NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013

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

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rally for Hindu leader in Hyderbad, Pakistan

By PHP Staff
Thursday, May 26, 2011
(Photo : Protest Rally Against fake Murder Case on Veerji Kolhi, Pakistan)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Abbas Kassar 
Date: Wed, May 25, 2011 at 12:07 AM
Subject: rally for Hindu leader in hyd
To: Pakistan Hindu Post (PHP)

HYDERABAD, May 25, 2011: Civil society along with Hindu communities of
Kolhi, Bheel Meghwar and others took out rally in Hyderabad against
registration of false murder case on Hindu leader and noted social
worker Veerji Kolhi at Nagarparkar police station on behest of an
influential Wadera. The activists of various civil society
organizations took out rally from city gate hotel on national highway
to press club where the leaders addressed it. Hundreds of men and
women participated in rally. They were chanting slogans to withdraw
false case against Veerji Kolhi. Those who addressed the rally before
press club Hyderabad included Punhal Saryo of Sindh Hari Porhyat
Council, Zulfiqar Shah of SPO, Jabbar Bhatti, M. Parkash of Pakistan
Liberal Forum, Javed Soz Halai, Dr. Ashothama Sindh coordinator of
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Shafiq Kandhro, Abbas Khoso,
Kashif Bajiee, professor Amar Sindhu of Aurat Foundation, advocate
Bhagwandas Bheel, Pahlaj Kolhi, Veersi Kolhi and Mukesh Meghwar. They
said that Veerji Kolhi is a noted social worker who had done a
labourious struggle for human rights. He had carried an arduous
struggle last year for getting justice for the rape victim Hindu girl
Kishwari. His such activities proved thorn in eyes of Waderas who are
used to commit atrocities with the minority people men and women.
Being infuriated the influential Waderas who are involved in
atrocities against Hindus including committing rape on their women
arranged registration of false murder case against Veerji Kolhi only
to remove him from the path of right. They said that on the day FIR at
Nanagarparkar police station was lodged Veerji was in Hyderabad having
meeting with civil society.They said that the human rights activists
cannot be bowed by such false cases. They demanded judicial inquiry of
this case and demanded to punish police officers who had lodged case
on behest of Waderas. Otherwise they warned to extend the scope of
protest in whole country.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

PAKISTAN: Young Hindu was abducted from police station by a religious mob and his whereabouts are unknown. Police refuse to investigate

By Mohammad S.Solanki (executive editor)
Thursday, May 19, 2011

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Krishna Kumar
Date: Thu, May 19, 2011 at 2:26 PM
Subject: PAKISTAN: Young Hindu was abducted from police station by a religious mob and his whereabouts are unknown. Police refuse to investigate

Dear Mr. Asif Ali Zardari,

PAKISTAN: Young Hindu was abducted from police station by a religious mob and his whereabouts are unknown. Police refuse to investigate

Name of victims:
1.Mr. Mohabat Mal (22) son of Veero Mal, resident of Darhio Colony, opposite Tahir Hotel, Ring Road Mirpurkhas, Sindh province
2. Mr. Veero Mal, father of the victim, resident of Darhio Colony, opposite Tahir Hotel, Ring Road Mirpurkhas, Sindh province
3. Mr. Pyro Mal, maternal uncle of the victim, resident of Darhio Colony, opposite Tahir Hotel, Ring Road Mirpurkhas, Sindh province
4. Mr. Parro Mal, maternal uncle of victim, resident of Darhio Colony, opposite Tahir Hotel, Ring Road Mirpurkhas, Sindh province

Names of alleged perpetrators:
1.Maulvi Ahtesham Pathan, Pesh Imam (mosque leader) of Madani Masjid, Mirpurkhas, Sindh province
2. Maulvi Iftekhar Punjabi, resident of Madani Masjid, Mirpurkhas, Sindh province
3. Maulvi Maqsood Punjabi, resident of Madani Masjid, Mirpurkhas, Sindh province
4. Inspector Javed Pathan, station House Office (SHO), Satellite town police station, Mirpurkhas, Sindh province
5. Mr. Kanwar Singh Thakur, deputy superintendent of police (DSP), Mirpurkhas, Sindh province
6. Mr. Riaz Ahmed Soomro, district police officer (DPO) Mirpurkhas district, Sindh province
Date of incident: August 13, 2010
Place of incident: Satellite Town, Mirpurkhas, Sindh province

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the abduction and rape of a young Hindu man by a Muslim fundamentalist group and the indifferent attitude of the district police of Mirpurkhas to take legal action against the perpetrators.

I am shocked to know that a group from Madani Masjid (mosque) under the leadership of its Pesh Imam (mosque leader) abducted a young Hindu in order to force him to convert his religion. The victim was raped during his nine month’s captivity and was forced to sign plain papers that he has left the Hindu religion and converted to Islam. This practice had been common now for many years in the some areas of Sindh province bordering India where a sizable Hindu community live and are from scheduled castes.

I want to bring in your attention the case of Mr. Mohabat Mal son of Veero Mal, resident of Darhio Colony, opposite Tahir Hotel, Ring Road Mirpurkhas, Sindh province, was pursued by a group of Muslim religious leaders of the Madani mosque, Mirpurkhas, on August 13, 2010, the first day of holy month of Ramadan, to change his religion as they wanted to arrange his marriage with a girl from the Muslim community and would also provide a good social status as he was from Dalit community, a scheduled cast section of the Hindu religion. Mohabat Mal went along with Maulvi Ahtesham Patham, the leader of the mosque and his two accomplices, Maulvi Iftekhar Punjabi and Maqsood Punjabi. The victim was forced to sign the plain papers for his conversion. After some resistance from him the man was locked in the house of Ahtesham, adjacent to the mosque.

I am also informed that on April 4, 2011 he managed to run away from their custody and reached his house where he told his parents that he was abducted and sodomised by the Mosque leader and he was forced to sign plain papers and was declared as Muslim. The parents tried to file a complaint in the police station but some policemen informed the mosque leader. The mosque leader with more than 100 persons attacked his house and threatened the parents that they would face more trouble if they ever try to file the case. In the meanwhile Mohabat Mal contacted one Hindu community based human rights organization at Hyderabad, 70 kilometers from his city, the Mirpurkhas, to help him. The organization managed a lawyer who prepared a petition for Sindh High Court, Hyderabad, against his forced conversion of religion and his rape during his nine months of captivity. One day before the filing of the petition more than hundred people under the leadership of Pathan and other perpetrators attacked his house in Mirpukhas and the family was made hostage. The family was forced to contact Mohabat to surrender himself to them. The family also contacted police and police officials including the Station House Officer (SHO) of the Satellite Police Station, Mirpurkhas. Inspector Javed Pathan, assured the family that if victim surrender to the police then they will take him before the session court and record his statement. On police assurance he was contacted the next day by the parents to come to the house and present himself to the police. At this time he was at the high court to file the petition against the rapist and abductors but he left quickly to attend his family and record his statement. On the same day, May 12, he went to police station where a big mob amounting to hundreds of people were gathered outside. The police took him inside the police station to record his statement before producing him in session’s court. Mosque leader, Ahtesham Pathan, delivered a fiery speech outside the police station and suddenly the mob entered the police station and took him out by passing overhead from hand to hand.

I am distressed to learn the police provided the lame excuse for failing to take action by saying that he is Muslim and the agitators will produce him before the session’s court. The police once again when confronted by religious extremists remained silent spectators. The District Police Officer (DPO), Mr. Riaz Ahmed Soomro, and Mr. Kanwar Singh Thakar, the deputy superintendent of police (DSP) arrived at the scene but told the family members that they cannot stop the mob as there are chances of Hindu/Muslim riots. The police did not follow the mob when they took the victim and the mob continuously announced that the victim was their new Muslim friend when they took away him to an unknown destination. Since then his whereabouts are unknown and police stopped the investigation as the victim has become Muslim and he would be in better environment. The lawyer and activists of Hindu community have several times contacted the police high officials of the district to recover him but the police told them that they have his signed papers which claim that he has converted to Muslim so they cannot do anything in the case.

Amazingly, in order to look as if they were taking action the police arrested the victim's father, Veero Mal, his two maternal uncles, Mr. Pyaro Mal and Mr. Parro Mal on the complaint of Pathan, the mosque leader, that they had abducted victim and kept him in illegal captivity. This complaint was filed when first time Mohabat Mal ran away from the captivity of mosque leader.

