Iltaf Buzdar, a frequent visitor to the village from Bhag Nari tehsil, says, ‘He used to travel on a camel.’ Buzdar says that according to the stories narrated by his parents, the saint transcended religious boundaries. As Dawn reports, “he will think of people through the prism of humanity rather than their caste and creed,” the place of worship of Balochistan’s Hindu worshippers is often made of concrete and covers a large area. Since it lives on high ground, it is relatively safe from flood waters and serves as a refuge for flood-affected people at their lowest. Most of the members of the Hindu community in Jalal Khan have migrated to other towns in Kutchi for employment and other opportunities, but some families remain in the temple premises to take care of it.
Most of the Muslims have been given shelter in the temple premises.
Ratan Kumar, a 55-year-old shopkeeper of Bhag Nari tehsil, is currently in charge of the temple. “There are over a hundred rooms in the temple as every year a large number of people from Balochistan and Sindh come here for pilgrimage,” he tells Dawn. It is not that the temple did not bear the brunt of the unusual rains. Ratan’s son Sawan Kumar told Dawn that some rooms were damaged, but overall the structure remained safe. As per Dawn’s report, at least 200-300 people in the complex, mostly Muslims and their livestock, were sheltered and looked after by Hindu families. Initially this area was completely cut off from the rest of the district. The displaced said that they were provided ration by helicopter, but when they went to the temple they were being fed by the Hindu community. Israr Mugheri is a doctor in Jalal Khan. Since coming here, he has set up a medical camp inside the temple.
“Apart from the locals, Hindus have kept goats and sheep along with other domesticated animals,” he told Dawn. He further said, ‘Announcements were made over loudspeakers by local Hindus, Muslims were asked to go to the temple to take shelter.’ Those taking refuge there say they are indebted to the local community for coming to their aid during this difficult time and providing them with food and shelter. As Dawn reports, opening a temple for the flood victims was a symbol of humanity and religious harmony for the local people, which has been their tradition for centuries.