Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Fact-Checking Farahnaz Ispahani's Claims in "Purifying the Land of the Pure"

In "Purifying the Land of the Pure", the author Ms. Farahnaz Ispahani, the wife of Mr. Husain Haqqani who served as Pakistan's Ambassador in Washington from 2008 to 2011, asserts that "by 1949, the non-Muslim population of Pakistan had been significantly diluted.....the percentage of Muslims in the areas constituting Pakistan rose from 77% in 1941 to 83% in 1949".

In other words, the population of minorities, mostly Hindus, was 17% in 1949 in Pakistan. This included both east and west Pakistan. Let's examine what has happened to the minority population in Pakistan since 1971 when East Pakistan split off to form Bangladesh. More specifically, let's focus on the Hindu population that constitutes overwhelming majority of religious minorities population.

Hindu population of the areas that now constitute post-1971 Pakistan was 15% in 1931 India Census. It declined to 14% in 1941. Then first Pakistan Census in 1951 showed it was 1.3% after the massive cross-border migration of both Hindus and Muslims in 1947. During the partition, 4.7 million Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India from what became Pakistan, while over 8 million Muslims migrated from India to Pakistan. Since 1951, the Hindu population of what is now Pakistan has grown from 1.3% to 1.9% now.

Pew Research reported in 2017 that nearly half of India’s migrants are in just three countries: the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and the United States. About 3.5 million Indians live in the UAE, the top destination country for Indian migrants. Over the past two decades, millions of Indians have migrated there to find employment as laborers. Pakistan has the second-largest number of Indian-born migrants, with 2 million who, according to the World Bank, send nearly $5 billion a year in remittances to their poor Muslim relatives in India.

The biggest exodus of Muslims from India was from the Indian Punjab where the Muslim population declined from 32% in 1941 to 0.8% in 1951.


Contrary to the sensational media headlines about declining Hindu population in Pakistan, the fact is that Hindu birth rate is significantly higher than the country's national average. Although Hindus make up only 1.9% of Pakistan's population, it is among the worlds fastest growing Hindu communities today, growing faster than the Hindu populations in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia.




`Pakistan Census data. For 1931 and 1941, the figures are for West Pakistan in undivided India. For 1951 and 1961, the figures are for West Pakistan in undivided Pakistan. Data for 1971 could not be accessed.

Hindu population of the areas that now constitute Pakistan was 15% in 1931 India Census. It declined to 14% in 1941 India Census. Then first Pakistan Census in 1951 showed it was 1.3% after the massive cross-border migration of both Hindus and Muslims in 1947. During the partition, 4.7 million Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India from what became Pakistan, while over 8 million Muslims migrated from India to Pakistan. Since 1951, the Hindu population of what is now Pakistan has grown from 1.3% to 1.9% now.     



Fastest Growing Religions By Countries
Sindhi Hindu Woman





Hindu fertility rate (TFR) of 3.2 children per woman in Pakistan is much higher than national fertility rate of 2.86.  With 3.33 million Hindus, Pakistan is currently home to the world's 5th largest Hindu population. By 2050, Pakistan will rank 4th with 5.6 million Hindus, surpassing Indonesia which is currently ranked 4th largest Hindu country, according to Pew Research.

While it is true that some Pakistani Hindus have been targets of religious bigotry and intolerance by some extremists in the majority Muslim community, there are also many many examples of mutual tolerance and respect between Hindus and Muslims in the country.  In the city of Mithi in Sindh's Tharparkar district, for example,  Muslims do not slaughter cows out of respect for their fellow citizens of Hindu faith, and Hindus, out of respect for Muslim rites do not  have marriage celebrations during the month of Muharram. Hassan Raza, a student journalist, quoted a resident of a village near Mithi as saying:

"In our village, Hindus and Muslims have been living together for decades and there has not been a single day, when I have seen a religious conflict. No loud speaker is used for Azaan at the time when Hindus are worshiping in their temple, and no bells are rung when it is time for namaz. Nobody eats in public when it is Ramazan and Holi is played by every member of the village."


