I opened my eyes in a Hindu village but grew up with Muslims whose families had migrated after wars. I was never told by my parents that if someone is a Muslim, and I should not be friends with them.
The only thing which was a norm was to marry within the same religion. My family is one of the oldest families of our village and that is why I have been part of all the events and decisions of the village.
I remember our family put the first brick of the mosque in our village and to show unity, the Muslim community renovated our temple.
My children and I always celebrate Eid, my wife cooks tasty sweet food for their friends. On Divali, the Muslim children come in our courtyard to play with firecrackers.
My daughters and daughter-in-law are very good at applying Mehndi so our house gets crowded on Chand raat. I have never seen a cow getting slaughtered on Eid in Tharparkar. To perform the ritual, our Muslim friends limit themselves to goats.
I love my village, the unity between the people here and our love for each other’s religion. For me, this is heaven.
Interview by Mehwish Abbasi
See the story that goes with this picture in Mehwish’s blog