On Being Hindu in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

By Razib Khan 56 Comments

Most readers of this weblog will already know this story. Far more than I do at least: Construction work at Hindu temple site in Islamabad halted. This part jumped out at me:

The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), an ally of Prime Minister Khan’s ruling Tehreek-e-Insaf recently opposed the construction of the temple by claiming that it was “against the spirit of Islam.”

Let’s be frank: isn’t this correct?

Religions are what people make of them, and there are some latitudinarian Muslims who would object to the assertion that the building of a Hindu temple was “against the spirit of Islam.” But historically this action, the obstruction of the building (and repairing) of religious buildings of minority communities has been normative in many Muslim majority societies. Egyptians Copts, for example, have long had to obtain very high level dispensations to repair their churches.

The basic theory from what I recall from Islamic jurists is that minority communities under the protection of Islamic rulers were tolerated, but they need not be encouraged. Their religious liberties were provided at sufferance, and that was enough.

The issue with Hinduism is even deeper: Hinduism is rather explicit in that it is a form of shirk. Whether you conceive of your Hinduism as fundamentally monotheistic or polytheistic, from a Muslim perceived it is polytheistic, and therefore an abomination. The Pakistani polity is illiberal in its behavior, but it is operating squarely within the orthodox parameters of Islamic accommodation to some level of religious pluralism, which combines subordination with delimiting the purview of minority religious beliefs and practices.

This is not limited to Islam, as some readers will be aware that Late Antique pagan practice slowly reconfigured its outline into a shape less offensive to Christianity as the price of toleration (e.g., public animal sacrifice disappeared). In Indonesia Buddhism and Hinduism are both explicitly monotheistic religions, so as not to offend Islamic sensibilities (though in Indonesia Muslims can also convert to Christianity or Hinduism legally, unlike many Muslim nations).

What’s the solution to this illiberality? In the long term, the only answer is greater secularization. As long as orthodox Islam, looking back to the past remains central to Pakistani identity I can’t see any other reaction to the attempt by Hindus to practice and express their religion in the public domain, as opposed to private practice.

Note: There is a long tradition in Abrahamic religions which believes that the gods of polytheistic faiths are actually devils and demons. This is one reason that Christians in Korea have attacked Buddhist statues, and Muslims in Pakistan are expressing horror at the building of a temple to Krishna, who they believe to be a demon who actually exists.

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56 Replies to “On Being Hindu in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan”

  1. I dont know why Pakistani Hindus (whatever little left) and liberals on twitter are even fighting for this. Its just painting a bulls eye on their back. It would make some sense if the temple was in Sindh, considering the Hindu pops and PPP in power there. Are there even Hindus in Islamabad?

    This also shows the limits of cultivated image vs ground realities. For past few years Pakistan has been trying to portray its tolerant image (contrasting with Nazi-Expansionist Modi’s India) with Kartarpur corridor and all. But the groundswell against all this tokenism was always there. The army has both exploited it (during the 2017 Islamabad Dharna) and stifled it ( Kartarpur corridor) . Now with the Pak army hands full with COVID and “handholding” the Imran Khan govt , it has less room to maneuver either for or against this temple protest. Especially because the principle opposition PML-N has lend its support against the temple, a tit for tat response for the 2017 events.

    1. Pakistani Hindus are citizens of Pakistan and deserve equal rights to practice their religion, no matter what bigots think. One of the foremost Sunni clerics Javed Ghamdi has stated that in a nation-state all citizens are equal and classical Islamic notions of “Dar-al-harb” and “Dar-al-Islam” no longer apply.

      At the same time, it is hypocritical for Indians to get upset about this. India is a constitionally secular state yet a historic minority place of worship was destroyed by a mob due to their religious beliefs. That mob destruction has now been rewarded by a court by allowing a temple to be built there. Those who defend the destruction of Babri have no right to criticize Pakistani actions in this case. Unlike India, Pakistan is explictly a religious-based state and was founded as a homeland for Muslims.

