Love hurts: Hindu couple marries outside press club as a sign of protest

Published: July 11, 2011
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Mukesh and Padma, stand together fighting for their rights to be recognised as a married couple. PHOTO: SHAHID ALI/EXPRESS

Mukesh and Padma, stand together fighting for their rights to be recognised as a married couple. PHOTO: SHAHID ALI/EXPRESS

HYDERABAD: 

Mukhesh and Padma walked around fire, seven times, to tie the knot, but without the pomp and splendour which is the essence of traditional Hindu weddings. The ceremony served a dual purpose, it was a wedding and a protest. It highlighted the Hindu community’s demand for laws that register their marriages in Pakistan.

“Since 1947, Hindu couples have not been legally accepted as husband and wife,” says Guru Sukh Dev who solemnised the wedding by reciting Vedic verses. “Consequently, many domestic, social and psychological problems arise for Hindu families, especially for the women.”

The demonstration was organised by a local leader of scheduled caste communities, Ramesh Mal. He said that since the creation of Pakistan there have been no laws for Hindu marriages. “The Pakistani government should take a cue from India and introduce laws to protect Hindu marriages,” said Mal.

According to him, they have problems acquiring national identity cards and passports, registering married women, and conducting property transfers. Even travelling becomes difficult for them inside the country.

Mal said that many young girls from his community are abducted, forced to convert to other religions and forcefully married. This happens because laws to protect these Hindu girls do not exist in Pakistan.

The protesters chanted slogans, urging President Zardari to issue an ordinance for their marriage registration laws, until a law is enacted.

One of the protestors, Sapna Devi, said that she had been married for 17 years but she had no legal evidence of the union. “God forbid, if he passes away, I will be unable to claim his property,” she explained.

The newly wed couple, hailing from the district of Khairpur, said that, “though their wedding may have seemed strange because it was performed in an unusual manner, in front of the media, outside the press club, it marked the beginning of their new life”. The purpose of doing it this way was to show the world that they were deprived of this basic right.

Quoting the 1998 census, Mal told The Express Tribune that scheduled caste Hindus, who led the protest, comprise more than one-third of the 3.4 million Hindus in Pakistan. He said that the parliament has eight minority MNAs to represent the Hindu community, but their fight for marriage registration laws have yet to produce results.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • Atif
    Jul 11, 2011 - 10:21AM

    Such aa shame for our successive governments, no marital laws for Hindu community means police ki chandi, so shamefull, Bravo this couple (Mukesh & Padma) inshahllah their protest will fetch some results

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  • Rehan
    Jul 11, 2011 - 11:10AM

    I support them. Every Man and Woman should have a right to register their marriage.
    Why are we Pakistanis so cruel with our minorities? ;'(
    Regards,
    Rehan

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  • Infidel Humanist
    Jul 11, 2011 - 11:28AM

    In 1950, Hindus constituted 22% of the population of Pakistan (approx. 9 million). Today, Hindus constitute around 1.5% of the population of Pakistan (approx. 3 million). In the same time, the overall population of Pakistan has increased by 460%. Assuming that Hindu population growth tracked the average population growth, they should have numbered around 41 million instead of 3 million.
    Pakistan needs to borrow 38 million Hindus from somewhere else before it can call itself Jinnah’s Pakistan.

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  • Jul 11, 2011 - 1:46PM

    More than 60 years down the road minority weddings are not recognized in this great ‘nuclear power’ . How shameful. Don’t get the reason behind it at all.

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  • Jul 11, 2011 - 1:46PM

    Best wishes to Mukesh and Padma!

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  • tahseen_65778@yahoo.com
    Jul 11, 2011 - 1:52PM

    @Infidel Humanist:

    You may need some history lessons.

    Migrations continued till mid fiftees.

    Pakistan accomodated more than 38 million muslims at time of creation of Pakistan. While India had to accomodate far less number of Hindus..

    What do you say about percentage of Muslims in India as compared with 1950??

