MITHI –PLACE OF INTERFAITH HARMONY IN PAKISTAN
- BY RAJAT MOHANTA
Pakistan..!! Everyone is surely familiar with this name in India. Every now and then we have heard this name from news channel and newspapers . Even the inter country sports matches between our countries are treated as war.
On Hearing this name our stereotypical mind automatically forms Images of terrorist organizations, Talibanisation, bomb blast, religious riots, slaughtering of religious minorities, forced conversion and tension among communities. But here is a surprise for you guys now. There is a small town in the middle of a sprawling desert – Mithi, in Tharparkar a district of the Sindh province where none of this is happening. People of this town coexist peacefully with no report of any religious conflict since 200 years.
Mithi is one of very few towns of Pakistan where Muslims do not form majority in population. About 80% population of the town is populated by Hindus. Both Hindus and Muslims have evolved into a culture of living together like one big family even after partition and the creation of Pakistan.
Both Hindus and Muslims have lived peacefully with almost negligible reported crime rate of 2% in the town. This city Mithi was made the capital of Tharparkar District in 1990, when the district was separated from Mirpur Khas to form a new District.
Mithi is a perfect example of a place with religious harmony. The ever happening Religious intolerance around the world has least affect upon the brotherhood among the humans of Mithi.
Hindus of Mithi respect the Muslim Rites and never organize any marriage during the month of Muharram. Out of respect the Muslims too of this place do not slaughter cows since cows are considered holy by Hindus. Whats amazing is that Hindus of Mithi also happily participate in providing food and drinks for Muslims during Ramzan. Even the important festivals like Diwali and Eid are happily celebrated together. Many Hindu women also tie Rakhi to their Muslim brothers in celebration of the festival Raksha Bandhan.
“We, Hindus and Muslims, have lived like one family in this village for the last 200 years. Not a single communal feud has ever been reported that could have threatened communal harmony here. We share each other’s joys and grief. Not only do we live together, but also share a common graveyard to bury our dead. There is just one thin border line. One side is for Hindus and other for Muslims,” said Faqir Dars, who lives in Mithi.
A Muslim resident of Thar shared his account by saying:”In our village, Hindus and Muslims have been living together for decades and there has not been a single day, when I have seen a religious conflict. No loud speaker is used for azaan at the time when Hindus are worshiping in their temple, and no bells are rung when it is time for namaz. Nobody eats in public when it is Ramazan and Holi is played by every member of the village.”
This love and brotherhood that exists between the Hindus and Muslims of Mithi is a perfect example of pluralism and the tolerant Sufi culture of Sindh.
This amazing culture practiced by Mithi surely gives interfaith harmony a new meaning.