      Also, it was the PML-N which actually sanctioned land for the temple. But of course, when in opposition, the best way to bring down governments is to appeal to the religious right.

      1. Stop pretending like this is a 1-for-1 tit-for-tat situation. That India did Babri so Pak can do this. It’s never been like that and it never will be.

        What was the response to Babri Masjid falling in India?

        https://www.nytimes.com/1992/12/08/world/pakistanis-attack-30-hindu-temples.html

        30 temples attacked in Pakistan immediately after.

        https://www.refworld.org/docid/469f3869c.html

        In Bangladesh “Muslims attacked and burnt down Hindu temples and shops across Bangladesh and disrupted an India-Bangladesh cricket match following the destruction of the Babri Masjid in India by Hindu fundamentalists. About 5,000 young men with rods and bamboo sticks tried to storm Dhaka National Stadium, but they were beaten back by police firing tear gas and rubber bullets. At least 10 people have died, many Hindu women have been raped, and hundreds of Hindu homes and temples have been destroyed.”

        So bringing down ONE mosque, believed to have been built by destroying a temple dedicated to one of the most revered Hindu deities in the deity’s birthplace, resulted in a situation where 30 temples were attacked in Pakistan and 100s of temples were destroyed in Bangladesh.

        And despite all that you are still bringing up Babri to excuse / justify / contextualize / whatever this situation is in 2020? Wasn’t revenge already meted out in an extremely disproportionate manner? One mosque barely in use in exchange for 100s of temples destroyed…

        1. I don’t care why Babri was destroyed. In a SECULAR state, there is never any acceptable reason to destroy a minority place of worship.

          The point is that those who are OK with majoritarianism when they are in the majority are not credible protesting against it somewhere else. India is a SECULAR state and yet you all defend the destruction of a 400 year old mosque. Pakistan is an Islamic Republic and we are not talking about a temple being destroyed but simply one not being built. As I said, I believe that Pakistani Hindus deserve equal citizenship rights. But the Indian (esp. Hindtuva) hypocrisy on this is ridiculous. If you all want to treat your Muslims abysmally you have no right to complain about how Pakistanis treat our Hindus.

          1. “India is a SECULAR state and yet you all defend the destruction of a 400 year old mosque.”

            I don’t defend it. I was not involved. I did not will it. I’d rather it not have happened.

            But I also understand that the circumstances that led to the fall of Babri Masjid are very different from the circumstances at play here, and to bring it up to try to whatabouttism this issue is PROBLEMATIC and OFFENSIVE.

          2. If you read your comment again, you will see that you used the exact same rhetoric that is used by those who defend the destruction of Babri: “So bringing down ONE mosque, believed to have been built by destroying a temple dedicated to one of the most revered Hindu deities in the deity’s birthplace, resulted in a situation where 30 temples were attacked in Pakistan and 100s of temples were destroyed in Bangladesh.”

            It doesn’t matter that it was “ONE” mosque. In a secular state, even the destruction of one mosque is completely unacceptable. Neither are the beliefs of the majority regarding a mythological character relevant. That mosque existed when India was created in August 1947 and in a truly secular state it would still be standing.

            The point (which you seem to be unable to comprehend) is that unless you are willing to defend Nehruvian Secularism in India you have no right to comment on religious discrimination in a state which openly calls itself an ISLAMIC Republic. You all seem to only care about religious discrimination when it allows you to score anti-Pakistan points. The hypocrisy is beyond obvious.

          3. I disagree THAT you need to support NEHRUVIAN SECULARISM to criticize the religious BIGOTRY of Pakistan. There are different FLAVORS of secularism; Nehruvian is not ALMIGHTY or controlling in ALL circumstances.

            There are also DIFFERENT flavors of RELIGIOSITY; some COUNTRIES with a state religion or some mixed situation like BANGLADESH or SRI LANKA or some EURO countries are still meaningfully DISTINGUISHED from horrible hellholes like the ISLAMIC Republic of Pakistan.