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  • Majid Ahmad
    Jul 11, 2011 - 2:09PM

    Pakistani is Pakistani no matter Hindu, Muslim, and Christine etc. Government should get help from India for registering Hindu’s marriages. If they cannot do so ask we will provide them. My dear Brothers and Sisters (Muslim, Hindu, Christine etc) contact Mr. Qaim Ali Shah you can get his details bellow I hope it will help.
    http://www.pas.gov.pk/index.php/members/profile/en/19/325
    or you may contact directly to Ms. Aseefa Zardari via following link I hope it will help. http://twitter.com/#!/AseefaBZ

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  • Fahad
    Jul 11, 2011 - 2:59PM

    I am in disbelief!

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  • Jul 11, 2011 - 3:17PM

    I guess it’s just some kind of “religious insecurity” that forces the lawmakers to turn a blind-eye towards minorities. How super shameless are these lawmakers by the way? Respect to this hindu couple for celebrating their big day in this manner for a good cause. The people of Pakistan are waking up but the politicos seem to be drowning in shamelessness more and more. Ha!

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  • from india
    Jul 11, 2011 - 3:53PM

    how strange ! here in india, we urge muslims to register their marriage but they refrain from doing so !!

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  • goggi
    Jul 11, 2011 - 4:43PM

    The day we start enjoying our meals together from one plate with our Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Ahmadis, She-males, Shias, Sunnis country-(wo)men…….that will be the beginning of equality, peace, love and humanity in Pakistan.

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  • nisha
    Jul 11, 2011 - 5:47PM

    I am hindu, living in karachi,Pakistan
    My parents are legally married. My mother has wife, her post marraige sirname on her passport.
    I think there is some sort of a misunderstanding here?

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  • Ashutosh
    Jul 11, 2011 - 9:01PM

    @nisha:
    Those protesting must be “idiots”.
    You need not worry and need not check if there is a problem of which you are ignorant ..

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  • Sobriquet
    Jul 11, 2011 - 9:02PM

    @tahseen_65778@yahoo.com:
    In 1947 the TOTAL population of the four provinces of what is now Pakistan was 32.5 million. In 1951, when the first Pakistani census took place the population was 33.7 million. So what is the basis for your saying, “Pakistan accomodated more than 38 million muslims at time of creation of Pakistan?” For your information, after 1948 the cross-border movement of people was a trickle, at most a few tens of thousands in both directions, and has little to do with Pakistan’s current population.only Pakistan’s problem is most acute. Recommend

  • MK
    Jul 11, 2011 - 9:45PM

    @Infidel Humanist:
    Migrations kept happening well after partition and you also forgot to factor in the fact that majority of Hindus living in Pakistan around 1950 were in eartern part (now Bangladesh). Percentages and numbers changed a lot after 1971.

    However it is very sad to see that ones living now in Pakistan have to fight for their very basic rights.

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  • MKD
    Jul 11, 2011 - 11:57PM

    Minorities in Pakistan should think smart. Contact the local Priest, convert to Islam and live happily ever after. Is a religious tag more important than the ignominity of leaving as a 2nd/3rd/…….or 10th class member of the populace.
    No minority, no minority issues.

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  • Adnan
    Jul 12, 2011 - 12:22AM

    It’s a pity that we can’t have laws to protect our miniorities in Pakistan. I hope this brave decision by the couple will bring fruits for the community.

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  • Infidel Humanist
    Jul 12, 2011 - 12:42AM

    @tahseen_65778@yahoo.com
    @MK

    Both of you make valid points about continuing migration and the separation of Bangladesh. But 38 million is an awfully large number. I don’t think either of of your theories can account for all of it, or even a significant portion.

    I can dig up the numbers for Muslims in India, but I don’t think there is an issue there. Muslims in India may face some discrimination, but their population trajectory has not been adversely impacted.