I am gravely concerned that it is a common practice in Sindh province where the ruling party received the majority votes and which claims to be the custodians of the interests of religious minority groups. The constitution and Pakistan Penal Code provide all constitutional and legal protection to religious minority groups. But the government has left the minority groups without any protection and given freedom to fundamentalist groups to use force against the minorities with the connivance of police.

Pakistan has also ratified the International Covenant on the Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and its following are articles are violated through their negligence of the provincial government and police; Article 10 all persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person. Article17-1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation 2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. Article 18- 1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching. 2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.

I hope that you will follow the constitutional and legal rights of the members of religious minority groups and would also follow the ICCPR article which was ratified by the government of Pakistan.

I urge you to take action for the recovery of Mr. Mohabat Mal who was abducted by the Muslim fundamentalist groups and would also provide protection to him and his family. I also urge to prosecute the perpetrators and police officers of the district Mirpurkhar district who covertly supporting the Muslim extremist groups of the district to forcefully converting the religion of members of the Hindu community.

I look forward to your prompt response and action in this case.

Yours sincerely,

Krishna Kumar (PHP)

Will Brad Pitt explore Hinduism?

By PHP Staff
Thursday, May 19, 2011
(Photo : Brad Pitt is an American actor and film producer. He has received two Academy Award nominations and four Golden Globe Award nominations, winning one and he has been described as one of the world's most attractive men, a label for which he has received substantial media attention)

United States : Hindus have suggested Hollywood star Brad Pitt to explore Hinduism in view of his statement in about his religious experience in childhood which he described: "I found it very stifling".

Esteemed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Pitt would appreciate rich, diverse and long tradition of Hindu philosophy; and its interpretation of the nature of reality.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that if Pitt needed any help in deeper Hinduism exploration, he or other Hindu scholars would be glad to assist.

Rajan Zed recommended Pitt to realize the Self. Ancient Hindu scripture Katha Upanishad points out that when wise realize the Self, they go beyond sorrow. Self is supreme and those who meditate on Self are freed from the cycle of birth and death. When one realizes Self, there is nothing else to be known.

Pitt was quoted in dated May 16: "I got brought up being told things were God's way, and when things didn't work out it was called God's plan," he said. "I've got my issues with it. Don't get me started. I found it very stifling."

Oscar nominated William Bradley Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), 47, is an American actor and film producer. Named Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine twice, Pitt has Oscar winner Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie (Changeling) as domestic partner and both have six children. He was reportedly raised as Southern Baptist and is vegan.

Oscar winner Hollywood star Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman) joined the Hindu fold in the recent past.

Pakistani Hindus visit Sai Baba temple in India

By Mohammad S.Solanki (executive editor)
Thursday, May 19, 2011
( Photo : Sai-Baba )

New Delhi (India) : A group of nearly 135 Pakistani Hindus, including women and children, today visited the famous Sai Baba temple in Shirdi and offered pooja.

The pilgrims, on a one-month long visa, are paying visits to famous Hindu temples in India.
As part of the tour, they visited the Sai Baba Temple here, one of the pilgrims said.

Pakistani Hindu families living in India seek citizenship

By PHP Staff
Thursday, May 19, 2011
(Photo : Indian passport )

Khanna, May 17 (PTI) Several Hindu families from Pakistan staying in Khanna, Rajpura and other towns of Punjab are seeking Indian citizenship, citing that they cannot go back "as atmosphere of terror prevails there." Despite being in India for several years, the government is yet to accept their pleas for citizenship, claimed many of those who moved to India. Om Lal, currently residing in New Model Town here, said he is a Pakistani Hindu, who shifted to India with his family on September 20, 1999, on the basis of Pakistan passport. He said his family has been allowed to stay in India on year to year basis. Lal said at the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner's office in 2007 his family applied for Indian citizenship. Their application had been forwarded to Department of Home Affairs and Justice, Punjab Government, from where the case had been forwarded with positive recommendation to the Secretary, Union Home Affairs Ministry on May 26, 2010.

"We cannot go back. There is an atmosphere of terror prevailing in Pakistan. We want the Government to grant us Indian citizenship," Lal said. Around 35 members of six families from Pakistan are residing in Khanna town. Some families are also staying in Rajpura for a long time ago and are seeking citizenship. These families have rued that their world is limited to the jurisdiction of Khanna and Rajpura as they are allowed to leave the station only after police permission. "They had entered India with valid travel documents, but refused to return home citing that an atmosphere of terror prevailed there and ill treatment in Pakistan," a police official in Rajpura said. A Pakistani Hindu said: "Though I am not allowed outside Rajpura without permission, I would prefer staying here rather than going back." "In the absence of citizenship rights, we face problem related to employment, housing, health, education and others... We consider India as our motherland and this is the only and last resort available for us." Scores of Pakistani Hindu families have requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to listen to their grievances.

Meanwhile, BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member Avinash Rai Khanna said he has taken up the issue of such families in the Rajya Sabha recently. Khanna, who is heading a three-member committee of the BJP constituted to locate and help Pakistani Hindu families, said they were forced to leave Pakistan "due to an atmosphere of terror there, especially the Taliban." PTI Cor SUN

Registration of Hindu marriages: body formed to draft law, Pakistan

By PHP Staff
Thursday, May 19, 2011

Karachi : A committee comprising Hindu representatives has been formed to propose a draft on a law pertaining to Hindu marriages, officials of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said.

The seven-member committee was formed at the third meeting of the HRCP’s “Working group on communities vulnerable because of their beliefs” at a local hotel here on Thursday.

A member of the HRCP, Amarnath Motumal, said that the committee would decide on simple method of registration, and proposed that a district judge be given the responsibility to register the marriages of Hindus.

The Secretary-General of HRCP, I. A. Rehman, said that out of the many problems, a common issue Hindu couples faced while proceeding abroad pertained to giving evidence of being married.

He said registration of marriages must be compulsory for all communities.

The working group brought to light the problems being faced by the Hindu community in the absence of a law for registering their marriages.

Pushpa Kumari, hailing from Tando Jam, said that when she wanted to go to Bangkok, officials at a Nadra office kept on asking her what proof did she have to show that she was married.

Kumari was left with no other choice but to search for one of the wedding cards sent out to the guests some 20 years ago to prove to the authorities that she was married. “My bindiya or my mangal sutar — the two traits of a married Hindu woman — were not enough. There is no law in Pakistan which can prove that I am married,” she said.

Rochi Ram, a lawyer, delved into the history of Hindu marriage laws in India and said that the neighboring country had been making amendments to deal with the changing times.

An ordinance during Ayub Khan’s rule had made registration of marriages compulsory for Muslim couples but none for Hindu couples, he said.

He said that though the Hindu religion did not allow divorce, yet keeping in line with the modern times, laws on divorce, separation and alimony must also be introduced.

Another lawyer, Rajesh Kapoor, said that the marriage law was essential as women were subjected to violence by men and hence they would not be exploited.

Mangla Sharma, chairperson of the Pak-Hindu Welfare Association, corroborated and said that the absence of a law had given a free hand to those who had been involved in forceful conversions.

The discussion on the need for a law for the Hindu marriages followed a discussion on the current situation of people belonging to the smaller communities.

An Ahmedi, Munawar Ali, said that his community neither had any religious rights nor political ones.

“Today, militants are throwing threatening pamphlets at our places of worship, warning of an attack similar to last year’s. In the parliament, we have no representative, nor are we allowed to vote,” he said.

A Shia member from the Hazara community in Quetta, Muhammad Ashraf, had some more devastating accounts to share.

“My own son became a target of violence by militants. He was fired upon, and later outside the hospital where his body laid, a suicide bomber exploded himself, killing seven other people,” he said.

He said that the never-ending violence since 1999 had claimed lives of 500 men and rendered 1,000 injured.

From the Christian community, Zahid Farooq, without mentioning the word blasphemy, spoke on the law and how it was being used to settle personal scores.

“295 C is being used for enmity, and continues to pose a threat to our community. It is unfortunate that those who speak against it are silenced,” he said.

Sporting the common Sikh style, Sardar Krishan highlighted the plight of their gurdwaras, mentioning that the gurdawara in Arambagh had been sealed by the government while another in Saddar was being destroyed.

Robbers kill Hindu trader, snatch Rs3m in Pakistan

By Mohammad S.Solanki (Executive Editor)
Thursday, May 19, 2011
( Photo : Map_of_Pakistan )

OSTA MOHAMMAD (INP) : A trader of Hindu community was gunned down and another person sustained injuries when robbers ambushed their car near the by-pass road on Tuesday and also snatched Rs3 million from the trader.

Police said that Hindu trader identified as Ajeet Kumar and Abdul Waheed Magsi were on the way to home when armed robbers signalled them to stop near the by-pass but they sped away their car. The robbers opened fire at the car, killing the Hindu trader at the spot and inflicting injuries on Abdul Waheed.Police arrived at the spot and shifted the body and the injured to nearby hospital from where the injured was moved to Larkana Hospital in critical condition.

The killing of Hindu trader sparked panic and rage among the Hindu community members and also among the traders community who kept the body in front of City Police Station and blocked the road in front of police station by burning the tyres over the road.

Hindu Shopkeeper Murdered in Punjab State, Minorities Protest in Pakistan

By PHP Staff
Thursday, May 19, 2011
( Photo : Map_of_Pakistan )

Islamabad : Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan have demanded protection for the minorities, who are living in "insecurity" across the country, as they took to the streets over the killing of a shopkeeper from the community in Punjab province's Hassanabdal town.

Hindus and Sikhs of Hassanabdal town blocked the G T Road with the body of Kanhaiya Lal, a 70-year-old shopkeeper who was shot dead on Wednesday evening while he was returning home from his shop.

Hindus and Sikhs had protested outside the hospital where his body was taken for autopsy.

The members of the two communities expressed resentment at the insecurity of minorities across Pakistan during the protest.

On Thursday morning, the body was handed over to the shopkeeper’s relatives for cremation.

As a large number of Hindus and the Sikhs led by PML-N parliamentarian Araish Kumar were taking the body to the Indus river for cremation, some people placed the body in the middle of the G T Road and blocked the traffic.

They shouted slogans against the killing of Lal and alleged that minorities were not being provided adequate security across the country.

Traffic on the Rawalpindi-Peshawar stretch of the G T Road and Hassanabdal-Hazara road was suspended due to the protest.

The protesters demanded that Lal’s killers should be arrested and Hindus and Sikhs living in the area should be provided adequate security.

Lawmaker Kumar said the murder had created fear and insecurity among minorities. The government had completely failed to protect minorities, who were being killed and abducted, he alleged.

The minorities were also being threatened by influential people of the area, he said.

Kumar said he would raise the murder in parliament.

Lal shifted to Hassanabdal from Battagram after the October 2005 earthquake.

He was a spiritual healer and a large number of Muslims and non-Muslims frequently visited him for treatment of diseases.

66-year-old Ram Singh Sodho, a prominent Hindu politician of the opposition PML-Q from southern Sindh province, moved to India to settle with relatives after tendering his resignation in January.

Muslim guards Hindus in stereotyped Pakistan

By Amar Guriro (Karachi)
Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Baloch spent life maintaining Hindu burial site in Karachi,Pakistan

(Photo : A mixed gathering of Hindus on the eve of a dear ones demise. Such ceremonies can be held at home as well as at cremation ground and graveyard, Pakistan)

It may not sound unusual that Murad Bukhsh Baloch takes pride in his religion and work, both.

Baloch is a unique Muslim who serves as caretaker of Hindu cremation ground and graveyard, depicting harmonious coexistence in a heavily stereotyped country like Pakistan.

Gujjar Hindu Cremation Ground, around 150-year-old burial-and-cremation facility for Sindhi Hindus located in Pakistan’s southern-most metropolis Karachi, is significant for half-million followers of the religion here.

Just inside huge main entrance gate, Murad has been watching the dead Hindus pouring in to the ground for a quarter of his life.
(Photo : Being custodian of ashes, Baloch looks after the ashes until they are immersed in holy water of Ganges, India, Pakistan)

Located in thickly populated Lyari town, the stronghold of late Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party, which she had chosen for her wedding party, Baloch is not only looking after this 22-acre graveyard and cremation ground but also arranging woods and other items required for cremation since 1990.

He passionately cleans and maintains statues lying in small temples inside the premises. He also lights up lamps inside the temple, an important religious rites.

“It’s pleasure to serve the alive and the dead,” he says, adding, “Islam teaches me co-existence and peace.”

With 3 million population as per 1998 national census, Hindus are the biggest religious minority of Pakistan.

Majority of Pakistani Hindus are living in Karachi, Mirpurkhas and Sukkur regions of southern Sindh province. Majority of them belong to lower castes, they work as landless peasants, ironsmiths or construction labour.

Besides looking after the arrangements, Baloch guards this prime land in the heart of the city. Like other Asian urban centers, Karachi is a rapidly growing city where land grab for high-rise buildings is the biggest challenge.

‘Targeted killings’ claimed thousands in recent years, some of them fell prey to land grabbers. Sprawling land of Gujjar Hindu Cremation Ground remains seriously vulnerable.

He smilingly remarks, “The Balochs known to be warriors and even before Pakistan’s creation, we have served the Hindus for decades in Karachi.”

(Baloch looks at the ashes of those Hindus who died since 1990 but had could not be taken to the Ganges in India. - Photo by Amar Guriro, Pakistan)

Once Karachi was a Hindu dominated city and most businesses belonged to them.

In creation of Pakistan and modern day India in 1947, most of these Hindus migrated to the Hindu majority cities in Maharashtra state across the newly-carved border.

According to official data, today Karachi is home to over half a million Hindus. Except a few, Hindus mostly are poor and belong so-called lower castes. The poor ones bury their dead, while the rich and upper-caste Hindus cremate their deceased dear ones.

Besides performing a role of traditional pundit (religious leader) in the temple, guarding the land and taking care of other religious rites, Baloch also serves warden for ashes, which were kept in this graveyard.

Hindus burn their dead and preserve the ashes in a cremation ground. Each of 130 earthen pots or plastic jars here is tied with red-and-white cloth, wrapped in flower wreaths and tags carry various identification details in Sindhi, Urdu, Hindi or English language.

The facility is not exclusive to the Hindus as Buddhists, Japanese and Chinese communities also preserve ashes of their dead here.

Ironically, when family members of the deceased wanted to take their ashes to immerse them in holy water of Ganges in India, the Pakistani Hindus were denied such religious rites across the border after 1971.

After India actively patronized Pakistan’s Bengali to break from the country, bitterness soared to the highest point. Both India and Pakistan tightened visa procedures for each other.

Only recently, the Pakistani Hindus won this right from India and ashes Baloch had been guarding for the last 21 year were taken there to immerse in the holy Ganges.

While talking to this correspondent, he was continuously directing some men to keep an eye on the workers, as construction was underway in the cremation ground.

When he was a child, his family lived near the historical cremation ground where people used to spend their evening as there were not many public parks around back then.

As a child, Baloch witnessed several bodies being cremated in the ground.

“I used to wonder why Hindus burn their dead,” his elders used to tell him that it is an important rite of Hindu religion.

He still remembers image of Maharaj Durga Bharati, a Hindu pundit and caretaker of the cremation ground, who used to perform religious rituals during the funerals.

“Bharati was a nice man who distributed candies and toffees among the children and greeted everyone, even Muslims in this Hindu graveyard-cum-cremation,” recalls Baloch.

Nostalgic Baloch says those were good times when nobody discriminated on the basis of religion. People were indentified with their respective profession.

He doesn’t have any problem working here, thus he wants his son Ayaz Baloch to succeed him.

Dr Govind Ram Dheerani, secretary general of Pakistan Hindu Foundation, says, “I am happy to find Baloch as caretaker of the graveyard as only a Muslim can work properly here in a country like Pakistan.”

Though religious extremism is on the rise in Pakistan, since the partition in 1947, inter-communal relations in Sindh remained generally peaceful, and the province has never witnessed any major anti-Hindu violence. Knee-jerk reaction to extremist Hindus’ demolition of Babri Masjid in Indian city of Ayodhya in 1992 is the only incident of its kind.

The Hindus and Muslims of Sindh enjoy a shared cultural heritage besides common Sufi influences.

Though in recent years some of Pakistani Hindus migrated to different countries, but rarely Sindhi Hindus have left the country as majority of Sindhi Hindus still enjoy living in Pakistan.