            While you may be DISAPPOINTED in the current politics of INDIA and its ability to live up to its IDEALS, even at its LOWEST point, don’t you DARE compare the Republic of INDIA to the ISLAMIC Republic of Pakistan.

            yes I am also CAPABLE of capitalizing RANDOM words.

            Finally, degrees matter in EVERYTHING. There was a mosque shooting in NZ. Does that make NZ comparable to utter hellholes like Pakistan?!? ONE instance only. But now it is comparable to a country that sends hordes of refugees to the WEST? Numbers MATTER. 2 is more than 1 and that makes a DIFFERENCE.

          4. When your own country is rapidly becoming a Hindu majoritarian hellhole, you don’t really have much credibilty calling Pakistan out for being a Muslim majoritarian hellhole.

            You Hindu Indians should really just shut the hell up about Pakistan. Considering what you do to your own Muslim citizens. At least Pakistan’s Prime Minister isn’t a fascist who literally has Muslim blood on his hands.

  2. I read up on the guy opposing the construction, Pervaiz Elahi – from the ‘noble’ Jatt Warraich clan, born into an industrialist family, studied at Forman Christian College (supposedly a liberal arts institute) followed by a degree in the UK. He’s the speaker of the provincial assembly of Punjab, was a former deputy PM, and is also a cousin of former PM Shujaat Hussain.

    What this shows is that the dislike for Hindus runs deeper and isn’t related to poverty or lack of education. This guy is from the blue-blooded elite and still has this outlook, it pretty much confirms what Aatish Taseer said about the mindset of the feudal class. On twitter, youtube, and reddit, he’s getting quite some support from followers who think ‘shirk’ shouldn’t be promoted.

    This just magnifies why CAA is necessary and has mass support among the Indian public. Also goes to show that if Kashmir ever becomes an Islamic state or joins Pakistan, the millennia of Hindu history in the region would be extinguished, just like it had been in Nuristan back in the late 19th century.

    1. “This just magnifies why CAA is necessary and has mass support among the Indian public.”

      Mass support is an exaggeration…

      1. Some reporting in the Indian Express did indicate that the support for the CAA was widespread, especially in North India. I think the BJP found a successful wedge issue in the CAA. Although in their typical bravado and foolish swagger, they missed a great opportunity to include Ismailis and Memons in the list of people who could come. Ismailis and Memons are out of place in Pakistan, they would have been great in India.

        1. “Ismailis and Memons are out of place in Pakistan, they would have been great in India.”

          No muslim, not even Ahmedis will move 2 India. We have a exaggerated sense of religious toleration in India.

          1. Plenty of South Asian Muslims from the West have moved or tried to move to India. Ismailis would have definitely found good reason to move to India, which is also the more developed and larger market.

          2. Simply being a Pakistani Ahmedi will get you asylum / refugee status in most Western countries. I struggle to see how India could be worse than Pak for them. But you are right that even if India is a little bit better for them they may still have apprehensions of moving to India.

    2. Those who would defend the destruction of Babri in a constitutionally secular state are hypocrites if they protest the actions of an Islamic Republic.

      Pervez Elahi is just cynically appealing to religious sentiments to bring down the Imran Khan Regime. That’s why PML-N has joined this bandwagon despite actually sanctioning land for this temple when they were in power.

    3. Warraich is a Serbian surname. For example, it was the surname of the famous basketball player who scored the most points ever in a single-game final for the European continental club title. In 1979 he scored 47 points without three-pointers!

    4. This just magnifies why CAA is necessary and has mass support among the Indian public.

      We absolutely need to be providing refuge (and citizenship) to any and every Hindu who wants to escape the hellhole that is Pakistan.

      We do not need to do it in a way that simultaneously disenfranchises (or has the potential to disenfranchise) a big chunk of Indian Muslims.

      The Hindutva supporters on this blog can argue till the cows come home about this, but I am convinced (based on the process by which the CAA was passed and the rhetoric linking the CAA and the NRC by top BJP leaders) that it’s primarily the latter that animates them. That the disenfranchisement of Indian Muslims is a feature and not a bug to them.