Diwali Celebration in Mithi, Pakistan

Another example is Rohiri in Sindh where a visiting Canadian-Indian Hindu diplomat saw a thriving Hindu community. Here's an except of how he describes his visit to Rohiri:

"One of the most interesting elements of the trip was visiting my father’s town, Rohiri, his birthplace. I found there was still a sizeable Hindu community there. That totally took me by surprise. We still think there was a massive religious cleansing in Pakistan and there were no Hindus left. Then I came across this family of shopkeepers who said, “Don’t worry about anything. Stay with us.” They gave me lunch and dinner and put me on the night train to Lahore. Talking to this family in the neighbourhood where my father grew up and was married was fascinating. The question that came to mind was why did my father’s family leave Pakistan and why are these people still here? Official figures suggest 14 million people were displaced after partition and that half a million to a million people were killed. And yet 60 years later these Hindu people in Rohiri are still there. They felt connected to the place where they were born. In the three towns I passed through I kept meeting Hindus — traders, professionals. Their numbers were small, 300 or 400 families in each of these towns. They have their own places of worship. I dared to ask: “Are you happy here?” and they said, “Yes, this is the land where we were born.”"

Pakistani Fashion Designer Deepak Perwani in Karachi


A successful Karachi-based Hindu Pakistani fashion designer Deepak Perwani said the following while talking to Indian media in 2012:

"People keep asking me, 'Oh you guys didn't migrate?', 'How are you treated there?' and so on. The questions show a lack of awareness." Perwani is part of Karachi's flourishing Hindu community, which is small but visible and influential even today. One lakh of Karachi's 1.3 crore population is Hindu.

As Perwani puts it, a lot of what people say about Pakistani Hindus shows "a lack of awareness".

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15 comments:

19640909rk said...

Riaz bhai, you say: " Pakistan has the second-largest number of Indian-born migrants, with 2 million who, according to the World Bank, send nearly $5 billion a year in remittances to their poor Muslim relatives in India."

Is it really possible? It means each Pakistani Muslim with Indian background is donating his poor relatives , on an average, approximately 2,500 USD , which is twice the per capita GDP nominal of Pakistan. Then all the Indian origin Muslims in Pakistan must be millionaires. It means each family (avg 5 people) is transferring Rs 10 Lakh per year to India. Forget relatives separated by 70 years, nobody would give such money to their own brothers, these days. Looks more like King's ransom. Nobody in the world.

5 Billion USD is 2% of Pakistan's GDP. I think Pakistan government feeds fake data to World bank. Nawaz Shareef wants to show he is doing great- economy wise and get re-elected. Kindly do some research and come back.

Riaz Haq said...

19640909rk : "Is it really possible? "

It's actually happening, according to the World Bank. I personally know many Pakistanis who regularly send money to help their brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins in India to help them out. And it's not just those born in India who send money to India; their children and grandchildren do it too.

Ahmed F. said...

Are Hindus well represented in the Establishment? Or in the business?

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad: "Are Hindus well represented in the Establishment? Or in the business?"

Hindus in Pakistan are members of parliament, ministers,
doctors, professors, engineers, lawyers, judges, businessmen etc etc

I have met some of them in Karachi during my visits

I have personally seen entire markets dominated by Hindu shopkeepers in Sindh

Feroze said...

A lot Ms Isaphani says is true. When my uncle migrated to the US he was forced to declare that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was an imposter and not a true prophet. Happens a lot when you apply for passport documents.

Anonymous said...

By constitution only a true Muslim can be Prime Minister or a President.
-
Sukhdev

Riaz Haq said...

In rebuke to Modi government, India’s high court suspends ban on trade of cattle for slaughter

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/in-rebuke-to-modi-government-indias-high-court-suspends-ban-on-cow-slaughter/2017/07/11/e23c6733-93f9-4bff-b785-b3279dfd08fe_story.html?utm_term=.eda62df7461c

India’s Supreme Court has suspended a controversial ban on the trade of cattle for slaughter that critics said unfairly targets the country’s meat and leather industry and its predominantly Muslim and lower-caste workers.

The ban, introduced by the Hindu nationalist government, prohibits the trade of cattle for slaughter in animal markets, a move that would have cut off a major supply chain for the country’s $16 billion-a-year meat and leather industry.

Cow slaughter and consumption have increasingly become a flash point in India, where cows are considered sacred by many members of the Hindu majority and where cow traders and beef consumers have faced beatings and lynchings.

India’s highest court on Tuesday upheld a lower-court decision to suspend the ban, which some states had already declared they would not enforce.

“The livelihoods of people should not be affected by this,” Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar said in a courtroom in New Delhi. The government’s attorney told reporters after the decision that the government would modify the rules.

