NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013

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

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

When the Indus became a river of sorrow (Floods in Pakistan)

By Frank Huzur (Islamabad City)
Wednesday, September 08, 2010

That the Indus will become the ‘Yellow river of sorrow’ for Pakistan and wreak havoc and destruction more unbearable than suicide bombings was inconceivable until the angry waters came flooding in in the early hours of July 29, 2010.

In the holy month of Ramadan fasting, over 30 million Pakistanis running helter skelter for food, water and shelter has evoked the ghostly memories of the bloody month of Ramadan 63 years ago in 1947 when the largest migration of Hindus and Muslims bloodied the waters of the Indus river.

Relief camps have sprung up nearly at every traffic corner and market square in Lahore and Islamabad.
I could sniff screaming silence in the air of Lahore. The city was crying in the month of Ramadan.

In a fortnight of surging floodwaters, stories of displacement and death began to rattle the terror-scarred grief-stricken streets.

Civilisation has thrived on the banks of the Indus for over 5,000 years. The deluge of August threatens to devour the sanctum sanctorum of the Indus valley civilisation, Mohenjodaro in Sindh.

As 30 million people languish in agonising despair over the loss of home and hearth, daughters and brothers, their lament has few takers.

President Asif Ali Zardari, meanwhile, was gambolling in the summery breeze of Paris and London, admiring the frescoes of his chateau and castle, fobbing off hurled shoes from expatriates and defending his jaunt by claiming that his visit brought more publicity and triggered largesse from the international community.
People on the street scoff at the president’s appeal and call him the ‘Nero of Rome’.

There are many tales of pillage and plight floating like a rickety boat on the Indus and the Chenab.
It was chilling to learn of the dilemma of about 50,000 Hindus in the Jacobabad, Thund, Sultanpur and Khanpur areas of upper Sindh.

Bhutto’s Larkana is, however, safe and sound, and people of Larkana are sheltering displaced Hindus population.

Needless to say, the increasing Islamisation of Pakistan has left only 1.8 percent Hindus in Pakistan’s 175 million population. The majority of about 2.8 million Pakistani Hindus live in the upper Sindh area and are affluent traders.

A greater number of them populate the Sindh township of Tharparkar, Umerkot, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar, Badin and Hyderabad. They have virtually monopolised the trading in cotton, dry fruits, carpet weaving and retail in these places and have also won enviable reputation amongst Muslims.

The fury of Indus water brings tears to their eyes more because Hindus consider its riverbanks an important pilgrimage point. Not only have their homes been swept away, their fewer places of worship, mostly Shiva temples, have also been washed away.

There is also reported increase in the kidnapping of young Hindu girls in the age group of 10-16 who are compelled to convert to Islam.

Some elders of the community grumble that their complaints are not being registered at the local police station. Similar is the fate of young Christian girls in Punjab.

The mysterious disappearance of young girls and boys is actual cause for concern in the middle of the humanitarian disaster.

The Sikhs of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) are also living in disquietude and despair. The newly christened province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwas has won reprieve from booming sounds of suicide and car bombings but the angst of living through bomb blasts has given way to drag of saving their houses, livestock and their women and men.

Not fewer than 10,000 Sikhs are bearing the brunt of the catastrophe. Temples and Gurudwaras in Larkana and Peshawar are transformed into rehabilitation camp and community kitchen.

Christians in Punjab are in equal misery. The scale of the tragedy has, for once, blurred the religious divide in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Communities are reaching out to each other in distressing moments.
Nevertheless, millions of those who found themselves homeless and other millions who are still marooned confess candidly that they have lost faith in the democratic dispensation of President Zardari.

The entire democratic machinery, the elected representatives across the party spectrum, has gone missing.
Maulana Fazlur Rahman, popular as Maulana Diesel, who heads the right-wing Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JuI) is performing Umrah in Jeddah.

The Taliban of Afghanistan is the creation of madrassas run by Rahman across all provinces in Pakistan. His capacity to raise battalions of fighters is his claim to political importance irrespective of the ruling party in Islamabad. He is the son of Maulana Mufti Mahmood, former chief minister of Khyber Pakthunwa who had defeated Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in the Dera Ismail Khan constituency in the 1970 general election.

Dir and Swat are the worst-hit in the tribal areas. Swat continues to be cut off from mainland Pakistan. Landmines and anti-aircraft missiles of terrorists are also found floating in floodwaters downstream from South Waziristan.

Over 100 Hindus living in Swat are homeless, with their only temple demolished in the floodwaters, too. Similar fate befell a few hundred Hindus in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Area) and Dera Ismail Khan, Nowshera, Charsadda and Buner.

The government system has crashed. The confidence in the leadership to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of unfortunate population has hit rock bottom.

Umar Khayyam, a Lahore-based advocate and political analyst, sums up the misery of his people:
“While strategic foresight, administrative finesse and political acumen have never been the strengths of the Zardari-led cabal of novices, never have their failings been exposed as brutally before, as during this dire crisis. Pakistanis are being crunched in the pincer of monstrous calamity coupled with ineffectual and criminally negligent governmental response.”

It’s anybody guess what is the deepest crisis of Pakistan’s national life Umar is pointing to.

(Frank Huzur is a biographer of Pakistan cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan. His upcoming book, “Imran Versus Imran: The Untold Story” is expected soon. He can be reached at

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