      Our constitution and statutes, like those of every other country, provides very high discretion to the government to determine who should be allowed into the country and who can apply for citizenship. The catch in our case is that we have explicit clauses excluding citizens of Pakistan. A simple fix could be to eliminate that exclusionary clause entirely (the Partition generation is almost dead by now) and then have our immigration bureaucracy selectively allow Hindu refugees from Pakistan and fast track them to citizenship.

      1. Largely agree with Numinous observations.

        Just that with everything else the BJP has an exaggerated sense of their abilities, the only place the NRC can be realistically applied is Bengal,Assam. It can’t be applied even in border states of North, forget disenfranchising a Telugu or Kannadiga Muslim claiming them to have come from Pakistan/Bangladesh. Not just judicially but even politically.

        Is it worth to go thru this exercise and potentially creating an all India alliance against them, when politically you are comfortable with no opposition in sight. Does not make even political sense. So the only reason is NRC is just a rhetrorical wedge issue, to keep Muslims on the backfoot, hanging the Damocles sword, keep them guessing what could be next.

        1. “So the only reason is NRC is just a rhetrorical wedge issue, to keep Muslims on the backfoot, hanging the Damocles sword, keep them guessing what could be next.”

          Isn’t that an issue in itself? Muslims shouldn’t be made to feel this mix of fear and confusion and insecurity.

  3. @Razib, honestly no-one is really surprised anymore with these shenanigans. Indians are long past the need to search for justifications and closure wrt Paki society. If anything, this is perfect PR for the Indian state on many axes –

    1. Provides soft confirmation of the core Paki state’s religious illiberalism for international eyes. Acts a gateway to confirming other biases about terrorism and jihadism, especially in light of the pending FATF grey list.

    2. Reduces or hazes out IK’s protestations about Hindutva on Twitter by calling out his inability to act on fundamentalism in his own camp

    3. Creates a tension with its latest international “Ummah BFF” like Malaysia, which has long been very comfortable with Hindu Gods and their worship.

    If I may be a little bit more imaginative, I would characterize the media outcry as a carefully orchestrated psyop. The targets of this op could be the Dems in election mode, some fence sitters in the FATF or the domestic Indian audience itself.

    1. When you are OK with religious majoritarianism in your own country (despite it being consitutionally secular) you have no business calling out a state which has never claimed to be secular.

      The world can see what India is doing just as it sees what Pakistan is doing. Pakistan is not the country where anti-minority pogroms occurred in the national capital just a few months ago. Pakistani security forces didn’t murder a 60 year old grandfather and pose his 3 year old grandson on the corpse to take pictures. You all have absolutely no business criticizing Pakistan.

      Finally, “Paki” is a racial slur. The correct term is “Pakistani”. Thanks.

  4. https://mobile.twitter.com/johnaustin47/status/1277103033789198337

    “102 Hindu Men, Women and children are converted to Islam in Golarchi, District Badin, Sindh-Pakistan. All idols of Hindu Gods are destroyed in local temple and now Hindu Temple is converted into a mosque. 27-06-2020”

    Regular reminder to look at the rest of the tweets from Rahat Austin. This guy is an angel for the Hindus of Pakistan.

    This is happening in front of us and amnesic, duplicitous (Nehruvian secularists unwilling to live under Congress-Hindu boot! What an asshole! ) and venomous Pakistani snakes have the balls to point fingers. No AJ+ and no TRT coverage here when there are literally hundreds of cases every year.

    Again, please take some time to look at other material Rahat has shared.

  5. i understand this thread is going to be a food fight, and will take a liberal attitude.

    that being said it’s sad talking to liberal pakistanis privately about these issues because most of them have no hope for hindus in the state and society.

    the nature of the founding does seem to matter. hindus suffer discrimination in bangladesh, but it was founded as a left-nationalist, not islamic, state, and islamists are always in some ways wrong-footed by this reality despite social prejudice.

