2004 – in a tiny village in Pakistan an act of kindness was reciprocated and life changed for everyone…(1)
Before 2004 life in the village of Basti Mahran in Pakistan was extremely difficult for everyone, but especially for the Hindu minority. Hindu girls were routinely raped by Muslim men. Cattle that belonged to the Hindu villagers were slaughtered and attacks on all Hindus were widespread.
And then a very ill young Muslim mother arrived at the local clinic. She had lost a lot of blood in childbirth and needed a transfusion but the doctors couldn’t find anyone with the same O-negative blood type. Bachu Rama, a local Hindu man with the same blood-type offered to give his blood.
Before long a group of Muslims charged the clinic to find and kill Ram. The group was led by Mahar Abdul Latif.
Latif hated Hindus and in the 1990s had been part of an extremist group who patrolled the mountains in Kashmir killing all Hindus who crossed their path. As Latif and his gang approached the clinic they were stopped by a doctor who told them that Ram was this young woman’s only chance.
“I don’t know what came over me,” Latif says. “I remember thinking that here we were refusing to even shake hands with the Hindus and he was willing to give us his blood. It was a marvelous thing he did. It was the turning point of my life.” (2)
Next morning, Latif visited Ram’s home to thank him. This was the first time in living memory that a Muslim visited a Hindu home in Basti Mahran. Soon everyone heard of Ram’s generosity and Latif’s change of heart and things in the village began to change.
Let the cooperation begin…
The women began to talk to each other. The rapes and attacks stopped. Now Hindus and Muslims not only liked each other they also actively supported each other – even in their religious practice.
This spirit of reciprocity and cooperation spread to every area of life in the village. Women from both communities joined forces in their cotton selling businesses and began to earn four times more that they had earned when selling separately. The villagers successfully lobbied the government to build power lines, roads and a proper water supply.
“The wrong in the world continues to exist just because people talk only of their ideals, and do not strive to put them into practice. If actions took the place of words, the world’s misery would very soon be changed into comfort.” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (3)
Read more about this amazing example of reciprocity and cooperation in the Toronto Star