The Rediff Special

Date: 12/9/2000


Hindus in Pakistan

Every day, in Kahnaur, Indian relatives hear tales of woe from their Pakistani relatives. And, each time a new story is recounted, they cannot help but pray in gratitude for having the good sense to leave Pakistan after Partition.

Tharuram is one of them. He does not remember how old he is, but believes he has seen over 80 summers. His legs cannot take his weight, yet it hurts him to sit for long.

But this pain, he says, is nothing compared to the agony of those days in 1947 when he fled to India. Till the train rolled into the territory that was demarcated as India, he and his family did not believe they would live through the horrors of Partition.

Today, though, he is happy, and grateful.

Which is why he understands what people like Sidhu Ram are going though. "I understand the pain of the Pakistani Hindus."

Take Shubhram, for example. He came to Kahnaur in March from Layya (Old spelling: Leiah).

It has been many months since his visa ran out, but he has no plans of going back. He used to own a provision shop in Pakistan, but was forced to shut it down when Muslim fundamentalists objected to Hindu ownership.

Or 35-year-old Bashir who, despite his name, is not a Muslim. He called himself Bashir when he was in Pakistan. In India, he is Bashirchand. He used to lay tube wells and also dabbled in homeopathy. Now, he is consumed by worry. He wants to bring his sister into India. He knows she will be safe here.

Or Allah Divayaram, who is happy he is finally on Indian soil; today, he regrets the fact that he did not take this decision 53 years ago. Unfortunately, one of his daughters has been left behind. He worries for her.

It is stories like this that make Tharuram forget his age and his weak body as he exhorts the people of his village to make the visitors feel welcome.

Sabaram was just a few days old when, post-Partition, his family escaped to India. Yet, he has forged a unique bond with those who have come to his village from Pakistan. He constantly urges them not to talk too much to me.

He wonders if the publicity will go against them; whether it will make the government deport them.

Everyone in Kahnaur is suspicious of the media. Sidhu Ram's wife does not even disclose her name. Every question I put to her is met with silence. All she says is that she will not go back.

But the Pakistani Hindu refugees also recall a time of peace, after the Partition-triggered riots settled down. There was also tolerance, remembers Sidhu Ram. The locals were respectful of the few Hindus who had chosen to make Pakistan their home.

But, over the years, the elders who respected them died. The younger lot did not care, were intolerant and disrespectful. The hatred spewed by the politicians against India had infected the psyche of the Pakistani teenager.

Intelligence sources told that, when asked, the Pakistani Hindus revealed two principal reasons that compelled them to stay back in India.

One, they did not want to convert to Islam. The second was the fear that their daughters would be sexually harassed.

"They say that women working in the fields were potentially in danger as there was no police to hear them cry, or record their complaints," an Indian police official told

"Our lives are over," says Sidhu Ram. "But let our children must live with dignity and respect."

They say many of their relatives in Pakistan are no longer Hindus. They have converted to Islam because they could no longer deal with the pressure of living there as Hindus. Conversion to Islam is the easiest and the most pragmatic alternative. "You cannot blame them," says Sidhu Ram. "When one is a Hindu, one lives in constant fear."

Surinder Jain, chief of the Bajrang Dal, a right wing group closely associated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in India, says, "Seventeen per cent of Pakistan was Hindu at the time of Partition. Today, that number is down to around 0.1 per cent. Minorities like the Hindus will naturally be discriminated against."

Says Ranguram: "Even before I reached India, I had told myself I was never going to return to Pakistan. I do not want to convert to Islam. If I have to live there for the rest of my life, I will have to convert. There are many cases where children studying in madrassas influence their illiterate parents to convert to Islam; they see that is the best way of surviving in Pakistan. Muslims are assured of safety there."

Ranguram studied in a madrassa till the seventh standard, where he was also taught the Koran-e-Sharief. Somehow, he could not relate to it. He stopped going to school.

He is in Kahnaur with his extended family of seven, which includes his wife, children, brothers and sisters.

The villagers have offered them the anganwadi building to stay in. It has just two rooms. He is now trying to find a job and his feet in a country that has not yet told him what it intends to do with him.

Yet, Ranguram's heart sings with joy. He has already admitted his five-year-old brother, Tekaram, in a neighbourhood school.

Since the villagers are both helpful and sympathetic, more and more Pakistani Hindu families are likely to seek refuge in Rohtak. "We cannot ask them to leave," points out a Rohtak-based official. "The people here are ready to let them stay. The villagers are ready to make space for them. Organisations like the Bajrang Dal are vocally fighting their case."

The Bajrang Dal's Jain, who has taken up the case of their visa extension with the ministry of home affairs, believes India is morally bound to help them. "They have lived all these years in trying circumstances," he says. He has requested Minister of State for Home I D Swami to consider giving them Indian citizenship.

