] and ate it cold and the married daughters were invited to the house for lunch to celebrate.”

As the Sindhi population steadily grew in Jakarta, they opened the Gandhi Memorial School. The Sindhis, realizing the importance of education as they made their way in their new country, even provided free education for children whose parents could not afford the school fees.

Over the years, the Sindhis found their place in Indonesia.

Sindhis like Raam Punjabi, who was a pioneer in the sinetrons, have played a major role in helping the local TV and film industry grow. Today, there are a number of major Sindhi film producers here.

While most Sindhis started in the textile and garment industries, like Haru Mahtani, today they are involved in a wide range of activities and businesses.

As Tourrmal Basssarmal Bhojawani, a Sindhi, puts it: “We may have lost our motherland, but destiny gave us a fatherland, where we have become proud citizens of Indonesia. Thank you, destiny!”

World's tallest Shiva statute unveiled in Nepal

Friday, July 09, 2010
KATHMANDU : A 108-feet tall Shiva statue, built by Indian businessman Kamal Jain, has been unveiled in Nepal. The statue was inaugurated by Swami Shankaracharya Madhav Sharanji Maharaj of Badrinath, India, at Sanga, a village situated in the east of Kathmandu.

Located 20-km east of Kathmandu, the statue is part of a complex spread over 400,000 sq feet that houses a 16-room resort, spa, yoga, health club and meditation center.

The statue is made of cement, concrete and iron and is coated with zinc and copper. It depicts Lord Shiva carrying a trishul in his hand while a snake is resting on his shoulder.

Jain has also built a resort in the area which has a children’s park, restaurant, spa and health centre, yoga and meditation centre. The site is expected to promote tourism.

Indian Hindus Assist In Sri Lanka’s Recovery

Friday, July 09, 2010
SRI LANKA : An Indian Hindu delegation has met senior Sri Lankan Buddhist monks to discuss post civil war recovery assistance, such as national conciliation, interfaith unity and repairing Hindu temples. The Hindu delegation, which included several priests, dignitaries and intellectuals, met the monks at the Mahabodhi Maha Viharaya, a Buddhist temple in Colombo on June 20.

“Committees have been appointed to improve mutual trust and for the repair of Hindu temples,” said Hindu priest Swami Dayananda Saraswathi, a co-chair of the World Council of Religious leaders who headed the Indian delegation.

The committees would also help promote pilgrimages in the two countries, said Buddhist Monk Banagala Upatissa Thera, the president of the Sri Lanka Maha Bodhi society. Ways of promoting harmony and unity between Hindu and Buddhist leaders were also discussed during the two-day talks which ended on June 21.

New Temple in the Works in Sumatra, Indonesia

Friday, July 09, 2010
SUMATRA : Balinese Hindus who have migrated to Sumatra have plans to build a temple in Muara Beliti. The Musi Rawas regional government of Sumatra has helped the group locate land and is bringing in experts from Bali to do the construction. The work will begin next year at an estimated cost of US$108,000.

Second Chicago Hinduism Summit Concludes Successfully

Friday, July 09, 2010
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS : Passionate speeches, a rapt audience, reverberations of an auspicious conch blown along with the chanting of ancient Sanskrit verses were just some of the highlights of the second Hinduism Summit held in Chicago. The Summit was held by the Forum for Hindu Awakening (FHA) and the Lake County Hindu Temple.

Among the event’s resolutions were to withdraw the community’s support for any “art, product, academic textbook or media that denigrate Hindu concepts and practices” and the protest against the persecution Hindus suffer in Bangladesh.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

BJP Demands, Grant dual citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs of Pakistan

By Gopinath Kumar (Executive Editor)
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
(PHOTO : Hindu Residents of Hosri protest against the kidnapping of their relatives, during a demonstration outside the press club in Hyderabad, June 19, 2010)
Jalandhar : The BJP on Tuesday demanded dual citizenship for the Sikhs and Hindus living in Pakistan on the lines of NRIs settled in other countries. It also asked the government to take up the issue of Indian citizenship for those Hindus and Sikhs who had migrated from Pakistan to India in the last two decades. with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) . The BJP demanded financial aid of Rs 500 per person for the migrants every month by the government.

