This post was originally published on Ary News on 21st March 2015
Raj or Raju Bhai, as he is known, is the principal caretaker of the National Museum of Pakistan in Karachi, and happens to be a Hindu. He’s been looking after the museum for 35 years and his father held the position before him.
The Museum has been poorly funded and has become more of a propaganda piece for whichever political party happens to be in charge at the time. Artifacts are regularly stolen, and Raj says, no matter who the culprit is, he is regularly taken to court and often physically threatened for the crime, even though he has never stolen an item. He puts it down to his faith and unfortunately this state of affairs is not too hard to believe.
Yet, the remarkable thing about Raj is that he still calls himself a proud Pakistani. He said: “My salt is from here, my ancestors are laid to rest here. I know no country but Pakistan and I love it.”
He wants to refurbish the museum and include exhibitions about Mohenjo Daro (the world’s earliest urban civilisation) and also artifacts from Hindu civilisations found in interior Sindh, but this is made impossible by the ridiculously low budget and the structural discrimination he himself faces.
A country which was founded on minority rights has really lost its way if such a patriot is treated so poorly. All I can say to Raj is that he is more of a Pakistani than anyone who mistreats him for his faith or seeks to change what he believes in.
Minorities should be treated with generosity, not just equality.
Hopefully one day Pakistan is able to give him as much as he has given to it.
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