Flood survivors display interfaith harmony

As floods rage through Sindh, many Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs have taken shelter at temples and gurdwaras.


Shahzad Jillani August 23, 2010

As floods rage through Sindh, many Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs have taken shelter at temples and gurdwaras in calamity-hit areas. In this time of need, everyone is being welcomed and is looked after.

In Kandhkot’s Karampur tehsil, Muslims were provided shelter by the Hindus and Sikhs. “Around 50 people took refuge in the gurdwara after the Tori Bund breach destroyed the entire village,” says Ramchand, the manager of a rice mill in Karampur.

Karampur has a large Hindu population while a small number of Sikh families also live on the outskirts of the area.

While a big chunk of Kandhkot’s population had evacuated their villages, some did not want to leave and hoped that things would get better in a few days.

Its famous temples are now being used as relief camps. “Our community has also been affected and all our businesses have suffered great losses. But despite that we have not forgotten our people and are helping out in relief activities,” says Tara Chand, a local landlord.

According to Chand, shelter and food is being provided without any discrimination. “Local villagers do not differentiate between the communities. They often come and eat with us and we do the same,” Chand says.

Dayam Khan, who has taken shelter in Shiv Shankar temple, seconds the claim. “I have been staying in the mandir for the last eight days. The caretaker of the temple, Narayan Das, moved us here. We are being looked after well and given food.”

Other temples that are being used as the relief camps are Guru Arjan Dev and Sain Juriya Ram.

In district Kahirpur, ten relief camps have been adopted by Hindu traders. “We earn here and have been living here for generations. We want to spend here too for our people who are facing the worst time of their lives,” says Banamal, a local trader.

In Sukkur and Khairpur, Hindu businessmen are contributing towards flood relief activities while in some areas the food arrangements are also being looked after by members of the Hindu community.

In Shikarpur district, several temples in remote areas were also affected by the floods. In Sultan Kot tehsil, a Kali Mata temple was completely inundated. The local administration has tried to drain the water. “We evacuated our houses immediately after flood water started entering our village. Later we were told that the temple where we worship is under water. We told the local administration and also tried to save the mandir but it was difficult to do so,” says Jai Parkash, a resident of the area.

Parkash added that the Hindu Panchyat officials have asked the community to assess their losses so they can be compensated later.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2010.

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