The state BJP has formed a three-member committee, headed by Avinash Rai Khanna, member of Rajya Sabha, to look into this matter. Senior BJP leaders Dr Baldev Raj Chawla and Narottam Dev Ratti are the other two members of the committee.

“We met several families in Jalandhar, Rajpura and Amritsar, who are living in miserable conditions here. They had come to India after being harassed in Pakistan. The government has, however, not responded to their repeated pleas for Indian citizenship,” said Khanna, while addressing the media on Tuesday.

He said the committee would meet Punjab Chief Minister and Minister of State of External Affairs Preneet Kaur. He said if NRIs settled in other countries can get dual citizenship, why can’t Hindus and Sikhs living in Pakistan and Bangladesh get the same. He said the condition of Hindus and Sikhs settled in Pakistan was bad and they were being mistreated.

Recently, nearly 200 Pakistani Hindus, who had migrated to India in the last two decades, collectively started fight for their identity and gave their representations to the deputy commissioner concerned.

They lamented that despite spending over 10 to 15 years in India, the government did not given them Indian citizenship.

Rules say

According to the Citizen Amendment Rules, 2004, made under citizenship Rules,1956, of Citizenship Act, 1955, notified by the Ministry of Home Affairs, “In respect of minority Hindus with Pakistan citizenship, who have migrated to India more than five years back with intention of permanently settling down in India and have applied for India citizenship, the authority to register a person as a citizen of India under clauses (a), (c), (d) and (e) of subsection (1) of Section (5) of the Act shall be the concerned collector of the district where the applicant is ordinarily resident”.

Pakistani Hindus, Sikkim CM pay obeisance at Vaishno Devi Shrine in Kashmir

By Gopinath Kumar (Executive Editor)
Tuesday, June 6, 2010
(PHOTO : Shri Mata Vaishno Devi in Jammu & Kashmir)
Jammu : A group of 213 Hindus from Pakistan and Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chalming paid obeisance at the world famous Shri Mata Vaishno Devi cave shrine situated in Trikuta Hills of mountainous Reasi district, official sources here told UNI.

Likewise every year a batch of 213 Hindu devotees comprising 143 men, 50 women and 20 children under the banner of Yog Mata Mandal Trust, Sindh yesterday reached holy Katra town, said.

After performing hawans and offering special prayers at the cave shrine, the 22 families from Sindh in Pakistan, would return back tomorrow.

The Hindu devotees will further visit Jammu, Haridwar, Indore, Raipur, Jalgaon and Swaran Mandir and on July 25, they will leave for Pakistan, sources added.

This is for the third consecutive year, a batch of Hindu devotees from Pakistan reached Katra town under the banner of Yog Mata Trust for Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrimage.

The Sikkim Chief Minister also visited the cave shrine last night to pay obeisance.

Mr Chamling along with family last night reached Bhawan and after performing prayers in the morning aarti, he will leave for Jammu and fly back to Sikkim, sources further added.

Forced Conversions and Racial Discrimination in Pak: Sikhs protest UN inaction

By Purostam Sign, NYC
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
(PHOTO : Pakistani Sikh cadet in army)
PATIALA : Sikhs held protests, against United Nations’ inaction to stop continued forced conversion of minorities to Islam and grave abuse of human rights of minorities and women in Pakistan, to coincide with International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination, at Patiala near Dukhniwaran and Singh Sabha Gurudwaras, Monday.

Dr. Manjit Singh Randhawa, President of Sikh Nation Organisation, said that Sikhs appealed to the international community to prevail upon Pakistan to repeal the 'Nizam-e-Adl 2009 Regulation' that has “legitimized and legalized tyranny” by ‘Taliban’, in complete disregard to its international commitments under various UN Conventions, to safeguard Human Rights of its citizens within international borders of Pakistan.

He maintained that without repealing the Regulation it was impossible to save lives, property and Shrines of Minority Sikh and Hindu Communities in Swat Valley and North West Frontier Province in Pakistan that has been placed under ‘Taliban Rule’ by repealing all Pak Laws to maintain law and order.

