Indian filmmaker Shilpi Batra Adwani with a Hindu Pashtun migrant woman. They pose with traditional Pashtun clothes. (Photo Courtesy: Shilpi Shilpi Batra Adwani)

Kashmala Yousafzai

I read an interesting story about Hindu-Pashtuns in the Arab News and would like to share it with you as it stood tall and loud on brotherhood and harmony.

According to this story, a small community of Hindu-Pashtuns who were once living alongside Muslim-Pashtuns in Mekhtar area of Balochistan migrated to India’s Jaipur at the time of partition in 1947.

Over the past seventy years, they have never forgot their pashtun culture and are proud of adopting it even in Jaipur. The elderly women still speak Pashtu and wear ornately carved attire and carry blue tattoos on their faces showing their love for ancestral Pashtun-culture.

Back at Mekhtar, their houses, shops and other properties that they had left behind had been preserved by the locals in the same state as were left during partition. Perhaps with a belief that maybe one day their children can visit to witness the shops and houses – locked and preserved- to see harmony and care of the Mekhtar.

Before they set off for their newly parted homeland, these Hindus stayed in the homes of their Muslim fellows who were generous to the core while serving their Hindu friends. The Muslim pashtuns gave them a warm send off and gave them food and other belongings for the difficult journey waving at them till they were out of sight on the railway station.

“It was lovely to hear that the people of Mekhtar still remember us and have taken care of the shops as a token of love,” Shilpi Batra Adwani, a documentary filmmaker from a Pashtun Hindu family in Jaipur, she was quoted as saying.

Shilpa who discovered from her grandmother and other elderly members of Jaipur Hindu- Pashtun community that they would congregate, do embroidery, had their meals and do the traditional pashtun dance together. The generosity on part of both made them never feel that they belonged to different faiths and inclinations.

While expressing his desire to meet his old friends once again in his life, Mr Malik Haji Paio Khan Kakar, a 95 year old resident of Mekhtar said that his health and finances don’t allow him to travel but if they could come Mekhtar, that would be great. They can sit together once again and talk of the old good days of peace and brotherhood.