In Search of Lord Shiva in Pakistan

[ An excerpt from the book “In Search of Shiva: A Study of Folk Religious Practices in Pakistan”. ] A few months prior to my visit to this village, I received a call from Iqbal asking me if he could come and see me. Later in the day, while we were sitting in my garage, around a fire he said, ‘Let’s make a trip to Pakpattan. There is an interesting shrine there that I want you to see and write about. You know what a shivling is, right? There is a shrine there where women worship and present a shivling to the grave of the saint.’ ‘It’s incredible, isn’t it? A friend came to me in the morning with a “specimen” from the shrine. It was made out of wood and was just like the real deal. I was holding it in my hand when I called you. The shrine is of Aban Shah. My friend told me these penis offerings are lying all over the shrine. They are sacred structures.’ Iqbal Qaiser had also figured out the etymology of the shrine’s name by the time he came to me. ‘Aban, I think, comes from Abba, the word we use for father.’ As it turned out, Iqbal Qaiser couldn’t make the trip to the shrine with me because he was busy. Prominent Indus Valley archaeologist Mark Kenoyer is of...

Read More