Radu P. Mirpuri

Date: 9/26/2000



VICTIM OF PARTITION: Hindu pilgrimage site at HINGLAJ in Baluchistan.

Hinglaj is a Hindu holy place, about 120Km NE of Karachi, on the Hingol river in the Makran. The reputation of Hinglaj as a holy place precedes the Arab invasion and the advent of Sufism to the Sindh region.

Hindu myth has it that the goddess Sati who was married to Shiva immolated herself in her father's (Daksha's ) house to avenge an insult to her husband by her father. Shiva, after punishing his father-in-law, who he considered responsible for his wife's death, wandered about with Sati's body, dancing about like a demented creature.The wild rythm of the leaping god shook the universe and the celestials fearing the worlds would come to a premature end supplicated Vishnu the Preserver. This god took his flaming discuss and cut the body of Sati into 50 pieces all of which fell to the earth and each of which is celeberated as a holy place of Hinduism.

Hinglaj is believed to be the place where the dismembered goddess Sati's head with its hingul (sindhoor, vermillion ) fell.It is the first holy place (from the west} of the Hindus. (The easternmost I believe is in Assam where the yoni of Sati fell and the famous Kamakhya temple there is believed to enshrine that relic; the Tantric cult is said to have spread from that centre )

Myth also has it that Rama, Sita and Lakshman visited this holy site of Hinglaj in the wanderings of their banishment, of the Ramayana.

This Hindu past was kept alive until partition (1947 ) by annual pilgrimage to Hinglaj on the Makran coast. This pilgrimage was a part of the initiation of the Kanphat yogis, distinguished by the splitting of their ears ( kaan-phata) to accomodate their huge wooden ear-rings [NB: The annual pilgrimage of these jogis still takes place. The jogis, unlike urbanites, almost all stayed in Sindh and their numbers have only increased over time.]

The Hindu past has faded and to an extent been erased from fundamentalist Pakistan's history. It should however be remembered that it was these yogis of the past, the Bhakt-Kavis singing out the fragrance of Yoga, Bhakti and Vedanta that strongly influenced the Sufis of Sindh leading to a tolerance and assimilation of such Indian ideas into Sufi Islam. As Prof. L H.Ajwani remarks in his book History of Sindhi literature: "Out of the mingling of Iranian type of Sufism with Indian Vedantism-Bhakti was evolved that peculiar mysticism which is the bedrock of Sindhi literature."

We see Shah Lateef making the same pilgrimage to Hinglaj and in the course of such wanderings being equally and strongly influenced by their ideas. To an extent, Bhakti poets before Shah paved the way for him and their verses have sometimes been incorporated into Shah's verses.

That indeed is the influence of the tiraths, pilgrimages, at holy sites as Hinglaj.

Sad to say, after partition most of Pakistan's and with it Sindh's Hindu sites have been run into the ground. Hinglaj, Lakhi, the Phuleli site for JhuleLal, the Prahlad-Aditya temple in Multan etc., all are now ramshackle places and I wonder if the melas held at Nassarpur to celebrate UderoLal still continue take place. The faithful have all been driven away and who indeed is there, to cry for their preservation or revival.