“I worked for the government as a union council secretary. On retirement, I got Rs 800,000, which helped me build an imambarah in Chhacharo town.”
KARACHI — Ravi Shankar lives in Chhacharo town in Tharparkar desert region of Sindh, the third largest province in southeast Pakistan. He is a member of the Hindu community, a minority which forms less than two per cent of the 200-million population of Muslim-majority Pakistan.
He recently retired from government service and sprang a surprise by building an imambargah — a congregation hall where Shia Muslims gather for religious commemoration ceremonies on Muharram — with his pension money.
Shankar told The Independent Urdu: “I worked for the government as a union council secretary. On retirement, I got Rs 800,000, which helped me build an imambargah in Chhacharo town.”
The Hindu population of Pakistan is mainly concentrated in the southern districts of Sindh, including Hyderabad, Mirpur Khas, Sanghar, Badin, Tharparkar and Umerkot.
A section of the Hindus identify themselves as Hussaini Hindus who take part in rituals of Shia Muslims like mourning on Muharram.
According to the report Shankar, on his retirement, told his banker sons that he wanted to build an imambargah with his pension money. “The sons allowed me to do whatever I wanted. They didn’t mind. Not only did I spend the prophecy money on building the imambargah, but I also used whatever money I could get every month.”