In 1947 a small part of our great country amputated itself to become a sovereign country at our western boarder. It announced its having come into existence to the whole world with much fanfare. Or rather with much sound and fury in the form of mass killings, riots and bloods spilled in the streets.
Today, the word Pakistan has become synonymous with plague, an incurable affliction and a rogue to keep oneself at an arms length from. Modernity has not touched this country. Religious zelotry and terrorism are two wheels upon which it has set out on a journey that, only God knows, will end up where.
The country has proved to be a living hell for minority Hindus, Sikhs and Christians. Starting out with a double digit percentage of its whole population, today minorities are floundering at the edges for their survival. Their places of worship are vandalised. Forced conversion, forced marriage with their daughters and daily persecution by rampant misuse of blasphemy law, have put their backs against a wall.
In this context I would to like to quote a few excerpts here from my latest spy thriller novel FALCONERS’ PARADISE.
“The number of Sikh families, he was told, in Sant Chatwal Street after partition was twenty-five. Growing up, he had seen the number dwindle to ten, standing at present at three. There was Pankaj’s family, the head of which, Pankaj himself, had recently been knocked down on blasphemy charges. There remained Chawla’s family, who lived in a three-storey mansion across the street. Naveen Chawla, the family head, was in a league of his own. He was a member of the privileged club of elites. Money brought him a pass to inner chamber of army brass, politicians and bureaucrats. He never got down from his ivory tower to offer a word of sympathy to the troubled Sikh community.”
“Daljeet felt restless, sitting at home. The display of cowardice had brought him down as a man and as a Sikh. He felt like an outcast in a religion that was steeped in the glory of sacrifice. This was not how Guru Govind Singh would have envisioned his proud religion would come down to, when he and his children were killed, facing up to Mughals rather than embracing Islam. The war cries ‘Wahe Guruji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guruji Ki Fateh’ rang in his ears. This was the lion’s roar of Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh, while submitting themselves to death at the hands of Mughals. Daljeet covered his ears, but the words floating out of the yore haunted him.”
“You’ve had written for you a killer environment for a place to live in. The trick is to pull through it and survive.”
“If the society you’re living in thinks of you as not a part of it, as others to be dealt with in any which manner possible as would be stray dogs, what in the circumstances one should do? Her father would ask. He saw no other way than keeping close to each other as a clan, by which their safety could be ensured.”
The snippets give a picture of how minorities live there under constant fear of death. Do read the book and give your reviews.
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