  6. Something off topic, why is it that there is very little archeological traces of Hinduism in pre-Islamic period of Pakistan region, but yet plenty of Buddhist, Hellenic, Zoroastrian, and other non-Hindu past??? I mean there is barely any excavated remains of any Hindu temple or statues of Hindu gods/godesses past 10th century AD in Pakistan region

    1. Its just signifies that a more thorough job was conducted vis-v Hinduism than other religions.

      On the podcast Abhinav talks a similar example, that Delhi had its first temple in 1000 years or so in 1939. And this is Delhi we are talking about.

      1. “On the podcast Abhinav talks a similar example, that Delhi had its first temple in 1000 years or so in 1939. And this is Delhi we are talking about.”

        I think he said it was 700 years but maybe I misheard. At any rate, that was a heartbreaking thing to listen to. In freaking Delhi. 700 years. to build a temple. I didn’t even know Delhi had any sacred significance.

  7. Hindu extremists love to claim that Pakistan’s non-Muslim population decreased from 23% to 3.7% due to forced conversions and mass massacres. This is a myth. Based on the 1951 census, the non-Muslim population of Pakistan was 3.44% (1.6% Hindus). And per the 1998 census, that non-Muslim population increased to 3.7% (1.85% Hindus).

    Even if we combine Bangladesh’s (i.e. former East Pakistan) non-Muslim population with Pakistan for the 1951 census it was only 14.2% total since Bangladesh had a much higher non-Muslim population. The census done prior to 1951 was under the British rule for its undivided provinces, so there is no factual data for Pakistan proper. But at the time of the 1947 partition, there were a large number of Sikh/Hindu migrations from Pakistan to India, and also of Muslims from India to Pakistan. Therefore, based on India’s 1951 census data, the population of non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan to India was 1.3%, so if we add this to Pakistan’s 1951 census data, had there been no population exchanges during the 1947 partition, the non-Muslim population in Pakistan would had been no more than approximately 15.63% (mostly Sikhs and Hindus).

    In conclusion, the Hindutva claim that Pakistan had over 23% non-Muslims who were forcefully converted to Islam or mass massacred to a 3.7% population today is a big lie (it actually was 3.44% in 1951 and increased to 3.7% in 1998), and is designed to make the Indian Hindu masses emotional, angry, and hateful towards Pakistan/Muslims. It also has legal implications with the recent discriminatory policymaking of CAB. This is not to say that non-Muslims are not persecuted in Pakistan, unfortunately they are indeed victims of occasional harassment and discrimination, but not at the extremely exaggerated scale claimed by the Hindu nationalists.

    1. “This is not to say that non-Muslims are not persecuted in Pakistan, unfortunately they are indeed victims of occasional harassment and discrimination, but not at the extremely exaggerated scale claimed by the Hindu nationalists.”

      I agree. I would go further and say that non Muslims by and large face the least violence in Subcontinent. You need to first have substantial minorities to really inflict violence against. Plus you need that minority to not be cowed down by their already de facto 2nd class citizenship, and competing for political space. Non of these conditions exist in Pakistan.

      In short, they know their place.

      1. “In short, they know their place.”

        Yeah. Agree.

        This is also the reason Muslims and other groups protest in India in the numbers that they do. They are empowered enough to do so.

        Some sort of Tocqueville Effect is going on.

      2. “I agree. I would go further and say that non Muslims by and large face the least violence in Subcontinent. You need to first have substantial minorities to really inflict violence against.”

        This is kind of wrong, but I guess you’re more focusing on the immediate present in which case I think you may be right.

        Undivided Pakistan had a higher percentage of Hindus (~12.5%) in 1951 than India did Muslims (~9%).

        What was the consequence?

        Undivided Pakistan, backed by the US, orchestrated one of the most widely recognized (by academics and civil society at large) genocides against Bengali Hindus, killing hundreds of thousands, raping hundreds of thousands, and displacing millions as refugees.

