Balochistan flood victims get shelter in Hindu temple
As millions across Pakistan displaced by the catastrophic floods desperately await assistance, a Hindu temple in a tiny village of Balochistan is providing food and shelter to about 200 to 300 flood-hit people.
Jalal Khan, a small village in Balochistan’s Kachhi district, was still under the flood, which has caused massive house collapsed and destruction everywhere.
The small village was cut off from the rest of the province due to the floods in the Nari, Bolan and Lahri rivers and the citizens of the remote areas had no chance to escape from there.
At the time of such an ordeal, the local Hindu community of the village opened the gates of the Baba Madhodas Mandir for flood-affected people and their cattle.
Residents said Baba Madhodas was a pre-Partition Hindu saint who was loved by Muslims and Hindus alike in the area.
Iltaf Buzdar, a frequent visitor to the village, said his parents shared stories of the saint with him. They said that Baba looked at people “through the prism of humanity” and not their caste or creed.
Hindu worshipers from all over Balochistan frequently visit this place, the temple is made of concrete and covers a large area, as it is located on a high ground it is relatively protected from flood water and prone to flooding.
Many people from the Hindu community living in Jalal Khan have migrated to other cities of Kutch for employment and jobs, but a few families are still living there to take care of this historic temple.
The current in charge, Rattan Kumar, 55, said that the temple had more than 100 rooms to accommodate pilgrims who came from all over Balochistan and Sindh every year.
Kumar’s son reported that a few rooms had been damaged by floodwater but the structure was mostly safe.
At least 200-300 people, mostly Muslims, and their cattle were sheltered in the temple premises and looked after by Hindu families, he said.
The area was initially cut off from the rest of the province where the displaced said they were given rations by helicopter but when they moved to the temple, the Hindu community took care of them and provided them with food on time.
Those who took refuge in the temple said that they are indebted to the local community for coming to their aid and providing them with food and shelter during this difficult time.
The local Hindu community said that opening the doors of the temple for the flood victims is a message of humanity and religious tolerance, which is their centuries-old tradition.