In the present map of the world, Pakistan 🇵🇰 came into existence in 1947. Before the partition of the great subcontinent of India, a number of religious communities were living together in harmony. There were no real feelings of hatred against each other on the basis of religion or faith.
For thousands of years, Hinduism was a dominant religion on the subcontinent, after which Buddhism arrived to preach the religious teachings of peace.
Islam was brought here by the Arabs (the present Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), when Hijaj Bin Yousaf came to Sindh to stop thieves who were looting the ships in the Arabic sea and the Indian ocean. Sikhism was introduced in the late 15th century.
Some old religious faiths existed too, but they were living in harmony together. In the era of Hindu rulers, Hinduism remained a dominant religion. When the Mughals came to the subcontinent, they allowed the widespread preaching of Islam, leading to a huge number of the locals embracing Islam.
After the Mughal era, the British colonials came to India, introducing the concept of ‘divide and rule’. They developed the ideas of religious conflict among the masses. This resulted in a number of serious religious incidents between Hindus and Muslims.
The British allowed the missionaries to preach Christianity among the masses, which all of the poor and deprived peoples accepted. These were people of low caste (Dalit, untouchable) who swept the streets and did , performed other filthy tasks for their livelihood. So they remained excluded and untouchable for a long time.
During the British era, the Christian community remained strong and well established, as so many institutions of the mission, e.g. missionary schools, hospitals and other welfare institutions, were under their supervision.
But when the British left India, these Christians became a minority throughout the region. Some moved to the Western World, but the poor and uneducated community remained here. They were again given the status of the Dalit (untouchable), the majority still working as cleaners, street sweepers, etc..
In present-day Pakistan and India, conservative religious people are misusing their power against such minorities. Often, the local peoples misuse it as a tool of revenge as well, in the name of blasphemy. These religious groups are powerful, and can only be controlled and managed by governmental machinery. The current government needs to work towards harmony among the masses without any discrimination on the basis of religion, faith, caste or superiority and inferiority complexes.
In the 21st century, we to need develop interfaith and intrareligious harmony throughout the world. So that all classes of humans may live in peace, with no hatred towards each other. For this peace process, we need to work at all levels of society.
Saqib Ali Raza
Saqib is a lawyer and social activist in Pakistan. He is a peace lover. As a Muslim he is also working for interfaith and intrareligious harmony among the masses. He is also engaged in projects to achieve a green and clean Pakistan. He has written several blogs for Peace SOS.