Skip to content

A temple in Peshawar reopens for the first time since 1947: Shabbir Imam

November 2, 2011

Guest post by SHABBIR IMAM from Peshawar, Pakistan. Video and photos by Shabbir Imam

During Sikh rule in Peshawar, the Gor Khatri area of Peshawar was declared Governor House, so the Gorakh Nath temple here was abondened and Hindu families shifted to a close by residential compound called Christian Colony. Then during the British Raj, the government provided residential quarters to a Hindu family to look after the temple.

Later, in account of the Partition, most Hindu families of Peshawar migrated to India, so 6 other temples for less then five hundred Hindu population in Peshawar were sufficient and they stopped using the 160 year old Gorakh Nath (Shiv) temple.

The census of 1998 shows that over 1,200 Hindu families live in Peshawar, and as per elders of the Hindu community of Peshawar, over twenty thousand Hindus are registered in Peshawar. In early 2001, the Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) has been assigned by then Governor, Iftikhar Hussain Shah, to build a public park at the Gor Khatri compound which was used by number of government departments including Police.

The Temple was not in use since the Partition and it was looked after by the Federal Archeology Department, which is dissolved after 18th constitutional amendment of Pakistan, and now it is the provincial archeology department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (earlier called NWFP) is looking after the temple.

According to an insider, the provincial government led by the Awami National Party (ANP) which has a reputation of being a nationalist and secular political party, encouraged Hindus to take back control of the temple through legal means, after which the government would relax rules to give full access of the temple to Hindus.

The Hindu community went to court and got permission last month and got a court verdict to use the temple for religious rites only and on 30 October 2011, a belated Diwali was celebrated at this Shiv temple for the first time since 1947.

The courts are yet to decide on the issue of ownership, which the Archeology department is contesting. The key of the temple is still with Archeology department, which is not allowing Hindus to use the side-rooms of the temple for accommodation and keep the temple open at all times of day and night. One Hindu elder told me that they are preparing to fight the case through to its logical end and gain full control of the temple.

The Minister of Sport, Archeology and Museums, Syed Aqil Shah (an ex-Senator and senior leader of the ANP) was chief guest at the Diwali celebrations. He announced a grant of Pakistani Rupees 2 million for providing facilities on the temple site.

See also:

From Kafila archives:

8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 6, 2011 8:58 PM

    I am just concerned about these people who go to this temple or the priests who will manage the temple. Are they safe? Isn’t this a sure target for the militants?

  2. Varun Shekhar permalink
    November 11, 2011 8:08 PM

    The very fact that such a big deal is made about the (re) opening of a Hindu temple in Pakistan, only shows what a fanatic society and country Pakistan is. Do you ever see articles in India about the opening of a Moslem, Christian, Buddhist or Sikh place of worship? It’s considered routine.

    • Dhaval permalink
      March 13, 2013 10:03 AM

      varun is right..hindus in pakistan have to fight so much for their existence and worship places..!!!first sikh became a traffic policeman in lahore became news.!!! i mean muslim government cant just digest the fact that there are some 2% minority people living in the country and they should be allowed equal participation at all levels..but alas..

  3. ILYAS KHAN permalink
    January 3, 2012 9:18 PM

    YEH WE KNOW HOW MUCH FREEDOM OF RELIGEON IS IN INDIA, I THINK U FORGET THE BABERI MASJID INCIDENT IN 1992, WHEN THOUSANDS OF HINDU DAMAGED THE MOSQUE AND THE COURT ORDER TO CLOSED THE MOSQUE FOR PRAYERS, AND HOW CAN U FORGET THE OPERATION BLUE STAR IN 1984, WHEN THE HINDU ATTACK THE HOLY GOLDEN TIMPLE OF SIKH (SARDARS) IN AMRITSAR. ANY CLICKS???
    BOTTOM LINE: THE HINDU AND CHRISTIANS AND SIKH LIVING IN PAKISTAN ARE BROTHERS AND PAKISTANI.

    • John R permalink
      January 19, 2013 4:41 PM

      Ilyas Khan, Other than the two examples that you gave in your comment (Babri Masjid and Golden temple), are there any more examples you can provide of religious persecution of the minorities in India? The very fact that the Muslim population in India increased significantly whereas, Christian and Hindu population in Pakistan reduced to a fraction of what it was even 3 decades ago, proves that there is NO tolerance of Christians and Hindus in Pakistan. In your so called “pure land”, Christian and Hindu women are routinely abducted and forcefully converted to Islam and married off. Christian and Hindu men are targets of brutal attacks. Let’s not even talk about your blasphemy laws.
      Awake and see if Islam allows persecution of others AND then, come here to write your comments.

Trackbacks

  1. Pakistan ki Tareef: Haseeb Asif « Kafila
  2. A democratic process in Pakistan: Abdullah Zaidi « Kafila
  3. The abandoned mandirs of Rawalpindi: Shiraz Hassan « Kafila

We look forward to your comments. Comments are subject to moderation as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 56,566 other followers

%d bloggers like this: