ANOTHER MINORTY ANOTHER ETHNICITY IN PAKISTAN BY KOMAL AHMED

Pakistan is a country of various ethnic and religious backgrounds. Hindus, Sikhs and Christians are religious minorities. One of Pakistan’s minorities is the Baha’i group. Bahá’ís maintain the divine source of the great world religions and believe that the leader of this age is Baha’u’llah. Baha’u’llah was born in Tehran in 1817 and its name means’ The Glory of God’ in Arabic. Baha’u’llah’s father was a public minister who endorsed the state religion of Shi’a Islam. As a member of Iran’s nobility, Baha’u’llah was offered a government position. Instead, he entered a fresh religious movement, which began with a young Iranian, the Bab. In 1850, Shi’i religious officials charged the Bab with heresy and shot the Bab. Thousands of his supporters have been killed by subsequent government demonstrations and mob violence. The Iranian government imprisoned Baha’u’llah as part of its repression of Bab’s supporters. He was kept in an underground prison in Tehran. He passed in 1892 in prison. Baha’i Faith took root in Pakistan in the early 19th century, in reaction to Baha’u’llah’s call for the building of a Divine World Civilization, and Saeed-I Hindi from Multan, the first to follow.

Like the rest of the world, Pakistani Baha’is have tried their best to build a better society around them as they work for peace and harmony. From the beginning, Pakistani Bahá’ís have been committed in promoting the country’s citizens’ prosperity and empowerment. In late 1970s, the Baha’is of Pakistan expanded their services in the educational sector by establishing a Montessori School in Karachi, today known as “New Day Secondary School”.

The Bahá’ís of Pakistan, in the passing years, have continually contributed to their society by collaborating with Government and Non-Government Organizations, along with members of all religions and communities in conducting literacy programs for rural areas, free medical camps and trees, speeches with dignitaries and thinkers, promoting youth interaction and active participation in dialogues on religious coexistence among all the communities. Bahá’ís embrace the diversity of the entire population throughout Pakistan and strive for better societies in the future by increasing the abilities of the masses to build their communities.

The Bahá’ís come under the less prominent minorities of Pakistan and are not public as other minorities are. Since the 19th century Bahá’ís have lived amongst the people of sub-continent and now in Pakistan, yet they are all hidden and mostly people don’t know about them.

We need to fill the gap in our society about the minorities. As Christians, Sikhs and Hindus are already prominent and recognized in the eyes of the general public, Baha’is are not recognized. The need in this society is not only to introduce Bahá’ís but also show that minorities in Pakistan do live in peace and harmony. There are many misconceptions about minorities not getting their rights in Pakistan by the government and that they are living under poor conditions only. By the example of Bahá’ís community we can say that interfaith harmony exists as Bahá’ís believed that their religion is not set. They believe they serve the humanity.

 

BY

KOMAL AHMED

 

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