18 August 2014 Books 10 Questions

Reema Abbasi

Pakistani journalist and writer Reema Abbasi on her new book, Historic Temples of Pakistan: A Call Of Conscience

How did you decide on the topic?

The basic idea is history and a journey tow­ards pluralism which isn’t alien to Pakistan. It is not about a particular faith but ancient emblems of history belonging to a respected religion.

How does your book represent the minority community in Pakistan?

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Hindus are showcased to illustrate their comfort and integration. Victims of hardliners have  primarily been Muslim sects or liberals, be it Salmaan Taseer or Malala.

Which temples did you found intriguing?

The book keeps a tight focus on historic pla­ces that are still active, like Katas Raj, Hinglaj, Mata Singh Bhawani Mandir, Kalka Cave Temple.

What were the difficulties you faced while researching?

Difficulties that come with the security situation in some parts, but nothing related to faith.

What aspects of your journey were exciting?

The travels through Pakistan, its people, and the thrill with which they embraced the book's idea as a means of reaching India, a loved neighbour because of culture, movies and lost families.

Do you think faith is indestructible?

As long as life is infinite, faiths will be indestructible. Pluralism is the way to be and few areas have the privilege to be able to celebrate the shared history of our subcontinent.

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How do you regard yourself: a better writer or a better journalist?

Journalism is my passion. I owe everything to journalism.

Your favourite Indian writers?

Arundhati Roy and Vikram Seth.

Other passions?

Cinema, music, yoga. I enjoy the music of Kishore Kumar, S.D. Burman and Asha Bhonsle.

Future projects?

Another book maybe, but I would welcome more work from India.

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