The government had said in May that the prime focus of the new livestock market rules was to protect cows from cruelty and to stop them from being smuggled to places such as Bangladesh and Nepal for large-scale animal sacrifice.

Representatives of India’s meat industry had argued that the ban — which prohibits the sale of “cattle” for slaughter, “cattle” being a broadly defined term including buffaloes and even camels — would have a devastating effect on their business.

Daljeet Singh Sadarpura, president of the Progressive Dairy Farmers Association in the northern state of Punjab, said the regulations would complicate the sales of the 300,000 cows the association’s members send to market each year.

“A crazy person has written this notification,” he said. “Where will the cows go? If a farmer sells four cows every year and now he cannot, how will he keep them? No one has the capacity to keep so many cows. If he cannot keep them, he will leave it on the roads or in the fields.”

India has about 5 million stray and abandoned cows, many kept in shelters run by volunteers.

The ban was the latest limitation placed on butchers in a country where beef slaughter and consumption is already banned in several states. One state assembly this year amended laws to punish those slaughtering cows with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, and other state officials have suggested that butchers should be hanged.


Right-wing Hindu “cow protection” squads have in recent months beaten and killed cow traders and those suspected of eating beef.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s lengthy silence on the issue led to criticism that he was enabling the cow vigilantes. Last month, he spoke out against the violence, saying killing in the name of the cow was “not acceptable.”

Since the late 2000s, India has rapidly increased its beef exports — particularly of water buffalo meat, known as carabeef — by 12 percent annually, boosting its share of world beef exports from 5 percent to about 21 percent and rivaling Brazil for the top spot, according to a 2016 report from the U.S. Agriculture Department.

The country’s leather goods industry — which supplies international retailers such as Benetton — would face supply shortages in the long run under the ban, according to Puran Dawar, chairman of the northern section of India’s Council for Leather Exports.

“If animals are not slaughtered, where will we get the raw material from?” Dawar said. “If the raw material is not there, the prices will go up. We will lose to our competitors. We could not play in the international market.”

Riaz Haq said...

Angry mob beat #Muslim man for allegedly carrying #beef in #India. #Cow #BJP http://metro.co.uk/2017/07/13/angry-mob-beat-muslim-man-for-allegedly-carrying-beef-in-india-6776885/ … via @MetroUK

A Muslim man was brutally beaten by a mob in India after the accuse him of carrying beef.
A video posted on social media showed a group of men hitting Salim Ismail Shah, 32, in Jalalkheda, India, yesterday.

He had been stopped while he was transporting 15 kgs of meat on his motorcycle, according to Jalalkheda Police Inspector Vijaykumar Tiwari.
‘He was accosted by four persons who beat him up, alleging he was carrying beef,’ he told The Indian Express.
‘Shah sustained injuries for which he was admitted to a hospital, from where he has been discharged.’

-------------

The Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act, 1976, bans the killing of cows and calves.
Inspector Tiwari added: ‘We have sent the meat sample to a forensic laboratory to find out if it was beef or something else.
‘We haven’t registered any offence against Shah as of now.’
It’s not the first time someone has been attacked after allegedly carrying beef, which is considered sacred among many religions in India, including Hinduism and Sikhism.
Last month a mob on a train headed to Mathura reportedly stabbed a 15-year-old boy named Junaid Khan to death because he was apparently carrying beef.


Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2017/07/13/angry-mob-beat-muslim-man-for-allegedly-carrying-beef-in-india-6776885/#ixzz4mjsqOR1G

Riaz Haq said...

10 things #India must learn from #Pakistan. #Minorities treated better, women safer, ambulance servc http://www.indiatimes.com/culture/travel/10-things-india-must-learn-from-pakistan-292313.html …

Surprisingly, in Pakistan minorities are treated better. No, hindus aren't called terrorists and Sikhs who live in Pakistan don't have a grudge against the Islamic religion. It's unbelievable how many myths we have about Pakistan and it's too saddening that we actually believe random crap that is being said about Pakistan.

We make fun of the Pakistani cricketers while they are being asked about the match summary for they don't have such a strong command over the English language, but did you know that they are the fourth smartest people in the world? And that's not all according to a poll organised by the Institute of European Business Administration, from 125 countries, Pakistanis have been ranked the fourth most intelligent people across the globe. Pakistan has the seventh largest collection of scientists and engineers.