(NOTE : Amar Guriro is a staff reporter for daily Pakistan Today, in Karachi, Pakistan. He is also a media fellow of the UK-based NGO Water-Aid-Pakistan’s media fellowship program since 2009. He specializes in reporting on environment, health, conflicts and religious minorities. Amar has reported for Himal South Asian (Nepal), Daily Times (Pakistan) and The News on Sunday (Pakistan). He maintains his blog at

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Satsang at Kashmore (Sindh) organised by Hindu Sudhar Sabha Pakistan (HSSP)

By Rajesh Pandit (PHP Islamabad)
Tuesday, May 03, 2011

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kumar Randhawa
Date: Wed, Feb 2, 2011 at 5:28 AM
Subject: Report Baghti & Pictures
To: Pakistan Hindu Post (PHP)

 (Photo : Map of Kashmore Dist. in Sindh State of Pakistan)

Namastey !

Recently Hindu Sudhar Sabha Pakistan (HSSP) which is a government registered organization and also has account in MCB Pakistan, Conducted Satsang which (Sanskrit sat = true, sanga = company) is in Hindu philosophy that involves (1) the company of the "highest truth," (2) the company of a guru, or (3) company with an assembly of persons who listen to, talk about, and assimilate the truth. A comrehensive collection of Hindu Pujas and Bhajans in Sanskrit and Hindi at Kashmore district (Urdu: ضلع کشمور) which is a district of Sindh, Pakistan. The capital city is Kashmore which has a population of 312,500. Kashmore is bordered by Ghotki and Shikarpur other district in Sindh. The district is also bordered by Rajanpur and Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab.

Below find attach pictures of 2011 Satsang at Kashmore in Sindh of Pakistan.

 ( Photo : Amarnath jee on 2011 Satsang at Kashmore organised by Hindu Sudhar Sabha Pakistan (HSSP)
 ( Photo : 2011 Satsang at Kashmore organised by Hindu Sudhar Sabha Pakistan (HSSP)
 ( Photo : 2011 Satsang at Kashmore organised by Hindu Sudhar Sabha Pakistan (HSSP)
 ( Photo : 2011 Satsang at Kashmore organised by Hindu Sudhar Sabha Pakistan (HSSP)

For more information write email at or call us  92-321-477-2995.

Your’s faithfully,

Kumar Randhawa
HSSP Lahore Pakistan
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amar Nath
Subject: Details About Books Printing & Our Broucher
To: Pakistan Hindu Post (PHP)

(Photo : Bannar of Hindu Sudhar Sabha-Pakistan also called HSSP, Pakistan)

Dear Gopinathji,
I am sending you our broucher here all deals about our address & tell numbers are present in this broucher. Whenever our new broucher come after printing I will send to you that broucher also

         Introduction : Hindu Sudhar Sabha Pakistan (HSSP)
is government registered organization and also has account in MCB Pakistan. HSSP start working with anomalous speed and in very short time becomes famous in almost every department of the government. As we don’t have enough funds so now its graph decreasing day by day. It’s very difficult to run an organization without proper funding. We do not compromise in our religion and principles. My grandfather Chaudhry Tara Chand did not bend his knees in case of 22 years old graveyard’s problem. Same is the case with my father Hira Lal. Those people (Mafia) even now want to negotiate, but, we did not accept it and would not. HSSP helping itself to make it a better platform for Hindu minorities and poor Hindu families living in Punjab.  Me as a president of HSSP and also my members use to go to door to door for helping these poor and helpless people.

        HSSP is trying to solve the problems relating to social issues and also providing them education and specially emphasizing religious education. For the sake of it HSSP is trying to print our religious book Eshwar Milap for free distribution in these families. For the publishing of our book we also contacted Muslims and Christian organizations but no satisfactory answer from them. If this will continue then people start converting themselves into Christians. This was already happened in 1983 when mafia occupy our graveyard in Baghbanpura and Munawar Channd leader of that time also involve in it and case was discharged from the court. At that time Hindus also converted to Christians. That leader and mafia members humiliated our forefathers but they did not bent themselves. We have all  proves regarding to this problem.

       When HSSP started preaching and worshiping then Munawar Chand and their leader Bhagat Laal with his friends start interrupting. HSSP start worshiping for three months 2 days in a week. Because of this people use to visit frequently. They did not tolerate it and even start fighting. HSSP give application to Human and Basic Right Department of The Government of Punjab. They establish an inquiry commission and we have won the case. But even then Munawar Chand and Lal Bhagat also start interrupting and by using religious weapon Muslims shut down our Temple. HSSP is not ready to withdraw. Brother Gopinathji, if you faith on Bhagwan then please help us, so that in future our organization became strong and active here.

Here are some of the activities of HSSP -

Ø  Preaching and working for reestablishment of temple in district Narowal.

Ø  In the District Narowal we have arrange for Diwali Celebration after more than 60 years.

Ø  We are also re-constructing our temple in Kundh Kot (interior Sindh) and also helping flood effected Hindu families.

Ø  In the coming year we will visit to Marwari community and will arrange Preaching (Satsung) in Kundh Kot Sindh.

Ø  We are distributing Fertilizer, Food and reconstruction of houses for flood victim Hindu Families in KPK & Sindh.

of HSSP -

Ø  HSSP will establish a publishing company having name Sudhar Publications for publishing religious books, calendars, and literature.

Ø  To establish a trust in Lahore which start giving religious education to Hindu children’s belonging to Punjab.

Ø  To start Geeta Course for metric students

Hindu Sudhar Sabha Pakistan
Shimla Street Behind Native Public High School,
Durand Road, Bibi Pak Daman, Lahore-Pakistan.

Your’s faithfully,

Amarnath Randhawa
President of HSSP Lahore Pakistan

For more information about HSSP activities visit below links :-

2011 Baisakhi Mela at Narowal by Hindu Sudhar Sabha-Pakistan (HSSP), Pakistan

Invitation for 2011 Holi festival in Nowshera by HSSP in Pakistan

The PHP Team

Monday, May 2, 2011

Daily Inspiration from Pakistan Hindu Post (PHP)

By Dr. Radhe Shyam Kumar (Executive Editor)
Monday, May 02, 2011
(Photo : Swami Vivekananda was the chief disciple of the 19th century mystic Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and the founder of Ramakrishna Mission. He is considered a key figure in the introduction of Hindu philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and America and is also credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the end of the 19th century)

According to karma yoga, the action one has done cannot be destroyed until it has borne its fruit; no power in nature can stop it from yielding its results. If I do an evil action, I must suffer for it; there is no power in this universe to stop it or stay it. Similarly, if I do a good action, there is no power in the universe that can stop its bearing good results. The cause must have its effect; nothing can prevent or restrain this.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

Plight of Hindu temples at capital city Islamabad in Pakistan

By PHP Staff
Monday, May 02, 2011
( Photo : The last remaining ancient temple near Rawal Lake is in dire need of preservation, Pakistan)

ISLAMABAD : Those who believe Islamabad has no past should do some travelling in the city’s outskirts. They will not only find numerous historical buildings in the half-century old city, which testify to its antiquity, but also discover various artifacts such as fossils in Bagh Jogian village and ancient tools used by the early man in Rawat.

In fact, one does not necessarily have to traverse the outskirts. There are also a number of historical buildings in the main city of which the Rawal Lake temple is a prominent example.

The temple, although on its last legs, exudes presence. It is a rectangular building with two arched openings on its southern side.  There are five flights of steps leading to the garbhagriha, a small unlit shrine where only priests may enter.

The first cusped archway leads to a room which was apparently used as a dharmshala. The dharmshala has one window and one blind arch. The second cusped archway leads to the garbhagriha which is square-shaped. The pyramid shaped shikhara surmounts the garbhagriha. The base of the shikhara is decorated with an inverted lotus, making it seem as if the shikhara were arising out of the lotus bud.

The garbhagriha is embellished with three blind arches. The passageway around the sanctum has two arches, one each on the northern and southern walls. There are also windows with carvings. One can easily imagine the regal culture that must have flourished here in times far gone.

( Photo : A tourist at an old Hindu temple near Islamabad city, Pakistan)

Rawal village is an ancient settlement as can be seen from the painted as well as undecorated potsherds lying at many places. A rock shelter, which is located at the temple’s north, also pays testimony to the fact that prehistoric human beings used it.

A similar shelter can be seen at the back of the National Institute of Health (NIH). Another impressive shelter is situated in G-13, which has unfortunately become a victim of development work. A portion of it has been badly damaged as the developers are unaware of its significance and the city authorities are least concerned about the preservation of such ancient sites.

