Towards the southern side of Lahore, on the outskirts is the small village of Maraka, which, during Partition, was a predominantly Sikh area.
During the communal riots surrounding Partition, as Sikh landlords from the village fled to the safety of East Punjab (which eventually went to India), they left behind their servants to look after their properties till the violence dies down and the rightful owners return. Most of these servants were Mazhabi Sikhs, a title given to low-caste Hindus who had converted to Sikhism.
As the fire of Partition violence reached this village, these Sikhs removed their turbans, cut their hair and became Christians to protect themselves – an identity that they retained. Most of the Christians of this village were formerly Mazhabi Sikhs.
At the centre of this village is a shrine held sacred by Christians here. This was dedicated to a Sikh personality in pre-Partition days but turned Christian just like its devotees in the new country.
- Author Haroon Khalid,