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  • Talha
    Jul 12, 2011 - 12:49AM

    @Infidel Humanist
    Your figures are wrong, I have posted my analysis once before and here it is for your perusal.
    Hindu population has increased in West Pakistan since the time of its creation.
    There is common misconception that the population of religious minorities has decreased in Pakistan, in actuality the numbers have increased over time.
    First of all you cannot use the data from 1947 because migration of Hindus and Muslims to India and Pakistan did not end till about early 50′s ref.1, similarly there is the matter of Eastern and Western wings of Pakistan. The Eastern wing (now Bangladesh) had a higher percent of minorities especially the Bengali Hindu community which opted for Pakistan.
    Now lets consider the case of West Pakistan alone because that is what is left from the Pakistan that was originally conceived. Data from 1947 cannot be used becuase of mass migration of Hindus towards India. Lets use 1950 for a better comparison shall we as it was when the migration and internal displacement was somewhat over. There were 39,448,232 people in West Pakistan and a total of 6.54 milllion hindus, of which 5.4 million left for India. ref.2
    Now West Pakistan was left with 1.1 million Hindu’s, half of whom were unfortunately killed by Muslims in the riots that broke out. So by that account 500,000 hindus were left in West and today they are higher than 7 million ref.3, percentage does not matter because Muslim population boomed (much like in India) and there were alot of immigrants who entered Pakistan since that time.
    So you can see that by just looking at the example of Hindu’s, we can see that the numbers are much higher than what they were before. This is also true for Ahmadi’s, Christians and a few others. Another thing to note is the under reporting of minorities in this country. ref.4
    However it could be much higher but many fled Pakistan and continue to flee because of inane laws and the current situation.
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  • Muhammad Ahmed Malik
    Jul 12, 2011 - 2:26AM

    @Ashutosh:
    @nisha:
    Guys I have a lot of Christian friends here in Lahore. They say that they also don’t face such problems.(asked a few of them)

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  • Salman
    Jul 12, 2011 - 3:31AM

    @MKD: Shuddhi is advocated by Hindu Mahasabha parties and not anyone here in Pakistan. So trolling on Pakistani sites with venomous statements is actually a waste of precious human time. Do something more productive than spreading hate. No one here in Pakistan would ask our Hindu brothers and sisters to convert to anything. They are as oppressed as most Pakistanis are.

    Pakistan has multitude of problems, most of them emanating from the fact that it was newly established just 60 odd years ago in the far flung and most backward area of India, with the exception of some areas of Punjab. It is having difficulty finding its’ bearings but trust me it will after all the dust settle down. Read American history for confirmation of my statement to see how many times it almost broke apart after its’ foundation, from the issue of where to situate its Capital to the Civil War in 1860 over slavery issue when millions of its citizens were killed by each other. Today it is the sole super power in the world. While you are at it, read a little bit of your own history to see how much effort Muslims made to remain within the Union and how much they were not paid attention to. Remember it was us who gave India its first National Anthem: “Sare Jahan se Achcha Hindustan Hamara ; Hum Bulbul hain Uski, Woh Gulistan Hamara.” So there must have been a reason why we left, other than your hate.

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  • Nair Vijay
    Jul 12, 2011 - 6:41PM

    @Salman
    It’s a fact that minority in Pakistan is being ignored and tortured by majority there. I am not like to put example one by one. From childhood in Pakistan teaching anti India slogans and how to hate India, how to attack India. Even in your textbooks in schools teaching anti India lessons. Hope Mr. Salman must agree with this.!!

    And to my surprise, who told you that our “Vandemataram” written by a Pakistani? I don’t who teach you this??

    Anyway, we being your neighbour and best friend always, wish you all the best!!

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  • Satya
    Jul 12, 2011 - 7:11PM

    @from india:
    The reason is simple: In pakistan, they want no proof for population growth of Hindus (if no marriage documents then no chance of population growth on record) && In Bharat, muslims want to hide their population growth, so they dont register.

    Its a simple game of numbers.

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