Before Independence, Hindus predominately inhabited the Rawal village. There were nearly a hundred households in the village, of which only 40 belonged to Muslims. At that time, Ishar Singh was the numbardar (head) of the Rawal village. Some Muslim castes, namely Rajas, also known as Ghakkars or Kiyanis, Syeds, Bafanda, Thakyal Rajputs and Malhar lived in the village.

There were two other temples in Rawal village, one on the opposite side of the existing temple. It had two rooms and eight archways that allowed one to enter the building. After partition, Kashmiri families occupied it. The building was damaged by occupants following the construction of Rawal Dam. It was actually located where the cabins of two persons (Arshad and Sardar) now stand. Until 1980, the eight dats (arches of the temple) were intact.
( Photo : Hindu Temple in Saidpur village at Islamabad, Pakistan)

NOTE : The Saidpur model village preserves a courtyard where three religions co-existed. The gurdwara, meaning doorway to the guru, was a place of worship for Sikhs (left). The Christian church stood opposite it with a Hindu temple (mandir) in the middle at Islamabad, Pakistan.

The other temple, known as the Gurukal temple, was submerged in the Dam water. It was probably a Krishnite temple as those who worship Krishna are called Gokul, of which Gurukul is a phonetic variation. According to Baba Juri of Rawal town who is an old inhabitant of Rawal village, it was a larger building with three rooms comprising the dharmshala. The main chamber of the temple was also more spacious.

These temples now only exist in the memory of old inhabitants.  Before partition, a Samadhi belonging to a Hindu ascetic of the Nath Jogi order was located near the present Rawal Chowk . It was a small, domed structure where Hindu ascetics practised rituals.

There are many other sacred places of Nath jogis, probably used for meditation, in and around Islamabad. Among these, the sacred spaces at Bagh Joghian, which incidentally means ‘orchard of jogis’, are quite prominent. Another place associated with jogis is located just two kilometres west of Bari Imam. Jogis travelling to Taxila and other places stopped there. There is also a Hindu shrine south of the Bari Imam shrine which the late Ahmad Hasan Dani believed could have been another Nath Jogi spiritual site. The area is now deserted.

According to Shah Mehboob of Rawal town, the Samadhi of the Hindu ascetic was painted from inside. Ritual baths were taken in a pond, which does not exist any more.

According to Manzoor alias Baba Juri, Hindu temples also existed in the villages of Chira, Kirpa and Mehran near Pind Beghal in Islamabad.

Today, one finds rubbish inside the main chamber of the Rawal lake temple. The outer wall of the temple has fallen. One wonders if it’s too much to ask of the authorities to save the ancient structure from further damage.

Legislation underway: Hindus (Minorities) to have their own marriage laws, Pakistan

By Sanjesh Sunny (PHP Karachi)
Monday, May 02, 2011
( Photo : New bill to adopt almost all suggestions by the Hindu community, Pakistan)

ISLAMABAD : The government has referred a draft of “Minorities Protection Bill” to the Ministry of Minority Affairs to legislate on the Marriage Act for Hindu, Sikh, Parsi and Bahai minorities. The decision has been taken in response to the pleas submitted by Hindu community representatives in the parliament secretariat last year for registration of marriages of minorities.

Sources inside the minorities’ ministry said that the new bill adopts almost all suggestions proposed by the Hindu community representatives, with only minor changes. Under the proposed bill, every marriage solemnised under the Hindu religion will be registered.

The 1998 census showed over one million Hindus in Pakistan, while currently the population has increased to over 4 million, making it the largest minority in the country. Currently, marriage registration facility is provided to Muslims in the form of a”Nikah Naama”, and to Christians in the form of “Certificate of Marriage”. All other communities are deprived of this right of registration of marriages. To pursue their demands for marriage registration bill, representatives of the Hindu community had recently threatened to hold a sit-in before the parliament to push the government to introduce the much-awaited bill in the parliament.

The Ministry of Minority Affairs, in its written reply, confirmed the development and said that efforts are being made to assist the minorities in every possible way. The ministry said during the last three years, a total of 40,387 needy individuals belonging to minorities have been granted financial assistance, while a total of 4,142 students from minorities have been granted scholarships. It said the government has approved to set up a hotline to address grievances of minorities, which will operate around the clock.

The ministry informed that for the upkeep of religious places, the government has approved 222 Small Development Schemes for the welfare and uplift of minorities since April 2008. It said that the present government has also increased the development and scholarship funds for minorities from Rs75 million to Rs172 million. Moreover, the government will construct prayer rooms for minorities in all jails of the country, while an Interfaith Complex will be established in Islamabad. It said that that remission in the punishment for minority prisoners involved in minor crimes is also under consideration.

According to the minorities’ ministry officials, ten religious festivals of minorities are celebrated officially in Pakistan.

These festivals include Christmas and Easter for Christians, Holi and Diwali for Hindus, Biasakhi and birth anniversary of Guru Nanak for Sikhs, Nauroze for Zoroastrian, Eid-e-Ridvan for Bahai’s, Festival of Lights for Buddhist community, Chelum Jhost for Kalash people.

Celebrating Babasaheb Ambedkar In Lahore, Pakistan

By Dr Anand Teltumbde
Monday, May 02, 2011
 (Photo : Sir Ganga Ram in Lahore, Pakistan)

Speech in the Ambedkar Day Seminar organized by Sir Ganga Ram Heritage Foundation in Pearl Continental, Lahore on 26. April, 2011

At the outset let me thank Sir Ganga Ram Heritage Foundation for inviting me to Lahore and giving this opportunity to share my thoughts with you. This is my second visit to this beautiful city, which was eulogized by the people as the must see for every human being that comes on the earth. When I received the first invitation from the Foundation in 2009, I was curiously surprised at the connection between Sir Ganga Ram and Dr Ambedkar, whom India affectionately calls Babasaheb. Sir Gangaram was a remarkable man, who contributed to undivided India in immense measure in terms of its physical infrastructure. I feel proud to belong to his biradari as an engineer, although not quite the same discipline as he practiced. Dr Ambedkar’s contributions may be rivaled by few in the spheres of socio-political and spiritual infrastructure of Indian subcontinent and in the nation building of India. There was no direct connection or commonality between Sir Ganga Ram and Dr Ambedkar except for the fact that both contributed to the betterment of people of this subcontinent without consideration of caste, creed, or community. I must complement the foundation for taking the noble initiative to commemorate Dr Ambedkar in Pakistan who notwithstanding the dividing line between the two countries, is as much revered by over 2.5 million of Dalits in Pakistan as the Dalits in India. In a symbolic manner, this initiative marks the concern of the foundation and to the extent the Government of Pakistan supports the Foundation, it’s own concerns to these teeming millions. One hopes, through this initiative and the exchanges with the people like us from other countries in the subcontinent, the government would be sensitized to appreciate the demands of Dalits in Pakistan and take a lead in the spirit of Islam to ameliorate their woes. In fact, it could set an example for other countries to emulate by completely annihilating castes from Pakistan.

This seminar is basically in celebration of the 118th birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar. Although, his birth anniversary is celebrated world over by the spreading Dalit Diaspora and even by the non-Dalits, who are impressed by the humanist import of his contributions, the people from Lahore must know that there is an important connection between this city and Dr Ambedkar. In 1936, the Jat Pat Todak Mandal of Lahore, which was an organization of the Arya Samaj, had invited him to preside over their conference. Babasaheb Ambedkar had prepared his presidential speech and sent it to the Mandal as per their request. The Mandal found the speech to be too critical of the Hindu religion and requested him to soften it. Dr Ambedkar refused to comply and instead declined the invitation. This undelivered speech in the conference that did not take place was published with an ominous title “Annihilation of Castes”, which would become a war cry of his movement. This book is likened by some scholars to the Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels. Although Dr Ambedkar did not visit this city, it got permanently associated with his schema of Dalit emancipation.

I might indicate a few more connections between you and Dr Ambedkar, so that Pakistani people have better appreciation of his contributions. This connection spans across his deep appreciation of egalitarian and humanist spirit of Islam, sense of cordiality and fraternity in Muslim community, as well as his scholarly illumination of the idea of Pakistan, which in some degree may have contributed to making of your nation.

