Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Tharpakar: Hindu majority district in Pakistan!

Tharparkar's location in Pakistan adjoining India
It was a surprise to know that a Hindu majority district still exists in Pakistan.

Though there is a large Hindu population in the country, especially, in Sindh, we don't get to hear much news about the Pakistani Hindus.

This is sad as many agencies and newspapers have correspondents stationed in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, but unfortunately they don't seem interested to focus on Hindu culture in Pakistan.

Tharpakar [also spelt as Thar Parkar] district in Pakistan had Hindus constituting more than half of the population.

Eminent author Yoginder Sikand writes that it is a Hindu majority district. Though he says that the voice of these people does not reach anywhere because they are mostly Dalits or Backward Communities and the Hindu community representatives in Assemblies are mostly the upper castes like Banias.

Tharpakar is situated on the Indo-Pak border. On its east lies Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan while on the south lies Rann of Kutch ie Indian state of Gujarat. There are numerous temples in Tharpakar, the only fertile desert, of the world.

A temple in Tharpakar
I tried to get more information about the district but couldn't find as much as I wanted. If the Hindus are not in a majority by now and even if they comprise 30-40% of the district's population, it is an interesting and gladdening news.

In fact, substantial population of Hindus survived the partition and remained in Sindh, even parts of Punjab and Balochistan, even towns in the interior regions.

The poor among them like their Muslim brethren, work as 'haari' at the farms of landlords. Wikipedia says that Hindu population migrated during the war of 1965 still substantial chunk of population is Hindu.

Read Part II on this blog
There are Sikhs and a few Jains as well among the other religious minorities. In fact, the temple visible in this post is a Jain shrine. Most of the Jains had left Pakistan, along with Upper Castes, in the wake of partition.

Also, Hindu tribes like Bhil inhabit the district. For the second part on Hinduism in Pakistan and the photograph shown on the left, read another post on this blog.

Hinduism in Pakistan Part-II. Click