You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

Sikhs struggle to save their culture in Pakistan through informal school

Press Trust of India  |  Karachi 

There was a semblance of fear in the eyes of Taranjeet Singh when he was asked about an informal school he was reportedly running with his brother in their apartment in Pakistan's commercial hub to teach religion, culture and history to children of the community.

Twenty-two boys and girls aged between seven and 14 reportedly study in the small classroom of the school located on the sixth floor of a residential building on M A Jinnah Road.

"The classes are no longer being held now because children are not coming, Taranjeet wearing a red turban told when asked about a report in a Pakistani daily about the school.

But he was not comfortable answering questions.

The reason behind Taranjeet's reluctance to speak about the school was explained by Manoj Singh, a volunteer at the main Gurdwara located on the Jinnah road.

Manoj said they hold classes five times a week for children because it is mandatory for them to get education according to the Sikh Rehat Maryada, a guideline for Sikhism.

"We have to teach them about Sikh religion, culture and history," Manoj said.

of the Sikh Council says Taranjeet or the Sikh community in general avoid publicity of their activities in the media because of the situation for minorities in

Ramesh said a number of Sikhs, including Taranjeet, had come to from Khyber Pakthunkhawa due to the insurgency in the tribal areas.

The Tehreek-e-had threatened minorities to leave the area unless they paid Jizya, an yearly tax historically levied on non-Muslims permanently residing on the Muslim lands.

At public schools, Sikhs and other minorities have to study Islamic teachings.

"We have no objection, of course, because Sikhs strongly believe in inter-faith harmony. But we don't want to forget about our own religion, culture and history," said Ramesh.

Ramesh said the community was keen to set up a proper school for Sikh children in but it was still fighting to get back the control of the founded by Sikh elders. The school built in 1930 is under the control of the education department.

Nisar Khuhro said that before the partition, Karachi's old city area was populated by Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Muslims and Parsis.

"Each of these communities had established their own schools but now except for some well-known institutions, most of the others have disappeared from the city's historical landscape. Declared abandoned properties, some of them were either occupied or demolished."

Ramesh laments that the community has no space in the city to educate their children according to their

At present the has a five per cent job quota for minorities but this covers all minority groups living in Pakistan and Ramesh said is incapable of providing Sikh men a better future.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, September 16 2018. 20:35 IST