Islam came to India as the invaders’ religion but had catalyzed creation of emancipatory vision among the low caste people, particularly the non-caste Dalits, who were denied their humanity by the Hindu religion. It provided them the first escape route from the bondage of hindu social order. The egalitarian Islam naturally appealed to them. As a result, whosoever could manage had embraced Islam and became Muslalmans. There was an exodus of sorts of these people from Hinduism, which the right wing-Hindus attribute to the force of sword used by the Muslim rulers. Although the Islamic marauders did use sword, the conversion of Dalits, who existed only on the margins of the society, could not be their target. Their attack was basically on the Hindu temples, which were not just the abodes of gods or the places of prayer, but also the warehouses of enormous wealth. History testifies that all the warring kings, including the Hindus, often attacked Hindu temples for this wealth. As for the conversion of Hindus to Islam, none other than the great Hindu seer, Swamy Vivekanand, has written that almost one-fifth of the Hindu population was lost to Islam and not because of the force of sword as commonly believed but because of its egalitarian appeal.

This appeal had become palpable when Babasaheb Ambedkar began exploring alternate religious options after having realized that there was no possibility of reforms from within the Hindu society. As you may know, after returning from New York and London, laced with two doctoral degrees and a barristership from the prestigious universities/institutions, he began his public life by leading an epic struggle at Mahad, some 100 odd kilometers away from Mumbai. This struggle began in the form of an innocuous conference on 19 and 20 March 1927, ended with a collective march to the chavadar tank, which was hitherto proscribed for Dalits, to draw its water. The caste Hindus reacted with their cowardly attack on Dalits, who were returning to their homes. Provoked by the incidents, Dr Ambedkar decided to launch a satyagraha at the same place in the month of December, the same year, exclusively targeting the chavadar tank. However, just on the eve of the satyagraha, some caste Hindus had fraudulently obtained an injunction from the court that since the tank was a private property, sDalits could not trespass it. The case dragged on for the next 10 years, disillusioning Dr Ambedkar completely about the possibility of bringing about reforms from within. The main thrust of these struggle was to sensitize the Hindus about their evil customs and traditions so that they would be motivated to undertake due reforms. Far from this happening, the caste Hindus rather played all kinds of tricks in their store to frustrate Dalits.

Just after the Mahad satyagraha, in 1928, in a public meeting at Jalgaon, he had given an ultimatum to the Hindus that if they had not come forward for reforms the Untouchables would renounce Hinduism and become Musalmans. This might have been a passing threat but some 20 odd people from his followers took it literally and became Muslims. The appeal of egalitarian Islam in the project of Dalit emancipation would surface off and on in Ambedkar’s early considerations.

Dr Ambedkar gave up the path of satyagraha although he did not discourage his disciples from undertaking them. He shifted his attention to the opportunities opening up with the British thinking to involve the natives in the governance of the country. Already there had been Morley-Minto reforms which led to promulgation of the India Act, 1909 and Montagu-Chelmsford reforms and the Southborough Commission leading to the India Act, 1919. When the all European Simon Commission visited India, the Congress had boycotted it but Dr Ambedkar and Muslim League cooperated with it. These efforts culminated in his invitation to the three Round Table Conferences in 1930-32. He came in contention with Mahatma Gandhi in the RTC over the issue of representation of the Untouchables. Gandhi claimed that he represented all the Hindus, the Untouchables included. Dr Ambedkar successfully refuted it, and as the representative of the Untouchables, forcefully advocated separate electorates for them. When the award was declared by the Prime Minister Ramsey Macdonald conceding the demand of Dr Ambedkar for separate electorates, Gandhi went on his fast unto death protesting against it. The situation became threatening to Dalits, which impelled Ambedkar to compromise by giving up the separate electorates in exchange of increased numbers of reserved seats in joint electorates.

With the accumulated bitter experience with the caste Hindus and their leaders, he saw no hope in staying in Hinduism and declared in 1935 in Yewale (near Nashik, a prominent town in Maharashtra State) that he would renounce Hinduism. He said, it was not in his power to be born as Hindu, but it is squarely in his not to die as one. This vow created huge ripples across the country because if the 16 percent untouchables of whom Ambedkar had emerged as the sole leader followed him, the entire communal configuration of the country would change. Religious heads of various religions began hobnobbing with him with allurements. It created confusion among the Untouchables too. And hence to explain his decision to the leaders of his movement, he had called a meeting in Mumbai in 1936. The longish speech that he made in that meeting is considered very important and is aptly titled as Mukti Kon Pathe in Marathi (“Which way the Deliverance?”, in English). He started his speech with the commonplace issue of atrocities on Dalits. He asked, why the caste Hindus inflict atrocities on Dalits with impunity? The answer he himself gave was that they were weak. They lacked all the strengths: the strength of numbers, strength of finance, and strength of spirit. They were a minority in every village and thus they lacked the strength of numbers. It was obvious that they did not have any financial strength. But having internalized their inferior status in the society for a long time, they were completely sapped of even the spiritual strength. In contrast, he offered the example of Muslims in India, who also were numerical minority in most parts but no Hindu dared to raise hand on any of them. Because they knew if they did it, the entire Muslim community from Kashmir to Kanyakumari would rush in support of the victim. According to him the solution therefore lay in overcoming their weakness and the way to accomplish it was by merging with some existing religious community. The existing religious communities that existed in India with significant strength were Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs. Since he had always invoked example of the Muslim community with admiration, Islam appeared to many as his imminent choice. But when he actually implemented his vow in 1956, it was Buddhism, which did not have an existing community in India.

The main thrust of Dr Ambedkar after 1935 has been on securing rights for Dalits through politics. While doing so, he was not a wee bit sectarian. Dalits were targeted not merely because they were his own people, but because they comprised the lowliest of the lowly. Society in a systems view could be as strong as its weakest link and hence it was imperative for anyone aiming at the development of Indian society to focus his/her attention on Dalits. In fact his vision was not even bounded by national consideration; it went far beyond in imagining a human society based on the principle of liberty, equality and fraternity. Since it was known to the world that this principle emerged from the French Revolution, imbued with bourgeois aspiration, he insisted that he had taken it from Buddhism. His insistence was to have harmonious balance between these three aspects, which was not indicated by the French revolution. It was the vision of an ideal society, a veritable utopia, characterized by all those ideals in fullest measure. The real import of his ideology lay in this and not in what he did as expedient measures in those turbulent times.

In India, it is not easy to transcend caste identity, especially if you are a Dalit. Even though Dr Ambedkar had never practiced caste politics, he was identified as a caste leader. It may be appropriate just to recall his advent into politics to appreciate this point. As the British promulgated the India Act 1935, according to which it was decided to hold elections for provincial assemblies, Dr Ambedkar launched his first political party, the Independent Labour Party (ILP) in 1936. He declared it to be the workers’ party. It may be noted that this was the first left party of India, the Communist Party although founded in 1920, having operated clandestinely and then existed as a part of the socialist block of the Congress party. The historical importance of this party lies in the fact that it has for the first time demonstrated on the roads of Konkan (One of the most backward and hence caste ridden region of the present Maharashtra State) and Mumbai how a struggle can be articulated combining class and caste issues. The most obnoxious duality of caste and class, the communists created with their Brahmanist approach has been the main obstacle in radical politics today in India.

In 1942, because of the Cripps Mission report, which had met most demands of all communal parties but completely ignored the class based ILP, Dr Ambedkar had to dissolve the ILP and form a caste based party - the Scheduled Caste Federation (SCF). Almost at the same time he was inducted into the viceroy’s executive council. Even during the SCF phase, his politics often transcended the caste boundaries. When the viceroy’s council was dissolved in 1946, he found himself utterly excluded in the political parleys for the transfer of power. He was desperately aimed at entering the Constituent Assembly, which was to shape up the future of India. But there was no possibility of his getting elected to it. In such a situation, he prepared a memorandum on behalf of the SCF to the Constituent Assembly in 1946, proposing hardcoding the structure of state socialism into the Constitution of India. It was here that the Muslim League with the mediation of Jogendranath Mandal, the SCF leader, got him elected from East Bengal. After 1947, due to the partition, his membership expired and the Congress strategists got him elected from Bombay. He was made the chairman of the most important of its committees, the drafting committee. But interestingly, the radical agenda of state socialism, which he was so keen to be made as the basic structure of the Constitution even was not mentioned before the Constituent Assembly. Just to recall the contents of the ‘States and Minorities’, the title with which this memorandum was published, were so radical that if there had been a socialist revolution in India, the post revolutionary structure of the society would have not been much different than what it proposed.

