Hindu communities of Jhal Magsi

hinduismSince my first visit to Jhal Magsi I couldn’t help but notice the presence of Hindu community. They are mostly traders, shopkeepers and deal in export and import businesses.

When I inquired and read on the subject historically origins of the Hindus of Balochistan is unclear. However, we can trace back to the time before the Arabs invaded Sindh in 712AD Hinduism and Budhism were the prevalent religions. In Balochistan there are two main sacred ancient Hindu temples. One is in Kalat, known as temple of Kali Devi. The second one is in Las Bela in the Hingol mountain ranges of Hindu goddess Hinglaj. There are other ancient temples in Sibi, Dera Murad Jamalli, Chaman, Khuzdar, Hub, Loralai and Jhal Magsi.

Last month was my first visit to a couple of Hindu temples newly refurbished in Jhal Magsi town, accompanied by the local head mukhi and several others. Ofcourse our very old companion, friend and ‘teacher’ ,as my mother in law puts it is Chandu Mal. He is around 70 years old and has a lot to tell about the times of my husband’s grand father. He was mainly responsible for accounting agriculture in some parts of the district. Now, he says “ it is all easy , back in the day it was a tough job but I enjoyed it” . His voice echoed nostalgia for the past and his timespent with my grad father in law and grand mother in law.
While sitting at the mukhi’s house, Faisal Farooqui, my photographer asked a question “Maddam aren’t you supposed to be in a veil in Balochistan?”

Chandu Mal replied on my behalf “ what veil? There is no purdah for her from her tribe. She is our mother as is her mother in law and grand mother in law!” and carried onnarrating anecdotes of the past. In the Baloch tribal system the minority community is protected by the sardar. They are progressive, educated and hard working community and work as traders and accountants. In Jhal Magsi they freely practice their festivals and religion and we join them to promote the value of acceptance of minorities. The senior or wealthy Hindus are regarded with respect and called ‘seth’. It is a peaceful co-existence.

In other areas of Balochistan, for example in Dera Bugti, one of the major aftereffects of Nawab Akbar Bugti’s death was the difficulties faced by the minority community of sikhs and Hindus there. They have been agonized by the locals because the Sardars protection is no longer available. It is sad that Islam, the religion of peace that is often extremely misinterpreted. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) lived in peaceful co-existence with the jews until they breached a contract. There are instances of Holy Prophet (PBUH) sharing food with them. Unfortunately, our society has become more and more intolerant by the day.

I am always treated to delicious homemade samosas , jalibis, hibiscus root pakoras and crackers when I go to Jhal Magsi. I am looking forward to going back and having a chat with these wonderful hospitable people while enjoying theirhome made goodies.

Source: Daily Times