Accept it or not but the beautiful Sufi music that we Indians sway and hum to are originally from Islamic country Pakistan. And that's not all, even the ever famous musical show Coke Studio on MTV has been adopted by us from Pakistan. You must listen to the original Coke Studio from Pakistan, it's just too beautiful to even describe. The best thing about the show is that it isn't as commercialized as India and they actually feature budding artists instead of popular and renowned singers and musicians.

Yes, we do have several child prodigies in the country but no one makes it as big as this one. Pakistan's Muhammad Ilyas passed the examination enabling him to become a Civil Judge in July 1952 at the age of 20 years 9 months, although formalities such as medicals meant that it was not until eight months later that he started work as a Civil Judge in Lahore, Pakistan.


With death toll just rising at a rapid pace, we must learn how Pakistan's NGOs operate and how the health sector works. Edhi Foundation is Pakistan's largest non-profit social welfare program. It runs the world's largest ambulance network in Pakistan. Now that's something that we Indians must really look in to and get inspired for it will help us aiding and saving lives better.

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s Turn Toward Intolerance. #Hindutva #Islamophobia #cow #Modi #economy #jobs #BJP

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/opinion/indias-turn-toward-intolerance.html

Narendra Modi’s landslide victory as prime minister of India in 2014 was borne on his promises to unleash his country’s economic potential and build a bright future while he played down the Hindu nationalist roots of his Bharatiya Janata Party.

But, under Mr. Modi’s leadership, growth has slowed, jobs have not materialized, and what has actually been unleashed is virulent intolerance that threatens the foundation of the secular nation envisioned by its founders.

Since Mr. Modi took office, there has been an alarming rise in mob attacks against people accused of eating beef or abusing cows, an animal held sacred to Hindus. Most of those killed have been Muslims. Mr. Modi spoke out against the killings only last month, not long after his government banned the sale of cows for slaughter, a move suspended by India’s Supreme Court. The ban, enforcing cultural stigma, would have fallen hardest on Muslims and low-caste Hindus traditionally engaged in the meat and leather industry.

It would also have struck a blow against Mr. Modi’s supposed priorities: employment, economic growth and boosting exports. The $16 billion industry employs millions of workers and generated $4 billion in export income last year.

More disturbing was his party’s decision to name Yogi Adityanath, a Hindu warrior-priest, as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, and a springboard to national leadership. Mr. Adityanath has called India’s Muslims “a crop of two-legged animals that has to be stopped” and cried at one rally, “We are all preparing for religious war!”

This development led the analyst Neerja Chowdhury to observe: “India is moving right. Whether India moves further right, and Modi begins to be looked upon as a moderate, I think that only time will tell.”

On Tuesday, India’s film censor board, headed by a Bharatiya Janata Party stalwart apparently intent on protecting Mr. Modi and the party from criticism, ruled that a documentary film about one of India’s most famous sons, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen, cannot be screened unless the director cuts the words “cow,” “Hindu India,” “Hindutva view of India” — meaning Hindu nationalism — and “Gujarat,” where Mr. Modi was chief minister at the time of deadly anti-Muslim riots in 2002.

This might seem like merely a farcical move by Hindu fanatics, if it were not so in line with much else that is happening in Mr. Modi’s India, and if the implications for India’s democracy weren’t so chilling. But this is where Mr. Modi has brought the nation as it prepares to celebrate 70 years of independence on Aug. 15.

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - The defiance of an 'untouchable' #NewYork subway worker. #India #Dalit #Apartheid #Caste

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-40702242#

Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India by Sujatha Gidla

(In New York), she says, she faced racism. And caste was right here too. She says she found "petty caste discrimination" among the Indian community.

---------

The 53-year-old subway conductor has been luckier than most Dalits back home, women especially, who suffer unspeakable cruelty, are employed in menial jobs including cleaning of human excreta and are segregated by their communities.
Unlike most of her lot, her family was "middle class", thanks to the help of Canadian missionaries in her region who aided in education and offered them religion. Her family was thus Christian and benefited with education. Her parents held jobs as college teachers.
Gidla says that proselytization didn't help her lot. "Christians, untouchables - it came to the same thing. All Christians in India were untouchable. I knew no Christian who did not turn servile in the presence of a Hindu."
The book chronicles unflinchingly the caste slurs and segregation Gidla and Dalits like her have to endure in India.