Life has come a strange circle in Kahnaur.

Before Partition, the area was dominated by Muslims. Most of them packed up and left after Partition. So much so that, today, there are very few Muslims in the area. Instead, it is populated by Hindus who came here from Pakistan. Even today, it provides refuge to Pakistani Hindus.

Prashant Kumar Aggarwal, the superintendent of police who has forwarded their requests for visa extension to the home ministry, says the police have to keep a close watch on Pakistani Hindus.

Plainclothesmen visit the village daily to make surprise checks. None of the Pakistani Hindus are let out of sight for more than four hours.

The police foresee a major job ahead of them as more Hindus are expected from Pakistan soon. They say they have to be on high alert.

Already, three ISI-trained Pakistanis -- Jameel, Aslam and Ashraf -- were found living in Rohtak. Their eventual plan was to strike at New Delhi, which is just two-and-a-half hours away by road. The police recovered RDX bombs from them.

The police believe Rohtak can be a hideout for such terrorists. It is a small town and the capital is less than three hours away.

"The fear that the ISI might plant agents here should not make us passive to our Hindu brothers's suffering in Pakistan," thunders Jain.

Numerous Pakistani Hindu families had also moved into Sirsa, another district in Haryana. But the local administration there refused to let them overstay their visa. Many of them have now moved in with other relatives in Jodhpur and Ganganagar in Rajasthan.

Intelligence sources say thousands of Pakistani Hindus having been living for years in the border districts of Rajasthan and Haryana. Till date, the government has just looked the other way. Security considerations, though, may now compel the government to take note of their presence.

"Pakistani Hindus have been coming in hundreds since the demolition of the Babri Masjid," says an intelligence official. "Once their visa expired, they would apply for an extension. Normally, the extension would be officially given and the family would continue to stay on. As none of them caused any law and order problems, the government would be humanitarian in its approach."

Says Praveen Batra, whose ancestors also lived in Kahnaur: "No one objected to their presence as these Pakistani Hindus are very good agricultural labourers. Since the Jats did not like to do this kind of work, it was also convenient to have them around."

Today, though, the government is in a quandary, even as the villagers remain sympathetic.

Meanwhile, Sidhu Ram and the 42 other Pakistani Hindus in Kahnaur continue to pray and wonder what the future has in store for them.


The whole world knows that India was divided between Hindus and Muslims. The Act of Partition, 1947, signed by Mr. MK Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Mr. Mohammed Ali Jinnah (a Gujarati Musalman), mentions NO other criterion for drawing the frontier between Lahore and Amritsar.

Though this fact is the sole motivation and inspiration of the INDIAN Muslims who live in Pakistan today, the Indian side has conveniently FORGOTTEN it. Perhaps God Almighty will wield a sledge hammer some time in the future, to remind the Indian leaders of that BETRAYAL of country and people in 1947, and their COWARDICE ever since.

Thus the "natural and legitimate" home for all the Muslims of the Indian sub continent is Pakistan, and for all the Hindus is Partitioned India (PI), unless "India" is a filthy joke and a vulgar concept, at the cost of the Hidnus only.

We are told that MILLIONS of BOGUSdeshi Muslim infiltrators are being sheltered by various state authorities in India although their EAST Bengal refused to accept India and Secularism in 1972.

While the "shy maiden" called INDIA seems mighty embarrassed over the presence of these BETRAYED Hindus, and even more embarrassed over the word "gypsy", the honourable Germans, we should recall, simply refused to go under the sword of Partition.

Any East German, who escaped to the West, was promptly given citizenship, accommodation, food and clothing, and training for rehabilitation. But then *that* was honourable West Germany not the "coolie colony" of Partitioned India (PI)!

Partition was imposed on the whole country by an assembly of just three men at "INDEPENDENCE" talks. Partition was not even their mandate! Nor did they care to seek public approval for their diabolical Act of High Treason by demanding a plebiscite over the issue.

Clearly these people now overstaying their visa in Bharat not only owe an apology from Government of India (a timid rabbit in the jaws of Islamic tiger) but also adequate compensation for their lives of suffering and indignity simply because they were Hindus in Pakistan.

If the Korean prostitutes and the Philippino pleasure girls can seek compensation from Japan for their experiences in early 1940's, surely these Hindus are entitled to a lot more from the present Government of India.

But, is there a "government of India"? None has seen them in North Kashmir for DONKEY'S years- not even in South Kashmir, of late. What compounds the Indian (HINDU) tragedy is the fact that while Pakistan has an ideological atom bomb called The Koran, which is far superior to any nuclear missile in the possession of Partitioned India (P.I.), Bharat does not dare to even touch its own. It's called Guru Gobind Singhji, which can put her enemies to flight, even lay them dead by shock!

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