Open Page

Dasara in Pakistan

"It’s only through travelling and visiting different places and countries can one dispel a host of prejudices against the people, cultures, faiths and ethos of the visited lands and countries," Trevor Fishlock said.

This statement assumes greater significance when in these religiously polarised times, even an innocuous commercial caused so much fuss. In 2017, I was in Pakistan during Dasara. Though I have been visiting Pakistan for many years, it was my maiden experience to be there during that time. A journalist friend of mine took me to Shri Swami Narayan Mandir on M.A. Jinnah Road in Karachi. I was amazed to see Hindu devotees happily setting the effigies of Ravan, Kumbhakarn and Meghnad ablaze.

I never expected this to happen so openly in a perceived Islamic country like Pakistan. Curious, I asked my friend, "Who makes these effigies here?"' "Muslim artisans," she told me. "Come next year a fortnight before Dasara, I’ll take you to the artisans."

So, in 2018, I visited Karachi during the time. My friend took me to those artisans who made the colourful effigies and stuffed them with small crackers. All those artisans were bare-footed in deference to the sentiments. Most of those Muslim artisans had roots in Ghazipur, Deoria, Basti and Gonda of eastern Uttar Pradesh. Their ancestors migrated to Pakistan during Partition. They carried those shared religio-cultural ethos to Pakistan, respectfully retained and bequeathed them to their next generation. Those artisans further told me that they had relatives in U.P. and Delhi and they too made effigies of Ravana and Meghnad.

The effigies will again be burnt this year made by the same Muslim folks. Isn’t it time to make a bonfire of rancour and recrimination along with the effigies? Shouldn’t that be truly symbolical in these prejudiced times?

sumitmaclean@hotmail.com

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 6:21:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/dasara-in-pakistan/article32936000.ece

Next Story