The IUP Journal of International Relations
Examining the Predicament of Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan

Article Details
Pub. Date : Oct, 2021
Product Name : The IUP Journal of International Relations
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJIR11021
Author Name :Akshaya Saroha
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 11



Hindus and Sikhs have become increasingly susceptible to religious discrimination and violence in Afghanistan. Institutionalized discrimination and social exclusion have made them wary of their future in the country where they have lived for centuries. The dwindling population of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus is a testimony to the fact that it is the failure of the government to extend protection to their faith and religious freedom and the asphyxiating majoritarianism tendency, which is causing their mass exodus. According to one estimate, during the 1970s, the population of Hindus and Sikhs was around 250,000, which has now come down to below 1,100. Therefore, the focal point of the paper is to evaluate the status of their human rights and the possible remedies for their survival as refugees. Besides, the institutional mechanisms of the Afghan Constitution for the minorities shall be analyzed in a retrospective and prospective manner.


One of the most daunting challenges that the non-Muslims, particularly the Hindus and Sikhs, have faced is the assimilating tendency of the overwhelmingly Muslim population of the Afghan society. The social construct of the Afghan as necessarily a Muslim person has somewhat limited the prospects of these minority religious groups. It is in the economic, social and political realm that the people hailing from the non-Muslim groups have faced social as well as the political discrimination in Afghanistan. Startlingly, Hindus and Muslims have adopted the Afghan culture, majorly that of the Pashtuns, as they have lived in the Pashtun-dominated areas. However, the narrowing religious freedom and the lack of social support for their culture has caused the exodus of these people. The onset of the Civil War, followed by the Mujahideen rule in Afghanistan aggravated the situation for them. The heinous violence inflicted upon the minority groups led to the psychological torment and perpetual fear of physical insecurity. The illegal confiscation of their property, torturous killings and forceful disappearance robbed Hindus and Sikhs of the minimum subsistence required for the survival. Therefore, it was the period of the Civil War and Mujahideen rule which put the lives and security of non-Muslims in jeopardy.