Islamabad - The Hindu community of Pakistan has called upon intellectuals and analysts not to equate the Hindu religion with ‘Hindutva’, the predominant form of Hindu nationalism in India.
In the backdrop of February 14 Pulwama terror attack, and the tense situation that emerged in its aftermath, many analysts in Pakistan can be seen in TV talk shows and on social media using almost daily the word ‘Hindu’ and Hinduism in negative context.
The latest controversy was generated after a tweet by a pro-ruling PTI journalist and columnist Haroon Rasheed, who has expressed his ‘relief’ saying, “The warlike situation has helped the nation ... taught us a great deal of decency. The country which Hindus were all set to destroy is now intact and progressing.”
Hindu community representatives of Pakistan denounced Rasheed’s tweet, which they say has hurt them as he has doubted their patriotic feelings and loyalty towards Pakistan.
A Hindu rights activist, Kapil Dev, responded to Rasheed’s tweet by saying: “Dear Pakistanis, I am deeply hurt by this [Rashid’s] tweet. My forefathers chose Pakistan in 1947 and did not move to India. But Haroon is inciting hatred against Hindus. If you respect me and Pakistani Hindus just re-tweet and report his account.” He has also used hashtag @Block Haroon Rasheed in his tweet.
Later, while talking to Gulf News, Dev said moved by anti-India jingoism, many Pakistani analysts and intellectuals have forgotten that around four million Hindus live in Pakistan, in almost all parts of the country. “When we equate the present Indian government with ‘Hindu government’, we are going to malign the entire Hindu community living in the country,” he said.
Another Hindu resident of Rawalpindi, Heera Lal, said he strongly opposed Narendra Modi and his Hindutva policies. Majority of Hindus are peace-loving and believe in harmony and mutual coexistence, he said.
War is not in the interest of the region. There is no winner in war but all are losers, he said. “Our ancestors at a time when everyone was leaving for India decided to stay in Rawalpindi.”
While responding to Rasheed’s tweet, he said “We are living in peace and harmony with local population but when certain elements question our loyalty to our homeland, it is quite disheartening,” said Tulsi Das.
Dev also posted pictures of two Pakistani soldiers – Ashok Kumar and Lal Chand – saying they sacrificed their lives in war against the Taliban. “It is region, not religion that determines one’s loyalty, and we should use the word Hindutva not Hindu to denounce Modi’s policies,” he said.