Nonetheless, he could manage to incorporate comprehensive measures in favour of the oppressed sections of the society, viz., Dalits and tribals in the Constitution. They comprised protective measures, mainly the legal provisions stressing equality, abolishing the practice of untouchability and punitive provisions for transgressing those; affirmative measures in their favour in politics, education and public employment, popularly known as reservations; and the developmental measures such as many targeted schemes which would progressively bring them on par with the rest. The extension of latter has manifested from 1979 into instituting the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP), which mandates provision of the budget in proportion equivalent to the ratio of population of Dalits to the total population to be used exclusively for the development of the Scheduled Castes. Although like any other thing, this scheme, which has been in operation in 27 states and union territories, also suffers in implementation, the positive aspect of it is that the percentage allocation has been consistently rising over the recent years: In 2004-05 the allocation of 11.06 percent had gone up to 12.05 percent in 2005-06, to 14.11 percent in 2006-07 and to 14.80 percent in 2007-08 against the mandated over 16 percent.

Indian Constitution in this regard may appear to be the beacon of social justice for the entire world. However, Ambedkar during his life time itself saw what would happen of the Constitution in practice. In his enthusiasm when the Constitution was adopted, he had advised his followers that they could shun agitational politics and adopt the constitutional methods to secure their demands. But soon he was disillusioned with the Constitution itself and variously disowned it. He famously said that although they built a beautiful temple (Constitution), before they could install gods, devils have occupied it.

Notwithstanding the implementation deficit, the Constitution has still accomplished a good deal of gain for the oppressed communities. There is no sphere and no echelon today where Dalits are not to be found. There have been president, chief justice, chief ministers, secretaries, CEOs, and scores of people in academics, frontier technologies, and professions in India. The political nexus through which huge political tribute from the ruling classes flows also have enriched a sizable political class of Dalits. And through combination of these processes, some Dalits have entered business to inspire some misinformed Dalits to coin the terms like dalit bourgeois or dalit capitalism. Taken all of these together, along with their family members, the number of upwardly mobile Dalits do not however exceed 10 percent. The 90 percent population of Dalits still languishes in villages and suffers from all kinds of discrimination and oppression. Although it may not be visible in the urban settings, the caste system operates as a system of premium and discounts and can well thrive in the most modern corporate establishments of in India.

There is a notion, carried through Dr Ambedkar’s analysis that the caste system is sourced from the Hindu religion. This notion has misled much of the Dalit movement. The modern developmental paradigm in India has probably become the major prop of the castes than religion. For example, the Shudra Castes, which used to be clubbed with the Untouchables in earlier phases of the non-Brahman struggle, have become the main tormentors of Dalits in villages. The ritualistic castes have been weakening under the thrust of capitalist development and have almost transformed the caste system to be the divide between Dalits and non-Dalits. This divide is as much rooted in the traditional prejudices as it is in the dynamics of India’s modern institution. I have explained this dynamics of political economy in my book – The Persistence of Caste, which may be available in Pakistan. To continue with the stereotype treating Hindu religion as the sole culprit would be like whipping the dead snake and letting the real snakes to sneak past.

The caste system has been a dynamic system, which has been evolving either to mould the situation to its requirements or to mould itself if the former was not possible. Therefore to search its root is methodologically futile exercise and one should rather focus on its contemporary manifestation. The contemporary caste system manifests itself through the incidence of atrocities. In India, these atrocities are neatly tabulated by an organization of the government of India, National Crime Research Bureau, which publishes its reports annually, accessible to all. (see its website Going by this proxy for caste, the caste system appeared weakening through the decades of 1970s through 1980s. But from the adoption of the neoliberal economic reforms by the government, the trend has reversed. I had analyzed the time series data on atrocities and found that the post-reform period presents a clear secular increasing trend in atrocity numbers. Just taking two major categories of crime, viz., murder and rape, we can see this trend. During the decade of 1981 to 1990, the annual average of the number of murders of Dalits was 535, which went up to 546 during the 1991-2000 and rose further to 681 during the next five years, i.e., 2001-2005. The corresponding figures for the rape of Dalit women are 714, 992 and 1213. Although these figures are not normalized for the population increase, nobody will fail to note their significance. Insofar as atrocities are the product of the power asymmetry between Dalits and non-Dalits in villages, it is clear that neoliberal policies have been accentuating this asymmetry. These policies have unleashed various crises on Dalits and their condition has been certainly worsening fast vis-à-vis others.

Lastly, I would like to again congratulate Sir Ganga Ram Heritage Foundation for taking this initiative to set up a dialogue between the South Asian activists-scholars who have been working for the annihilation of the caste system in their respective countries. It is a reflection that the caste system is a pan South Asian problem and not confined to India alone. There is strong pride in Pakistan that there is no caste system followed here. They reason out that Islam does not permit any caste system. While it is very true of Islam, there should be appreciation that practice does not necessarily confirm to the ideals. You may know that even the same argument is proffered by the right-wing Hindus that caste system in its evil form is not a part of Hinduism and they coolly attribute it to the outside aggressors, particularly the Muslims and the machinations of the colonialists. The delusion into believing that caste system is not our problem, effectively shuts us from seeing the problem. This attitude has already allowed the condition of Dalits in Pakistan to worsen. It is not only the miniscule minority of Ranas (the feudal Hindu landlords), that oppress Dalits, it is also the Muslim feudality which treats them no better. When Pakistan came into existence, the Quaid-e-Azam Jinnha had assured the Dalits and other minorities that they would be given much better treatment than that in India. After the Scheduled caste Declaration Act of 1957, Dalits were given reservations of 6 percent. These reservations have been transformed into minority reservations in 1997 by the Nawaz Sharif government, resulting into strengthening the already exploitative elements in the minority community. If I may remind you, there are more than 50 organizations working for the interests of Dalits in Pakistan and they have organized themselves into Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network. They have put forth their demand, which I think read very reasonable. For instance they demand caste wise census; reserved seats for themselves in Parliament, and provincial assemblies; setting up a national commission for the SCs; allotment of land to the landless; and some protective measures. Now such measures being extant in India for 166 million Dalits, why should Pakistan be hesitant in extending them to its 2.5 million Dalits. I would urge the Pakistan government through the minister sahib Sardar Ali Khosa, the chairman of this seminar, to consider them favourably. I would go further and say that since the size of the problem is small, 2.5 million as against India’s 166 million, Pakistan should take due steps to demonstrate to the world that they have effectively annihilated the caste system. It would prove to be the great motivator for other countries to follow suit.

I would like to end with a hope that this initiative will flourish into a better coordination between the activists and accelerate the pace of annihilation of castes. That will be the best tribute to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and also to Sir Ganga Ram.

PM underscores need to document religious monuments, Pakistan

By PHP Staff
Monday, May 02, 2011

LAHORE (APP)- Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has felicitated the Christian community around the world, especially those living in Pakistan, on the behalf of the government and people of Pakistan on the occasion of Easter.The Prime Minister expressed these views while meeting a three-member delegation which presented a book titled “Churches of Pakistan” to him here on Sunday.Federal Minister for Information Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan was also present on the occasion.

Premier Gilani observed that common characteristics bind Christian and Muslim communities in an unbreakable relationship of mutual trust, respect and brotherhood.  Believing in the prophethood of Jesus Christ and Bible as a divine Book is part of our faith as the Muslims, he added.

Pakistan remains committed to the well-being and equal status of minorities as citizens of Pakistan, as enshrined in the constitution and Quaid’s assurances in this regard are the guiding principles for harmonious relations among communities”, said the Prime Minister while speaking to the delegation.

The Prime Minister also paid tribute to Pakistani Christian community for their valuable contributions to the national development. He appreciated the contribution of the community members for vital sectors such as defence, education, health, politics, social welfare and others.

,”There is not a single walk of national life which does not have the representation  and contribution of our Christian brethren.They are equal partners in the national development side by side with their other countrymen”,he added.

Commenting on the Easter Sunday, the Prime Minister said that it is a great feast day and culmination of not only Holy Week but the whole year, as on this day the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated.

The Prime Minister added that this day is considered the most important day in the Church year, as it is the day on which Jesus rose from the dead.

While lauding the efforts of the writer of the book the Prime Minister said that it truly reflects the historic perspective of the Christian community and their contributions towards the development of Pakistan.

He said that existence of worship places of all the major religions in Pakistan exhibit historical evidence of the tolerance and respect for each other’s faith. He also underscored the need to document other religious monuments and historical sites to showcase the cultural diversity of Pakistan to the world.

