We can become an inclusive society by highlighting the role of minorities in the creation of Pakistan. This was stated by Ravi Dewani, general secretary of the All Pakistan Hindu Panchayat, during an interview to Sabaat.
According to Ravi, the contribution of minorities cannot be ignored from the pages of history: Punjab Assembly speaker SP Singha cast his vote in favour of Pakistan and Jogendrah Nath Mandal took oath as Pakistan’s first law minister but today’s youth is unfortunately unaware of these instances.
“The father of modern Lahore, Sir Ganga Ram, who died before Partition, did a lot for this territory by establishing the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and carving out the Model Town Society of Lahore. Moreover, Hailey College and Mall Road were also built according to his vision and history is evidence of this,” shared Ravi. The first anthem of Pakistan which was played on Radio Pakistan had been written by Jagannath Azad at the request of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Stressing on the need of an inclusive society, Ravi said the country cannot flourish and prosper without defeating the hatred and discrimination against minorities.
“Hindus born on the soil of Pakistan as much patriots as other Pakistanis. Their patriotism cannot be questioned as the soil where one is born is considered the ‘mother’ in Hinduism,” proclaimed Ravi.
Talking about forced conversions plaguing the Hindu community, he praised the Sindh government for passing a child marriage law banning the underage marriage of girls. “Now, the girls of minority communities are abducted and taken to other provinces so the law does not become a hurdle in forced conversions,” he claimed, stressing that the bare minimum that can be done is for other provinces to follow Sindh’s example.
Ravi also regretted the lack of representation, especially at higher posts, of minorities in the mainstream media. “In the media, people of minority communities are shown as cunning, dishonest and disloyal. This builds a negative image in impressionable minds,” he regretted.