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The Hindus of Pakistan

A seminal book on the Hindu temples of Pakistan should be read by all Pakistanis.
Katas Raj
Kataas Raj
Temples in PakistanJournalist Reema Abbasi and photographer Madiha Aijaz have done a remarkable job of travelling across the length of Pakistan and documenting the state of Hindu temples. The regions that comprise Pakistan are central to the evolution of the Hindu religion and its various offshoots. For instance, the Indian subcontinent derives its very name from the River Indus. In the ancient Sanskrit language, the river was known as “Sindhu”. The Persians gave it the form “Hindu” and through successive generations the land finally came to be known as India, with various forms being derived from this root. Similarly, the shrines in Punjab and Balochistan are perhaps as old as Hinduism itself.

Reema writes at the start of the book – Historic Temples in Pakistan: A Call to Conscience – that her endeavor focuses on “Pakistan’s fraying social order and the sad prospect of it bringing about its own destruction”. In recent decades, the country’s minorities have come under severe attack from extremists and the state has often seemed indifferent or worse, culpable. Reema’s concern is not misplaced. In 1947, the non-Muslim population was nearly 23%. Today it is around 5%. Granted that the separation of East Pakistan caused a major decline in this number but we are all aware of Hindus, Sikhs and Christians migrating abroad. In fact, it has become a class-based exodus. The relatively privileged are the first ones to leave, and sadly, for the right reasons.


Iqbal Bano sings Nizami Ganjavi (Persian Sufi poet, 1141-1209)

Iqbal Bano sings Nizami Ganjavi-Mara ba ghamza… by razarumi1

Mara ba ghamza kusht o qaza ra bahana sakht
Khud sooy e ma na deed o haya ra bahana sakht […]

March 20th, 2010|Arts & Culture, Music, Sufi poetry, video, World Artists|7 Comments

You I choose, of all the world, alone…

This 16th century miniature (BNF Paris) depicts Shams Tabriz – from an illustrated copy of the Divan-i-Shams Tabriz, collection of Rumi’s verse named after his beloved mentor.

And poem by Rumi that I discovered here

You I choose, of all the world, alone;
Will you suffer me to sit in grief?
My heart […]

August 25th, 2006|Sufi poetry|2 Comments

The Ship Sunk in Love

My evening glows with Rumi’s presence. I am posting poems that I have been reading today. Contrary to several purists, I enjoy all the modern translations of Rumi that have greatly helped in communicating his message across the globe. Each translator adds beauty to the original gems in Persian.

Mathnawi VI, 617-623 <a href=[…]

August 21st, 2006|Love, Poetry|3 Comments