Earlier, Mansoor Rashid publisher of the book, Syed Javaid A.Kazi,acclaimed photographer and Dr. Safdar Ali Shah an accomplished writer presented the first copy of the book to the Prime Minister and highlighted their efforts to document an important facet of the cultural history of Pakistan.

They mentioned that the contents and quality of presentation was a befitting Easter gift for the Christian community and will add to their happiness on the occasion.It will also bring joy to many others who are or have been associated with these historical buildings, they added.

While talking to APP, Mansoor Rashid said that this is a coffee book with prolific pictorial discription of the buildings and gives all the architectural details as well.

Muslims put bus on fire, 15 Hindus burnt alive in Pakistan

By Gopinath Kumar (editor-in-chief)
Monday, May 02, 2011

Quetta (Pakistan): Atleast 15 people, including women and children, were burnt alive when unidentified criminals torched a passenger bus near Sibi in Pakistan's Baluchistan province in the wee hours of today, police said. Those killed include seven children, three men belonging to the minority Hindu community who were identified as Kapil, Varsheen, and Pujamal, they said."

The incident occurred in the town of Sibi, about 160 kms from Quetta, when the bus coming from Jacobabad in Sindh province and going to Quetta had stopped at a road side restaurant for a break," Deputy Commissioner of Police Sibi, Naseer Ahmed Nasir said from Sibi. Witnesses said that four armed men, riding on two motorcycles, reached there while two of them entered the bus, sprinkled petrol and then they put it on fire. Many passengers could not flee due to severe fire, police said."The driver and the conductor of the bus fled from the scene and we are seaching for them. The frontier corps and police have cordoned off the area and are searching for the suspected criminals who set the coach on fire," Nasir said.

Police said that they were not ruling out the possibility that the driver and conductor have fled because the engine might have got fire.Police also suspects that the attack may be ethnic as dozens of non-locals were on board of the bus. Baluch seperatists have been carrying out attacks on government and security installations in the province for the last few years and have in the past targetted settlers from other provinces who reside in different parts of Baluchistan.

Nasir said that those killed in the fire included five persons of one family including three children and their grandparents."Since one door was burnt immediately there was no escape route for the passengers inside the bus. Most of the male passengers had got down to say prayers or have food," the deputy commissioner said.He said it was confirmed that the dead included three Hindus who were residents of Jacobabad who were going to Quetta for apparently some business.He said the wounded passengers were rushed to the Sibi civil hospital where they were getting treatment.

Pakistan Army Sexually Abusing Minority Women - NGO

By PHP Staff
Monday, May 02, 2011
(Photo : Pakistan Army. In its annual survey on human rights the State)

New York,  (IANS) The Pakistani army is sexually assaulting minority women and using them as sex slaves, alleges the European Organization of Pakistani Minorities (EOPM), an NGO working for the rights of minorities in Pakistan.

In a prayer-cum-demonstration held at the UN, it said the Pakistani army is taking minority women away from their families, raping them and then using them as sex slaves.

Referring to the December attacks on Christians in Lahore, the organisation alleged that attacks on minorities in Pakistan were increasing.

Using a symbolic broken chair to highlight the plight of minorities in Pakistan, more than 100 women from different faiths lit candles at the prayer to highlight the plight of minority women allegedly being raped and killed by the Pakistani Army.

Expressing concern over the plight of women of Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan, the organisers said army officials are taking them to torture camps, raping them and then using them as sex slaves.

"One such case is of that Zarina Marri who is a 23-year-old school teacher from Quetta and is being used as a sex slave by the Pakistani Army," the EOPM said in a statement.

It said international observers and the media should be allowed free access to Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan to meet families whose women members have disappeared and yet no police cases have been registered.

The organisation demanded that the UN organise a special session on the plight of Pakistani women.

According to the EOPM, religious minorities constitute much more than five percent - as claimed in Pakistani census - of Pakistan's 160 million population.

However, the census intentionally keeps minority population low to deny them greater representation, it said.

Christians, Sikhs, Hindus and other minorities are constant targets of attacks in Pakistan, it said, citing Minority Rights Group International, a watchdog organisation, which ranked Pakistan last year as, "the world's top country for major increases in threats to minorities since 2007".

Pakistan has also been listed seventh among the 10 most dangerous countries for minorities, after Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar and Congo.

Pakistan faces pressure after Osama bin Laden (al Qaeda leader) killed near Islamabad

By Mohammad S.Solanki (Executive Editor)
Monday, May 02, 2011
( Photo : Osama bin laden dead head killed photo picture image, Pakistan)

ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan declared the killing of Osama bin Laden a "major setback" to global terrorism but it will inevitably come under pressure to explain how the al Qaeda leader was holed up in a mansion near a military facility.

Bin Laden was killed in a dramatic night-time raid by U.S. helicopters and troops on his hideout in Abbottabad, a town that is home to a military academy and that is less then two hours' drive from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

"Osama bin Laden's death illustrates the resolve of the international community, including Pakistan, to fight and eliminate terrorism," the government said in a statement. "It constitutes a major setback to terrorist organisations around the world."

However, it was not clear whether the Pakistan military was involved in the operation and there was no official comment from the government for several hours after the news of bin Laden's, raising the possibility that Islamabad was taken by surprise.

That bin Laden, mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, was not hiding in mountains along the border but in relative comfort near a military academy will bolster those who have long argued that Pakistan has been playing a duplicitous hand.

Just 10 days ago Pakistan's army chief addressed army cadets at that very academy, saying the country's military had broken the back of militants linked to al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Washington has in the past accused Pakistan of maintaining ties to militants targeting U.S. troops in neighbouring Afghanistan. Relations have soured in recent months over U.S. drone attacks and CIA activities in the country.

Pakistan's powerful intelligence agency, the ISI, has long been suspected of links to al Qaeda's precursor, the Haqqani network, cultivated during the 1980s when Jalaluddin Haqqani was a feared battlefield commander against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

Pakistan's arch-rival, India, was quick to comment, saying the news underlined its "concern that terrorists belonging to different organisations find sanctuary in Pakistan".

"For some time there will be a lot of tension between Washington and Islamabad because bin Laden seems to have been living here close to Islamabad," said Imtiaz Gul, a Pakistani security analyst.

"If the ISI had known, then somebody within the ISI must have leaked this information," Gul said. "Pakistan will have to do a lot of damage control because the Americans have been reporting he is in Pakistan ... this is a serious blow to the credibility of Pakistan."

(Photo : Map of Abbottabad District in NWFP State of Pakistan)

Abbottabad is a popular summer resort, located in a valley surrounded by green hills near Pakistani Kashmir.
Islamist militants, particularly those fighting in Indian-controlled Kashmir, used to have training camps near the town.

A Reuters reporter in the town on Monday said bin Laden's single-storey residence stood fourth in a row of about a dozen houses, a satellite perched on the roof above a walled compound. A helicopter covered by a sheet sat in a nearby field.

Mohammad Idrees, who lives around 400 meters from the house, said local residents were woken in the night by the sound of a big explosion.

"We rushed to the rooftop and saw flames near that house. We also heard some gunshots," Idrees said. "Soon after the blast, we saw military vehicles rushing to the site of the blast."

Another resident, Nasir Khan, said that commandos had encircled the compound as three helicopters hovered overhead.

"All of a sudden there was firing towards the helicopters from the ground," said Khan, who had watched the drama unfold from his rooftop. "There was intense firing and then I saw one of the helicopters crash."

A Pakistani military helicopter crashed near Abbottabad on Sunday night, killing one and wounding two, according to local media. It was unclear if the crash was related to bin Laden's death, but witnesses reported gunshots and heavy firing before one of two low-flying helicopters crashed near the academy.

Sohaib Athar, whose profile says he is an IT consultant taking a break from the ratrace by hiding in the mountains, sent out a stream of live updates on Twitter about the movement of helicopters and blasts without realising it was a raid on the world's most hunted man.

Some of his early tweets were: "Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1 am (rare event); Go away helicopter - before I take out my giant swatter."

Then he reported his window rattling and a bang. "I hope it's not the start of something nasty," he tweeted.
Soon after there were blasts. There were two helicopters, one of them had gone down, Athar wrote.

When he learnt it was bin Laden killed in Abbottabad, he tweeted: "ISI has confirmed it
(Additional reporting by Rebecca Conway, Zeeshan Haider, Kamran Haider, Faisal Mehmood and Chris Allbritton; Writing by John Chalmers; Editing by Miral Fahmy)