OVERALL MACRO-ANALYSIS OF CRISIS
The analyses that have been intertwined into the text of the four interviews provide a resounding confirmation of the violent and intolerant environment the Pakistani Hindu (and Christian) community has to struggle within.
The Hindus are trapped in a silent and undeclared "Convert or Leave Pakistan" campaign which, if unchecked, can lead to the dwindling of this small community (Hindus are estimated to comprise 1.6% of Pakistan's population) to miniscule quantities.
Why is this happening?
As mentioned earlier, Pakistan was created as a homeland for Muslims.
It was also created to function as a protector of Islam (according to respected Indian Muslim journalist M.J. Akbar, who has authored books on South Asia including Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan)
The majority of Hindus left Sindh in panic in the aftermath of riots that erupted in 1947-48 in the cities of Karachi, Hyderabad and Nawabshah. Even though the overall level of violence in Sindh was far lower than witnessed in Punjab, Bengal and north India, the Hindus felt insecure in the aftermath of these riots. The majority of the ones who fled were urban-based merchants and white-collar workers.
However, just about all lower-caste Sindhi Hindus (mainly agricultural labourers) stayed back in Pakistan. This is because they were (and still are) under the control of feudal landlords. They are, in effect, bonded labourers. The agricultural landscape in Sindh till today is feudal.
The higher-caste, urban-based Sindhi Hindus who chose to stay back, did so for a variety of reasons:
(1) A few owned substantial property and did not wish to abandon this wealth.
(2) Many felt comforted by the promises of protection and safety offered by their Sindhi Muslim neighbours and friends. After all, the level of violence in Sindh was far lower than elsewhere. In additional, the Islam practised in Sindh was Sufism, a tolerant and accommodative strain of Islam .
In fact, the Sindh riots were initiated by newly-arrived Urdu-speaking Muslim immigrants from India, who desperately needed homes. The violence was not initiated by Sindhi Muslims.
(3) A few Hindus simply did not wish to abandon the Motherland (Sindh).
(4) Many Hindus took comfort in a famous speech by the Founding Father of Pakistan, M.A. Jinnah, when he addressed the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11 August, 1947:
"You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed -- that has nothing to do with the business of the State."
This speech provided Hindus and other minorities with comfort the newly-created Pakistan, in effect, would function as a secular state.
They were to later discover they were mistaken because these words were incongruent with the "rationale" behind the creation of Pakistan. These words reflected the personal thoughts and ideals of the British-educated Mr. Jinnah, whereas in the minds of many Pakistanis, Pakistan was created strictly as a homeland for Muslims, where the basis of Pakistan's identity is Islam.
Mr. Jinnah passed away in 1948. As a result, his ideals and vision, were laid to rest with him.
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