As millions across Pakistan marooned and displaced by the catastrophic floods desperately await assistance, a Hindu temple in a tiny village of Balochistan has shone a light in the darkness by providing food and shelter to about 200 to 300 flood-hit people, mostly Muslims.
Perched on high ground, the Baba Madhodas Mandir in Jalal Khan village in the Kachhi district has remained relatively safe from the floodwaters and serves as a sanctuary to the flood-affected people in their bleakest hours.
Floods are still wreaking havoc in Balochistan
Due to flooding in the Nari, Bolan, and Lehri rivers, the settlement was cut off from the rest of the province, forcing the locals to fend for themselves. According to the Dawn newspaper, the local Hindu community welcomed flood victims and their animals into the Baba Madhodas Mandir.
According to locals, Baba Madhodas was a pre-partition Hindu saint equally cherished by Muslims and Hindus of the area.
“He used to travel on a camel,” says Iltaf Buzdar, a frequent visitor to the village from Bhag Nari tehsil.
Buzdar says as per the stories narrated by his parents, the saint transcended religious boundaries.
“He would think of people through the prism of humanity instead of their caste and creed,” he said his parents told him.
The worship place frequented by Hindu worshippers from across Balochistan is made of concrete and covers a large area. Since it is located on high ground, it remained relatively safe from the floodwaters.
Most members of the Hindu community in Jalal Khan have migrated to other cities of Kachhi for employment and other opportunities, but a couple of families remain on the temple premises to look after it, the report said.
Rattan Kumar, 55, a shopkeeper in the Bhag Nari tehsil, is in charge of the temple at present.
“There are over one hundred rooms in the temple as a large number of people from all over Balochistan and Sindh come here for pilgrimage every year,” the report quoted him as saying.
Sawan Kumar, Rattan’s son, said a few rooms were damaged by floods, but, overall, the structure remained safe.
At least 200 people, mostly Muslims, and their livestock were given refuge on the premises and looked after by Hindu families, the report said.