08 May, 2021

The State’s Hand In The Graffiti

A book follows the footsteps of Guru Nanak in Pakistan and boldly speaks some bitter truths

The State’s Hand In The Graffiti

Walking with Nanak is one of the most unusual books that I have ever read. And its author, Har­oon Khalid, is clearly a courageous man. I say unusual, because it deals largely with the life of the first Sikh Guru, Nanak, in what is now Pakistan, while describing the gurdwaras and shrines—many of them in a sadly dilapidated condition with Isla­mic graffiti all over them—that were built in his honour. Courageous, because Har­oon Khalid, a young Pakistani who res­ides in Islamabad, is not afraid to dep­lore his country’s establishment for its neglect of Nanak’s legacy.

Khalid is also bold in his frequent and pointed criticism of the potentially disastrous direction that Islam is taking in Pakistan: “Various studies have been carried out on the biased nature of the Pakistani education system and the reli­gious puritanism that it promotes through its curriculum. The entire school curriculum has been designed in such a way as to instil in the minds of young students the separateness of Hindus from Muslims, and hence...

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