The Regulation has taken away Human Rights of Women and female Children, whose freedom of conscience has been put to unreasonable restrictions and are subjected to honour killings, whipping, torture, degrading treatment and punishment in Swat Valley and adjoining province, in a country signatory to U.N. Conventions on Human Rights, he added.

Sikhs also appealed the international community to support their demand for ‘Vatican’ like status to ‘Nanakana’ Sahib along with eighteen thousand acres property of the shrine, to develop a “fear free abode for humanity”, without which “personal freedom” and “dignified survival” of Sikhs, Hindus, Christian and other Minority Communities seemed impossible.

They shamed United Nations Human Rights system for its "observed silence" on systematic and undeterred persecution of minorities that stood reduced to negligible level in Pakistan, as a result of “forced conversions, killings and migration” in the Islamic country that is signatory to various U.N. Conventions on Human and Minority Rights and Conservation of diverse Cultural and Religious World Heritage of Humanity.

Afghan Hindus and Sikhs grapple with uncertain future

By Dr.Radhe Shyam Kumar (PHP Mangang Editor)
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
(JALALABAD Apr 12, 2009: Afghan Hindus and Sikhs commemorate the 311th birthday of their religious leader inside their temple in the eastern Nangarhar on Sunday. PAJHWOK/Abdul Moheed Hashemi)
KABUL (Reuters) - They thrived long before the arrival of Islam in the seventh century and for a long time dominated the country's economy, but Sikh and Hindu Afghans now find themselves struggling for survival.

"We have no shelter, no land and no authority," says Awtar Singh, a senator and the only non-Muslim voice in Afghanistan's parliament.

"No one in the government listens to us, but we have to be patient, because we have no other options," says Singh, 47.

In a brief idyll in 1992, after the fall of the Moscow backed-government but before civil war erupted, there were around 200,000 Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan compared with around just a few thousand today.

When warring factions fought over Kabul, razing entire neighborhoods in deadly rocket barrages, the two communities became targets partly because of their religion, but also because they didn't have a militia of their own for protection.

Armed men stormed a temple in Kabul and tore a religious book to avenge the destruction of a mosque by fanatic Hindus in India. After complaining of extortion, intimidation, kidnappings, theft and even rape, those with the means fled to India where they live as aliens and require visas, like other foreigners.

Ironically the rise to power of the hard-line Islamist Taliban marked an improvement in the lives of those who remained -- and some emigres even started to return.

"The Taliban did not suppress us -- they respected our religion and if we had any problem they would resolve it immediately, let alone delay it until the next day," says Singh.

Some Afghan Hindus were baffled by Western outrage at one Taliban decree -- ordering them to wear a yellow tag to identify their religion -- saying in practical terms it spared their clean-shaven faces from the wrath of the Taliban religious police, who insisted Muslim Afghan men must grow beards.

The Sikhs escaped scrutiny because they also grow their beards long.

Since the Taliban's fall, Afghanistan's new constitution promises religious minorities greater freedoms than before, but it is harder to ensure in practical terms.

Hindus and Sikhs had scores of properties stolen during the civil war and its aftermath and thousands of claims lie gathering dust in the arcane bureaucracy that makes up the government.

"I have my family still in India because I have lost my house and other properties," says Awtam Singh, who was an important trader in the old days but is now reduced to selling herbal medicines in a tiny Kabul shop.

"We feel ignored by this government," he laments.

While tens of thousands of Muslim Afghans have the same problems, they at least have politicians or leaders fighting their corner.

Some of the returning Hindus and Sikhs have brought their families and live mostly in secure areas such as Kabul and eastern city of Jalalabad, where they have temples and segregated schools.

Even after death, problems continue. Part of the land that Sikhs and Hindus use for the funeral pyres for their dead has been taken over by urban sprawl in Kabul.

"I can not see things getting better for us," said Awtam.

"The Indians say you belong to Afghanistan, and here we are seen as Indians. No government cares for us, he said.

(Editing by David Fox and Sanjeev Miglani)