        This is not one of those instances of woke leftist people who abuse the term genocide by declaring a riot or incident of violent crime as a genocide.

    2. After independence and the partition-related population exchanges, in the 1951 census, Undivided Pakistan had more Hindus as a percentage (~12.5%) than India had Muslims (~9%). Today, the percentage of Hindus in what would be Undivided Pakistan is ~6% while the percentage of Muslims in India is ~15%.

      I understand though that most of the decrease in religious minority percentages comes from Bangladesh, because West Pak had very few religious minorities after Partition because of how they violently exiled the previously ~15% Hindu population. I also acknowledge that a good bit of the decline in Bangladeshi Hindus is attributable to lower fertility rates and economic migration to West Bengal.

      But still, the reckless disregard of Hindu lives needs to stop. Hindu lives matter, too.

      1. Yes West Pakistan “violently exiled” the non-Muslim population. But don’t forget that Muslims were ethnically cleansed from Indian Punjab. Way to lay selective blame.

  8. what’s the best estimate of hindus in what became pakistani punjab? easy enuf to infer from 1941 district level results right?

    hindu nationalists on the whole don’t care about math are prone to exaggerate. unfortunately that makes their whole argument about religious aggression, which has some merit, weaker

    1. “hindu nationalists on the whole don’t care about math are prone to exaggerate.”

      I am not sure about H-nats mathematical abilities regarding the reduction of Hindus in Pak from 23% to 2% but one thing I can say that this exaggeration also has a propaganda dimension to it. This propaganda arises from the fact that when Pakistan transferred it’s non-Muslims (about 15% of population) to India then why didn’t India transfer it’s Muslims (about 10-15% of population) to Pakistan ? A pint of truth plus a pint of lie makes propaganda. The truth is that non-Muslims in Pak reduced from 15% to 2% and lie is that the reduction is a result of conversion and rape rather than the population transfer.

  9. i havent commented on this blog for quite some time, so i will take out some time to jot some lines today. but instead of comments, i will just narrate a little personal anecdote to show the readers how hinduism and islam are fundamentally different.

    my family hangs out with fellow indian americans in US. a few years back when we used to live in an apartment, one of our neighbors was an indian muslim family. my kid daughter, who was about 3 years old then, used to frequent their apartment as they had a girl of about the same age, and both the girls were playmates. so in their apartment my daughter would occasionally observe the muslim lady offering namaz. as kids are great imitators, she would imitate the act back in our home by covering her had in some cloth and bowing in the way muslims do when performing namaz. we would just laugh at her and think nothing of the matter. it was kid’s play after all, literally.

    then, a few days later, we had a get together in our home in which we invited some indian families, including the aforementioned muslim couple. my wife happened to have some puja prasad (holy offering) at home, which she distributed among the guests. the muslim lady at first accepted it without any fuss, but then she looked at her husband. the husband sternly forbade her with a gesture with his eyes, and the wife kept the prasad back making some silly excuse ( can’t eat too much sugar or something like that). we all knew what the real reason was, but everybody kept quiet.

    that day i felt proud of my religion. my religion is so bold and confident that it does not feel threatened by the occasional brushes with the practices of alien religions. in contrast islam comes acoss as an insecure, hypersensitive, paranoid faith that is forever looking over its shoulders trying to steer clear of shirk.

    in fact there no real comparison between islam and hinduism, they are orthogonal. like apples and oranges. hinduism didnt even develop in reference to other religions. it just was.

    1. I dont know man, sometimes we tend to extrapolate, i feel the situation was still salvageable in the 90s. Or perhaps i am romanticizing those years.

      We had 2 drivers, both muslim brothers. And both as different as one can be. The older one was religious, and very similar to the husband you narrated. And the younger was perhaps more Hindu than me. He used to accompany my mom to temples, so much so that the pandit for longest time thought he was a Hindu. He used to be first in line to get prasad, and was also in charge of our House warming Puja. There used to be lot of tension because of this b/w the brothers.

