Krishna: From jail to Senate


Naveed Aman Khan

KRISHNA Kumari Lal Kohli born in a modest peasant family of Nagarparkar, village of Tharparkar, Sindh on February 1, 1979, also known by a catchy nickname Kishoo Bai, is a Pakistani politician who has become member of the Senate of Pakistan on March 12, 2018 on women seat not on minority seat. She is the first Hindu Dalit woman and the second Hindu woman to hold this position after Ratna Bhagwandas Chawla in 2006. She is known for her campaigns for women rights and against bonded labour. She is politically supported by Pakistan People’s Party.
When she was a child and a student of grade three, she and her family were held captive for three years as bonded labourers in a private jail allegedly owned by a cruel landlord of Kunari in Umerkot district. They were only released after a police raid on their brutal employer’s land. She received her early education from Umer Kot district and then from Mirpur Khas district. She didn’t have electricity so she used to study under the light of an oil lantern. Krishna’s rise to the Senate was not an easy one. She battled hunger and poverty early in her life, and was also a victim of bonded labour. Despite her hardships, driven by her passion for knowledge, Krishna continued her education at a ‘run down’ school in her neighborhood.
She got married at the age of 16 in 1994 while she was studying in grade nine. She continued her education after her marriage and in 2013 earned a master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Sindh. In 2007, she attended the third Mehergarh Human Rights Youth Leadership Training Camp in Islamabad in which she studied the government of Pakistan, international migration, strategic planning and learned about the tools that could be used to create social change. Krishna Kohli joined the Pakistan People’s Party as a social activist to campaign for the rights of marginalized communities in the Thar region. She also raises her strong voice against women’s fundamental rights, bonded labour and sexual harassment in the workplace. Many laws have been drafted for the rights of women but none of them have been implemented which she wishes to get changed. Child marriages and forced conversions are some of the pressing issues which need to be addressed urgently.
Krishna Kohli caste is mentioned at No.23 in the Pakistani Schedule Castes Ordinance 1957. Dalit means oppressed or broken people, has become an alternate collective identification for the 40 non-Muslim castes declared in Schedule Castes Ordinance 60 years ago. Pakistan People’s Party also nominated the first ever non-Muslim Senator by electing a Dalit Dr Khatumal Jeewan in 2009 on a general seat. Likewise, Engineer Gianchand is the second Dalit to be elected as Senator in 2015 by the PPP also on a general seat. Bilawal Zardari nominated and got Hari Ram Kishori Lal elected as a Senator on the seat reserved for non-Muslims from Sindh in 2012. With the win of Krishna Kohli Hindu Dalit and Anwar Laldean Christian senior worker of the party, the number of non-Muslims elected so far as Senators by the PPP would grow to six, an unmatched representation in the Upper House for minorities by any other political party since Independence of Pakistan.
In Pakistani political democratic system it looks impossible for oppressed and modest one to rise to the Lower or Upper House of Parliament. Dalits rose from the lowest level of the deserted class of our society to the Upper House of the country. Amongst the contemporary political parties, Pakistan People’s Party stands on top as far as representation of the minorities is concerned. Krishna’s rise to Senate of Pakistan is an historic move by Pakistan People’s Party. Now Krishna has to do a lot as a sensible and sensitive politician for the deprived and deserted human beings of Thar in particular and entire Pakistan in general. She is found very committed and vigilante. On one hand, the Pakistan People’s Party has discredited Raza Rabbani and Farhatullah Babar but on the other it has done a great job by giving way to Krishna to Senate of Pakistan. Its national and international stature got boasted. But will the same Pakistan People’s Party take care of all innocent Thari girls and humble ladies as well?
Will these Thari girls find drinking water, enough food, education, health care and social security as well? Will the same Pakistan People’s Party ensure all fundamental rights of the neglected girls and ladies of interior Sindh? So much so will the same Pakistan People’s Party provide civic facilities to girls and ladies of Larkana and Benazirabad in particular and innocent creature of Badin, Thatha, Mithi, Ghotki, Umerkot, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Sukhar and many other cities of the same Sindh in general? The other day I caught sight of the picture of a girl’s primary school of Larkana city which was ‘decorated’ with Buffalo wastage commonly used as fuel after getting dried. It is a pity and shameful act. What is the importance and honour of a school. School walls should reflect sayings of the scholars not such bullshit.
Will Krishna draw attention of the Pakistan People’s Party towards these worthy matters? Will Krishana become the voice of insecure girls of Pakistan so that in future inhuman and brutal landlords cannot make hostage to any family elsewhere? I am sure Krishna can do more than all this because the Nature has blessed her with great commitment, potential and vision. Today nobody knows about the culprit brutal landlord who put Krishna and her family in his private jail but the entire Pakistan acknowledges her great struggles and achievements. In this matter many praises for Pakistan People’s Party and great laurels Krishna Kumari Lal Kohli.
— The writer is political analyst based in Islamabad.

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