Karachi-based journalist and author Reema Abbasi has attempted to document ancient temples dating back to over 1,500 years in Pakistan.
Filled with her text together with vivid pictures shot by photographer Madiha Aijaz, the book 'Historic Temples in Pakistan: a Call to Conscience' was released here recently.
It chronicles ancient pilgrimage sites like 'Hinglaj', 'Katas Raj', 'Kalka Cave' temple, 'Panchmukhi Hanuman Mandir', and 'Shivala Mandir' amongst the many others in present day Pakistan with elaborate details accompanying the evocative photographs of archaic Hindu Shrines, rituals, festivals and regional populace.
A Niyogi books publication, the tome has been documented after an extensive research work in order to keep ancient emblems of faith alive in the memories of both India and Pakistan with a foreward by renowned journalist Jawed Naqvi.
"For the past 10 years my writings have maintained a focus on the values of secularism, tolerance and a pluralistic milieu. This book is basically a culmination of that journey.
This particular journey has culminated but the quest is on", says Reema Abbasi about her decision to travel rigorously for a year and write this book.
The author says the process began as a guerrilla project for her and Aijaz, their travels taking them across the country to Balochistan, Sindh, and Peshawar.
Abbasi has set out to embolden the sheer power of the history of these temples as shared legacy, a shared heritage. She strives for diversity in a land that has been home to multiple ancient faiths.
"You will see the gap in Pakistan's perception outside it and the reality of the people within, how much harmony, how much ownership they have towards each other and every monument in this book is a testament to this harmony", says the author who is a winner of UNESCO Islamabad Gender in Journalism award.
Jawahar Sircar, CEO, Prasar Bharti who had released the book at a function here recently says, "I thank Reema Abbasi for this wonderful book, it is an absolutely refreshing approach, and also Madhia Aijaj for the photographic evidence. Had it not been for this book, there is a general impression in India that maybe nothing exists in Pakistan."
The photographer for the book Madiha Aijaz, reveals her interest in shrines, rituals and people coming together at places of worship. "In so many ways we complemented each other, Reema had a great insight into Hindu mythology...she would suggest which places and rituals were of significance and needed to be photographed. I was the one looking at the lighting, the location." says Madhia who teaches at the Indus Valley School of Art in Karachi.