      The younger one went to Middle East sometime in the 2000s , and i met him during my last visit to India, couple of years back. Suffice to say now he seems more muslim than his elder brother.

      1. @saurav, your “two brothers” story is illustrative here. the younger brother, when he was in india, wore islam lightly. when he went to middle east he got connected with larger islamic world and became more self-consciously muslim.

        this is a recurring theme in subcontinental history. subcontinental muslims tend to become more self aware as mulsim, both spiritually and politically when they come back from a sojourn to core islamic lands. some of them even suffer from delusions of grandeur! iqbal of pakistan is a classic example.

        when iqbal was a simple desi poet from lahore he used to sing odes to ganga and jamna in his sweet little poems like “sare jahan se accha..”, and teach every one that “mazhab nahin sikhata aapas me bair rakhna”. then he went to a tour of ottoman empire and middle east, and returned back as a bigger muslim then arabs and turks themselves! now he was evoking visions of dajlah (tigris) and andalus in his poems and warning everybody that as a muslim he has grown up in the “shadow of the swords” (Trana-e-Milli). (never mind that his kashmiri pandit ancestors probably did nothing more marital than maintaining the account books of their afghan and turk employers).

    2. Dude, we can keep trading anecdotes on this. I had a Muslim friend in college at my house for Diwali and there was no issue with prasad and stuff. Of course, the guy’s an atheist in practice, like me, but still, we are not talking about faith here, right? Rather, cultural tics?

      1. “but still, we are not talking about faith here, right? Rather, cultural tics?”

        @numinous. nope, we are talking about faith here. there is nothing cultural about it. don’t delude yourself.

        when it comes to bridging the gap between hindus and muslims, i have seen that hindus will readily go 3 quarters of the way towards muslims, but muslims will have trouble walking even 1 quarter of the way. the reasons lie in the fundamentally different nature of both faiths.

        hinduism has a natural tendency to encourage exploration and experimentation. it encourages its followers to go out in the world and seek truth for themselves. in contrast islam is a closed faith system which discourages (at the pain of death if i may add), all sorts of innovation (bidah) and interaction with other religions.

        so you see, the problem is not really with muslims. the problem is islam. in some ways i in fact feel pity for muslims. they can’t step inside temples, can’t fold hands in front of idols, can’t do yoga etc etc, because any interaction with other religions out of sheer human curiosity is bound to run foul of the rigid legal framework of islam.

        and despite its tall claims for being an entire way of life and such, what solutions does islam offer for the problems of the modern world? does it even have any official views on things like wealth inequalities, environmental degradation, civil wars etc? in fact the religion is so inward looking that instead of trying to solve the modern world issues, it is forever looking for ways to survive in the modern world. for e.g., how to run an economy without transgressing the laws of riba (charging of interest) etc.

        1. I can relate to this, in the south of India, particularly in Tamil Nadu, there was no separate dominant religious identity in general, language identity overruled everything else, other than in some coastal pockets. From early 90’s this has started to change, introduction of Arabic/Urdu schools, more and more women with abaya’s covering their face and just slit for eyes, socially distant with other religious groups, rise of ghettos etc. 20 -30 years ago it would’ve been un-imaginable for a fundamental Muslim group in Tamil Nadu to conduct “Anti-Shirk” meetings. The liberal ones are termed as mushrikun and are sidelined with in their communities. There is a fundamental change in how the Muslims view themselves and within the larger community. IMO, this “separate” Islamic identity rose with the rise of wealth in the middle east, with more and more of the workers from the Sub-continent went to the desert states, the more and more they got distinct from the rest of the South Asians.

          1. And just to be fair, before some one jumps in, both Hindus and Christians have also changed from the 80’s liberal outlook.

    3. “in fact there no real comparison between islam and hinduism, they are orthogonal. like apples and oranges. hinduism didnt even develop in reference to other religions. it just was.”

      Agree to an extent. But it also depends on what your background is.

