The Balochistan Hindus' Dilemma
Date 2013/5/19 20:19:52 | Topic: Hindu Press International
BALOCHISTAN, PAKISTAN, May 17, 2013 (Daily Times by Muhammad A. Notezai): Historically, it is not clear in documents to assert how and when Hindus originally settled in Balochistan. But after having sat with Balochistan-based Baloch and Hindu historians and writers, all of them agree that Hindus have been living in Balochistan since time immemorial along with Buddhists. It is also said that in some parts of Balochistan paganism has been the religion of the scattered tribal people. However, Hindus ruled Balochistan before the invasion of the Arabs in 712 A.D.
(HPI note: Some people in Balochistan speak Brahui, a Dravidian language related to the languages of South India. Its presence here, against the Afghan border nearly a thousand miles from the nearest region speaking a Dravidian language, is the source of the conjecture that the Indus Civilization in the area in ancient times may have spoken a Dravidian language. Linguists, however, believe it is of relatively recent introduction perhaps around 1000 ce. For more, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahui_language)
In Balochistan, Hindus have two historical and famous sacred places that belong to ancient times. These two sacred places are the Hinglaj Shrine, which is located in Balochistan's Lasbela District in a hilly track, and the other one is in Kalat town called Kali Devi, who is the consort of the God Shiva.
At the time of partition, religious riots were rampant in the subcontinent, but Hindus were living harmoniously and peacefully in the princely state of Balochistan, which was under the rule of the chief ruler of the Kalat state, Yar Muhammad Khan. He respected the indigenousness of the Hindu community. He had also given to Hindus economic and religious freedom in Balochistan. That is why the Hindu community did not leave Balochistan at the time of the partition because all their rights were safeguarded.
Hindus had also been living amicably with the Baloch and Pashtuns since the pre-partition days in Balochistan. But after the partition, due to religious uproar and turmoil, Hindus had to leave Balochistan's Pashtun belt to settle in Baloch populated areas or migrate to India. In 1941, the Hindus' population was 54,000 in Balochistan's Pashtun belt, but soon it dwindled by 93 percent after 1947.
Hindus (those that are left) have been richly contributing in Balochistan's economic prosperity and development since pre-partition days. They have built schools, libraries and hospitals in various parts of Balochistan. In Balochistan, many of the Hindus are educated. They have been offering services in health, education and other sectors. But it is profoundly shocking that Hindus are now living dangerously in Balochistan. They cannot even perform their religious practices freely due to the nightmarish situation where they interminably fear for their lives, faith, honour and property. Hindus, in spite of being Balochistan's peaceful and largest minority, are running from their old 'motherland' to escape persecution, because their lives are in a precarious and worsened condition these days.
More at source.