When Nalini Thakur was born in Sindh province in Pakistan, her parents got scared to imagine her future. All their fears came true, when baby Nalini started going to school. Nalini didn’t feel welcome in school, as she was treated like untouchable. She was forced to sit on separate benches. Muslim students taunted her for being Hindu almost everyday. Such brutal treatment was inflicted to a Hindu student in a Pakistani government school. She was forced to read Quran in her higher classes. Nalini’s parents prayed at home to avoid gazing eyes of their neighbours. Also, most of the temples were destructed and few were left.
The worst was yet to come. When Nalini turned into 16 years old innocent and beautiful girl, she was abducted by a henchman. After couple of days, Nalini’s photo appeared in a nondescript newspaper wearing black veil with news that Nalini Thakur converted to Islam by her will. Now, she is Naaznin. Why did she agree to convert? If she dared to disagree, she would have been continuously raped. Her brothers and her father might have been murdered. Nalini’s parents couldn’t muster courage to go to court. But, parents of Raveena, 13, and Reena, 15, who met the similar fate, decided to fight in court in Islamabad. The matter was disposed off on their mere statement that they converted to Islam and married of their own free will. Court didn’t even bother to prove that girls were minors.
Pakistani Hindus are children of lesser God. They are born to be suppressed, oppressed, abducted and converted to Islam. It is no secret why Hindu population has reduced to mere 2%. When the oppressed can not fight back, they somehow find a way to escape from persecution. Their immediate hope is India. First, they apply visa for full family for religious travel in Indian Embassy or High commission of India in Islamabad. But, Indian embassy is not large hearted to oblige the full family. They issue visa for half family so that they are forced to come back to Pakistan. However, half fortunate family reach Wagah border. After stepping into India, instead of visiting temple they start searching for employment and roof on their heads so that they can bring the rest of their families. There are many such camps for persecuted Pakistani Hindus in different states like Rajasthan, Gujrat, Haryana, and Delhi.
Such hapless Pakistani Hindus flee to India with hope to get help from Indians. Do Indians come forward to provide them any relief and aid? Common Indians are too busy in their lives, but uncommon ones rise above to serve their brothers and sisters. One such uncommon name is 29 years old Hariom Sahoo, who has rehabilitated 1700 Pakistani Hindus in Aadarsh Nagar near Azadpur Mandi in Delhi. The process of settling Pakistani Hindus was no less than fighting a battle at every stage.
Hariom Sahoo happened to meet a group of Pakistani Hindus including innocent kids—who were frantically searching for source of livelihood—in 2013 May, for the first time. When Hariom Sahoo heard their heart rending stories, he vowed to settle them in India. For Hariom Sahoo, the first battle was to provide roof over their heads. Then, mere 22 years old Hariom Sahoo began meeting every bureaucrat he knew with an application for a piece of land for persecuted Pakistani Hindus. Fortunately, the then Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit agreed to allot land at Adarsh Nagar until government doesn’t need it for future project. They got land to build roof over their heads. Next battle was to get their visas extended, as their visa were normally for short term for pilgrimage. How did Hariom Sahoo got their visas extended? That process was mentally draining, but some people extended their helping hands observing the selfless campaign of one man Army, Hariom Sahoo to help Pakistani Hindus. Meanwhile, more Pakistani Hindus fled to India to seek help from Hariom Sahoo, as
words about him did reach to Pakistan as well.
After visa extension, Providing employment for them was another challenge. Azadpur Vegetable market nearby provided good source of employment for the unemployed Pakistani Hindus. Rest of them were employed at mobile accessories shops and other miscellaneous jobs. One can imagine how Pakistan has turned into living hell for Hindus, as Hindus fled to India as recent as before India implemented LOCKDOWN. Due to the ongoing Covid-19, the Attari – Wagah border crossing is currently closed for foreigners. It is unclear how long this will remain shut.
Life in Adarsh Nagar Pakistani Hindu Camp may be full of hardships, but they feel liberated. They can go to temples and organise religious festivals outdoor without any fear. Until one doesn’t have zeal from inside, he can’t carry on such rehabilitation work, as it is full of challenges like providing them medication and education as well. While Hariom Sahoo was supervising Adarsh Nagar Pakistani Hindu camp during Lockdown, the same camp got flooded during heavy rain on 18 to 19 July in Delhi. Hariom Sahoo took no time to step down into muddy water to lend his helping hand.
A tall, dark and handsome 29 years old boy is expected to focus his attention to build his career to lead a luxurious life. But, Hariom Sahoo is leaving no stone unturned to build lives of those persecuted ones from Pakistan so that they can have lives with basic facilities. India is full of warriors like Hariom Sahoo. Our society must acknowledge them to build a healthy and strong nation.
What is positive note is that a cricketer like Shikhar Dhavan visited Adarsh Nagar camp to express his solidarity with Pakistani Hindus and to extend support to Hariom Sahoo. Shikhar Dhavan gifted them 10 mobile toilets, blankets, pillows and cricket kits.