Security Essential to Avoid Hindu Exodus From Balochistan: Professor Aziz Mohammad Bugti
Interview by Muhammad Akbar Notezai
Professor Aziz Mohammad Bugti is a renowned Baloch author, intellectual and analyst. He has authored several books in Urdu and Balochi languages about the Baloch people and Balochistan. He has also a great contribution toward Balochi Literature. Our correspondent Muhammad Akbar Notezai spoke to him about the history of Hindus based in Balochistan, their contributions and contemporary challenges.Excerpts:
How did the Hindus settle in Balochistan?
It is exactly unknown how the Hindus settled in Balochistan. But it is said that the Hindus lived in the adjacent areas of Karachi, like Hub and Lasbella before the invasion of Mohammad Bin Qasim (712 AD). Besides, traces of the Hindus settlement are also found in Kalat and Sevi (Presently known as Sibi). The name of Kalat city has also been taken from a Hindu ruler, the Kalat Seva. But after the arrival of the Arabs and Balochs, Hindus’ influence and domination dwindled gradually and slowly.
In Balochistan, how do you trace back the history of sacred places of Hindus?
In Balochistan, the sacred places of Hindus are located in Bella, Kalat Seva (Kali Mata Temple) and Sevi, which are very old. These sacred places have been existing in these districts since Hindus’ domination in the areas of Balochistan.
The Hindu people’s hub, Deybal, where they ruled, is near the Bella. The Hinglaj Mata temple is situated there. It signifies, the Hindus have ruled once over here too. Still, Hindu devotees come from all over Pakistan to visit Hinglaj Mata temple of Balochistan.
How do you describe the plight of the Hindus in Balochistan?
Historically, the Hindus lived in Baloch populated districts. But they were also lived in Pashtun districts, such as Lorlai, Hindu Bagh (now named as Muslim Bagh) and Chaman, before the Partition days in 1947. They, after the Partition, migrated from these districts due to religious tumult. Now, a small number of Hindus lives in Pashtun-majority districts. However, the Hindus are fleeing Balochistan due to insecurity. They are migrating to Sindh and India.
What are the reasons behind it?
Well, they are deprived of the local people’s security and support which they enjoyed in the past. They have become strangers on their own indigenous land. The government is also not taking measures to address the challenges faced by the Hindu community.
How would the Baloch elders, especially Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, treat the Hindus community of Balochistan?
The Baloch elders, especially Nawab Akbar Bugti, have been very sympathetic to the Hindu community of Balochistan. They would never isolate the Hindus from themselves and their people due to their religion. Very interestingly, Baloch and the Hindus were treated equally by the Baloch elders. They were given all kinds of freedom.
Presently, it is pertinent to say that the Baloch elders cannot safeguard their rights because their tribal influence is diminishing due to the intervention of establishment in the tribal affairs.
What sacrifices have they tendered for Balochistan?
In Balochistan, Hindus have been tendering sacrifices from the day first. They have been side by side with the Baloch people in the struggles for rights. They have also been with each other at the time of happiness and sorrows.
There have been 65 Hindus killed in Dera Bugti District of Balochistan in the military assault against Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in March, 2005. And in that assault, many more sustained serious injuries.
How can the Hindus overcome these sufferings?
Hindus cannot get rid of these all sufferings until or unless they are ensured safety. It can also stop them from migrating. But if this is not done, then Hindus’ migration process may never stop.
The writer/interviewer is doing a research on the Balochistan based Hindus. Twitter: @Akbar_notezai Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in The Baloch Hal on September 8, 2013