Cremating the dead is believed to be the last rite of the 16 fundamental rituals of Hinduism. Burning of the dead is considered an offering to the gods.
New Delhi: Be it Hindus, Sikhs or Christians, the plight of minorities in Pakistan has always been very pathetic. Regrettably, facts and common sense matter little in Pakistan, as a populist media and rabble-rousers within the political establishment have found a golden opportunity to pillory minorities there. And, now faced with no land for crematorium to perform the last rites of their kith and kin, Hindus are being forced to bury corpses.
Cremating the dead is believed to be the last rite of the 16 fundamental rituals of Hinduism. Burning of the dead is considered an offering to the gods. In Sikhism and Jainism too, cremating the corpse is preferred over burying. “Cremating the dead might be a choice for others but a compulsory ritual for us. It is mandatory in our religion to perform antim-sanskar of the dead, but we have no place in Peshawar to do it. We have been struggling for years to get land,” a local, on condition of anonymity, told MyNation over the phone from Peshawar.
He even complained that their holy places of worship were destroyed and public toilets and madrasas were constructed there. Circumstances are such that we can’t even raise our voice fearing for our lives. But we’ll keep struggling till our demands are met.
‘‘The dearth of cremating grounds for over 50,000 Hindus and Sikhs, mostly downtrodden and poverty-stricken, of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa often compel them to bury their dead rather than perform their final ritual to burn them. A significant number of Hindus and Sikhs were buried in Peshawar’s old Nauthia area by their family and community members after failing to take their corpses to far-flung areas for cremation due to lack of funds,’’ Anmol, a local journalist, told MyNation over phone from Peshawar.
Hindus and Sikhs of Peshawar have appealed to the government to provide them land for a crematorium to perform the last rites of their loved ones. They have asked the government to allot land for a shamshan ghat in Peshawar and fulfil this long-standing demand of one of the country’s minority communities. Currently there are three shamshan ghats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa - one in Mardan, another in Kohat and the third one in Khairabad on the banks of River Indus.
Recently, several Pakistani newspapers wrote that Indian Muslims provide an easy target for the shock troops of the Sangh Parivar, as the saffron brigade has been emboldened by state support. They accused the BJP of spreading “virus of communal prejudice”, saying Indian Muslims face violence and exclusion in the midst of the COVID pandemic. The spurious allegations of ‘corona jihad’, are all part of a pattern to strip Indian Muslims of their rights, they stated, and didn’t fail to use the opportunity to draw comparison between Nazi Germany and Hindutva India. The champions of democracy and human rights in the world must speak up, they appealed.
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Refuting these charges, Dr Akbar, editor of Aag, an Urdu daily being published from Lucknow, told MyNation that it’s been categorically mentioned in Islam that law of the land must be followed at any cost. Pakistan has no right to interfere in our internal matters. Unto you is your religion and unto mine is my religion – is the unique advice in Holy Quran for Muslims. Hindutva is a way of life. We have been following Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb for ages. Muslims in India are very safe in comparison to other parts of the world.
‘‘Regrettably, facts and common-sense matter little in Pakistan, as a populist media and rabble-rousers within the political establishment have found a golden opportunity to pillory Minorities there. But the Islamic state has remained unmoved as millions of people there are disenfranchised by a violent, majoritarian narrative. Pakistani Muslims who raise a voice against these injustices are hounded by the Islamic establishment, with bogus cases filed against them to snuff out dissent,’’ he added.
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Last Updated Jul 7, 2020, 7:40 PM IST