Hindus and Sikhs forced to leave Afghanistan

The Taliban group has turned Afghanistan into a land of terror and intolerance for religious minorities. Hindus and Sikhs, peace-loving communities could find no other option but to leave Afghanistan forever. This will be a black spot in the history of this land that can be never removed and healed by any means.

Hash-e-Subh In this turbulent and critical situation, the news went into the shadows and was not discussed much recently, after a lot of efforts, a way was found and another 55 people from the Hindu and Sikh minorities from Afghanistan were able to leave this country. The Taliban did not allow them to take their holy books with them. According to Puneet Singh Chandhok, the President of the Indian World Forum, who participated in the evacuation process of the Hindus and Sikhs from Afghanistan to India, currently, only 43 of these religious minorities remain in Afghanistan.

In the last four decades, Hindus and Sikhs have faced all kinds of harassment and religious and cultural discrimination and have passed a difficult time in this country. The continuous war and conflict have harmed the culture of coexistence in this country and exposed everyone, especially minorities, to systematic oppression and danger. In the meantime, sometimes the governments, instead of protecting the rights of minorities, have been complicit in making the situation worse for them and performing various discriminations. Hindus and Sikhs have experienced the worst days during the civil wars and the first and second periods of the Taliban rule over Afghanistan.

Hindus and Sikhs lived together in a peaceful atmosphere until the bloody wars broke out in Afghanistan, and they were one of the important religious minorities in the country and played a decisive role in turning the country’s economy. But since the dogmatic ideas called Islamic ideology took over the space, the room to breathe and live peacefully was narrowed for them, their lands and properties were taken over by the powerful and they were gradually forced to flee the country. Hindus and Sikhs, who were once one of the numerous religious minorities in the country and various cities of Afghanistan, are now displaced from their country and only 43 of them remain in Afghanistan. Maybe they will leave this country one day and, in this way, they will completely ease the imagination of people who think that Afghanistan should be a “100% Islamic country”.

Islam is the religion of the absolute majority of the Afghan people. For hundreds of years, the residents of this country believe in Islam and observe Islamic rites and rituals. However, in general, the Muslims of this country, until a few decades ago, showed respect for the minorities and treated them with tolerance and kindness, and there were peaceful and friendly relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in this country. What happened that these friendly relations gradually turned into tension and enmity, and with each passing day, religious minorities were under pressure, discriminated against and prejudiced, and forced to leave their homeland?

One of the reasons for this negative development is that with the arrival of leftist and rightist ideas and thoughts from other countries in Afghanistan, the way of religious thinking underwent a serious metamorphosis and the trend toward xenophobia and alienation became prominent in Islamic perceptions. People who considered themselves affiliated with Islamist organizations tried to push people away from traditional religiosity and inject ideological beliefs into their minds. Naturally, ideology, whether it is Islamic or non-Islamic, requires animosity and demarcation between insiders and outsiders. As the space becomes ideological, everything is divided into black and white, and in this way, the supporters of the ideology try to fight the thoughts that are considered hostile thoughts and do not serve them and get them out of the field.

Traditional Islam in Afghanistan had lived in a peaceful atmosphere with religious minorities for hundreds of years, but the ideology promoted by political Islam took the breathing space of the minorities until it succeeded recently in removing one of the well-known minorities in this country. remove them from the stage, and in doing so, they feel a sense of victory. Ideology is incompatible with diversity and pluralism, and if this ideology has the attachment of Islam with it, a deeper and more painful disaster will occur.

Those who always insist that when the Islamic government is established, it will destroy all the chaos and turn the world into a dreamed paradise, but when this dream has become a reality, they are struggling with a thousand and one problems and they will be very stuck. One of those areas where the track record of Islamic governments can be seriously criticized is dealing with religious minorities. The track record of all Islamic governments that emerged in the 20th and 21st centuries and tried to establish a pure Islamic system is incomplete in dealing with religious minorities. These governments could not get out of the conspiracy illusion trap and deal with non-Muslim citizens in Islamic countries with an open and receptive mind.

Another thing that can be noted about the pathetic situation of the Hindu and Sikh minority in Afghanistan is that Afghanistan has been the field of wars and proxy conflicts of the countries of the region and the world for fifty years. Each of the countries that find it expedient to intervene in Afghanistan, finance and equip groups in this country to advance their goals. One of the proxy conflicts that has created disaster and chaos in Afghanistan at least in the last four decades and has taken countless victims from the people of this country is the India-Pakistan conflict. Since Pakistan’s separation from India, hitting each other’s interests has been the top foreign policy priority of both countries. Afghanistan is one of those areas where India and Pakistan have successfully managed to organize their proxy wars. Since Hindus and Sikhs have had close relations with India, leaders of Pakistan have been under the impression that this religious minority is acting as agents of India’s proxy war. In this regard, Pakistan, through its intermediaries in Afghanistan, has launched propaganda against Hindus and Sikhs and has confused the mentality of the masses towards them, and has made the naive masses forgetful by projecting religious slogans. The Hindus and Sikhs of Afghanistan have become victims of the India-Pakistan rivalry in Afghanistan. Mojahedin, the Taliban, and ISIS are names that are used on different occasions to fulfill a single goal.

When the Hindus and Sikhs departed from Afghanistan, an important part of religious diversity and cultural pluralism in this land was lost in history. This event is probably a source of happiness and joy for those who are hostile to diversity in our society and want to create a uniform atmosphere. But for those people who have understood that exclusivity and totalitarianism in any form are ultimately not good, this event is alarming and sad. Undoubtedly, the way of thinking that does not reflect on Hindus and Sikhs and considers them to be exterminated and destroyed because of their religious beliefs, will not be long before it goes to other groups and works hard to destroy them. If the differences are to be completely removed from any level of society, these differences will not be reduced to religious differences and will take the lap of other different and various groups as well. Now the basic question is: The Hindus and Sikhs are eliminated, now, whose turn, is it?

Author: Shahab – Analyst and Opinion Writer, Hasht-e Subh Daily

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