      One of my father’s good friends is a Brahmin from UP who comes from a renowned line of priests. He looks the part as well. Extremely fair skinned and all – ‘divya’ as some folks describe him.

      At an iftaar party of a mutual friend a few years ago, he refused to have any food citing some fast.
      (He wasn’t fasting, my parents knew)

      Interesting thing is he is a closet meat eater. And it’s not like he’s a duplicitous person. He does loads of charity and has helped a lot of people irrespective of religion.

      There are certain communities that are generally more fastidious than others. Conservative vaishnvav baniyas from small town Rajasthan or Gujarat might be such a group, though you can chalk it to a lack of exposure. Some of my friends from such backgrounds often refer to Muslims as ‘Mohammadens’, which seems odd to my ears.

  10. The argument I am hearing in Pakistan is that the Hindu community is free to build their temple using their own funds. However, an Islamic Republic cannot finance a temple since that would be seen as promoting idolatry.

    Anyway, the issue has now been sent to the Council of Islamic Ideology to decide one way or another.

  11. “Anyway, the issue has now been sent to the Council of Islamic Ideology to decide one way or another.”

    How comforting and reassuring!

      1. The hint is in the name. We call ourselves the ISLAMIC Republic of Pakistan. It’s not exactly subtle.

        We aren’t hypocrites who are constitutionally secular while secretly yearning to be a Hindu Rashtra.

    1. It is a religious issue and the Council of Islamic Ideology is the competent authority to decide such things.

      But do go on with your anti-Pakistan agenda. Such posts always do bring out the Hindutvadis on this forum. Perhaps Razib should make a weekly post for you all to spew anti-Pakistan filth? If he knew his audience, he would do that. Pathetic losers.

  12. I grew up with Pakistani Hindu immigrant kids whose families moved to India (Maharashtra) from Pakistan, where my own migrant family had ended up. It was a steady trickle of Pakistani Sindhis all through the 90s, who were quickly assimilated into the local population and contributed a lot to the economic growth of Maharashtra State.

    Pakistan as it is currently configured is a terrible place for Hindus. In my view, the rational thing for a Pakistani Hindu family to do is to emigrate.

    1. India as it is currently configured is a terrible place for Muslims.

      But trust the collaborator class of Occupied Kashmir to join the anti-Pakistan bandwagon on BP. Only to be expected.

    2. “In my view, the rational thing for a Pakistani Hindu family to do is to emigrate”

      I agree, and I think the Indian gov’t could have set up pull factors in a much better framed and less controversial way than the CAA. This gov’t really doesn’t care about optics and presentation, and acts surprised when the world disapproves.

  13. I still think India should change its name from the Republic of India to the Islamic Republic of India. There are huge benefits that come with inserting “Islamic” at the beginning of the country’s name.

    Countries that throw in the word Islamic in their name have full liberty to engage in the most heinous acts of cruelty in a widespread manner and the Western left will either ignore it or even encourage it.

    You will also get leftists journalists and academics (i.e., most journalists and academics) coming out to whitewash anything you do and provide selective coverage so people are in the dark about your atrocities.

    1. You can’t be an Islamic Republic when only 14% of your population is Muslim. More like Hindu Republic of India.

  14. “Simply being a Pakistani Ahmedi will get you asylum / refugee status in most Western countries. I struggle to see how India could be worse than Pak for them. But you are right that even if India is a little bit better for them they may still have apprehensions of moving to India.”

    Hoju, if India opened her borders over a hundred million muslims would move to India.

    Many Bangladeshis would move to India if they could. Sufis and Ifran Shia Sufi and liberals would arrive whole sale. India is the global center of Sufi and Irfan Shia Sufi Islam.

    However, India is wary of absorbing vast number of soft Islamist immigrants for good reason.

    A question Hoju . . . how many mosques, dargahs (Shia or Sufi or both since many dargahs are both Shia and Sufi) have you visited in India?

    Notice that the BJP gets more muslim support in Rajasthan than any other state. Why? I think it is because Rajasthan is heavily Sufi.

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