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Sikh Revival in Pakistan: Progress, and Growing Appeal of Sikhism

August 16, 2023

The revival of Sikhism in Pakistan is enthusiastic. Sikhs’ international good deeds, prosperity in other countries, and a growing number of Western converts are influencing Pakistan’s oppressed Hindu populations.

That apart, critics’ phony books and Gurduaras’ violent theatrics have not deterred Pakistani Sikhs. The uplifting message of Guru Granth Sahib inspires Pakistani Sikh converts, boosting their confidence and image. Sikhness offered them dignity, esteem, and empowerment as people and Sikhs.

Hinduism is viewed negatively in Pakistan and India because fanatical Hindu right-wingers—RSS—divide and rule minorities and take their anger out on Muslims and Dalits. Moslem nations react to such atrocities.

Pakistani Muslims behave similarly to Hindus. The Hindu community in Pakistan feels unsafe in most situations, but especially when RSS actions in India are criticized.

Many Hindu girls are abducted and forced into Nikkah. Hindus have been attacked several times.

Sikhs have not been targeted, except in tribal Taliban-infested areas where thousands of Muslim victims have been reported. Tribal areas rarely have Hindus.

The Muslim Brotherhood considers Sikhs Book-believers and One God like themselves. Sikhi requires benevolence and respect for all mankind in words and deeds. They know Guru Granth Sahib’s philosophy is closer to the Koran. They admire Sikhs as disciplined and honorable people.

Such difficulties have led many Hindus to convert to Sikhism. A 2017 BBC article on Pakistani faiths found that Hindus in Sindh, Khairpur, and Balochistan are converting to Sikhism.

Sr Krishan Singh (68K)In 1947, all Sikhs fled Sind. Sr Krishan Singh, a Hindu who worshipped Ram Chander, Mahakaal, Durga Devi, and others, now lives in Oop Ngri, a Karachi neighborhood.

About 10 years ago, he, his two sons, four brothers, and two nephews became Sikhs.

Sr Krishna Singh confesses that since adopting Sikhism, their relations with local authorities and the Muslim community have improved greatly, and they are respectfully addressed as SARDAR SAHIB and revered.

They also have good connections with Muslims and are invited to Muslim weddings and get-togethers when vegetarian food is provided especially for them.

Sr Krishan Singh adds, “We were often sent to Coventry as Hindus; we were never respected.”

Krishan Singh’s suburb was originally Hindu, but now 40 Sikh families have converted. Baghrri subcastes dominate. Expatriate Sikhs are supporting the construction of a big Gurdwara. The Gurduara seats 500 people.

Duruu Singh is Gurduara and the locality jathedar. Duruu Singh claims that when Hindus go in jathas to Nankana Sahib and meet the overseas Sikhs, they are so moved by their devotion that many convert to Sikhism.

He adds that local Muslims regularly throw stones and trash at devis and devta statues. Abuse of Hindu statues and individuals occurs frequently. Such activities do not target Gurdwaras or visible Sikhs.

This is why Pakistani Hindus and Dalits are becoming Sikhs. During Guru Gobind Singh’s gurpurab, the police helped Sikhs enjoy nager Kirtan without incident. No problems arose as local Muslims and Sikhs celebrated together. Hindu holidays cannot be openly celebrated.

Karachi’s Aram Bagh Gurdwara opened after a 24-year legal battle, and Sikhs are flocking there. The approximately 7 Gurduaras in Karachi before 1947 have been run down due to neglect. Duruu Singh claims Sikh numbers will rise if all Gurduaras are reopened.

Hira Singh (85K)The short version Sr. Hira Singh is a Sind High Court attorney. Longtime Sikhism convert says 1100 Dalit brotherhood members have converted to Sikhism through his efforts in the previous 5 years. He teaches them Guru Granth Sahib, humanity, and hard labor, therefore 1100 are SARDARS. These individuals even Hindus refused to give them their water glasses. Now everyone calls them Sardar Ji…Sardar Sahib.

Sind has a large Hindu minority that worships Guru Nanak Ji. Many mandirs have Guru Granths, Mahakal, Durga Devi, and Ram Chander statues.

Since more Sikhs are establishing Gurduaras, there is no such pooja or dichotomy of worshipping mythology or Puranic scriptures. Sr Hira Singh lectures that Sikhs do not worship idols or puranic doctrines. New converts take that seriously and focus on Gurbani only, Guru Granth Sahib.

Mangla Sharma, Pakistan Hindu Council leader, reluctantly admits that Hindus are converting to Sikhism. He also recognizes that this is not an organized conversion but a voluntary Sikh conversion. He claims that 20–25 years ago, Sind had no visible Sikhs and no Sikh seats in the National Assembly. This has all changed.

He adds that since 2000, several positive Sikh activities have made headlines, attracting attention to the religion. As mentioned, being Sikhs gave them many opportunities to improve their status and quality of life in Pakistan, both in the community and in government.

Mangal adds that Sikhism’s teachings are global and that Sikhs are a close-knit community that supports one another in business and life. They are financially stable and revered by Muslims and the government.

In recent years, the Sikhs led a Sind High Court challenge against alcohol prohibition, winning Muslim respect.

Sikhs also acquired access to a census box in the National Census, which has helped them.

Finally, Mangal believes that Sikhs’ success in foreign, western, and other countries has established an impressive image of being Sikhs, which has convinced many to convert to Sikhism in Pakistan.

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