Gidla lists how she and other Dalits are humiliated in India by other castes.
They are forced to eat from separate plates and glasses in eateries; barred from the community's main source of drinking water; allowed to ride a bicycle or wear footwear only in segregated areas; rejected in love and denied opportunities. She recalls her hurt when a junior school classmate refused to touch the sweet she offered. Things like this are constant reminders to Dalits of their status as social outcastes.
Since her teens Gidla was spurred to rebel with her uncle, the rebel Telugu language poet Shivasagar, setting an example. His call to join the Communists and later the guerrilla movement of the region demanding social justice held appeal for the young Gidla.

---------

In America, writes Gilda, "people know only my skin colour, not birth status".
"One time in a bar in Atlanta I told a guy I was untouchable, and he said, 'Oh, but you're so touchable'."

Riaz Haq said...

#India at 70: #Lynchistan #racist #fascist #xenophobic #Hindu #Supremacist #Modi #BJP

"Mr. Modi’s rule represents the most devastating, and perhaps final, defeat of India’s noble postcolonial ambition to create a moral world order. It turns out that the racist imperialism Du Bois despised can resurrect itself even among its former victims: There can be English rule without the Englishman. India’s claims to exceptionalism appear to have been as unfounded as America’s own." --- Pankaj Mishra

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/opinion/india-70-partition-pankaj-mishra.html


India’s lynch mobs today represent the latest and most grisly expression of such cynical political ideologies. As the sheer brutishness of Mr. Modi’s populism becomes clear, the memory of the aristocratic Nehru becomes more sacred, especially among politicians and commentators from India’s English-speaking upper castes. But Mr. Modi has also turned that legacy of high-flown promises to his political advantage.

Nehru and his followers had articulated an influential ideology of Indian exceptionalism, claiming moral prestige and geopolitical significance for India’s uniquely massive and diverse democracy. Only many of those righteous notions also reeked of upper-caste sanctimony and class privilege. Mr. Modi has effectively mobilized those Indians who have long felt marginalized and humiliated by India’s self-serving Nehruvian elite into a large vote bank of ressentiment.

Virtuous talk of unity in diversity and secularism has been replaced by a barefaced Hindu nationalism: The tattered old masks, and the gloves, have come off. The state, colonized by an ideological movement, is emerging triumphant over society. With the media’s help, it is assuming extraordinary powers of control — telling people what they should eat at home and how they should behave in public, and whom to lynch.

Mr. Modi’s rule represents the most devastating, and perhaps final, defeat of India’s noble postcolonial ambition to create a moral world order. It turns out that the racist imperialism Du Bois despised can resurrect itself even among its former victims: There can be English rule without the Englishman. India’s claims to exceptionalism appear to have been as unfounded as America’s own.

And so one can, of course, mourn this Aug. 15 as marking the end of India’s tryst with destiny or, more accurately, the collapse of our exalted ideas about ourselves. But a sober reckoning with the deep malaise in India can be bracing, too. For it confirms that the world as we have known it, molded by the beneficiaries of both Western imperialism and anti-imperialist nationalism, is crumbling, and that in the East as well as the West, all of us are now called to fresh struggles for freedom, equality and dignity.

Riaz Haq said...

Forced Marriage? Male Guardianship of Adult Women? Love Jihad? #India SC upholds controversial Marriage Annulment.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/aug/21/india-annulment-mixed-faith-marriage-love-jihad-hindu-woman-muslim-man-akhila-ashokan-shafin-jahan

Widespread shock as supreme court endorses dissolution of union between woman from Hindu family and Muslim man and orders forced marriage inquiry

The woman, Akhila Ashokan, who prefers to be known as Hadiya, converted to Islam from Hinduism while studying medicine in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. Last year, she met Shafin Jahan, a Muslim, and they married in December. Her livid father went to the Kerala high court demanding that Hadiya be returned to his custody.

In May, the court nullified the wedding and forcibly sent Hadiya back to her parental home in Kottayam despite her express wish not to return. The controversial judgment said Hadiya was “weak and vulnerable, capable of being exploited in many ways” and that “her marriage being the most important decision in her life, can also be taken only with the active involvement of her parents”.

On Wednesday, the supreme court ruled that India’s National Investigation Agency, which investigates terrorism, must assess whether Hadiya converted freely to Islam or was part of a “love jihad” – a phrase used by some Hindu fringe groups to allege that Muslim men are forcing Hindu women into marriage.

Hadiya has had virtually no contact with anyone outside her parents’ home since May. Local reporters say she has no phone or internet access and the house is guarded by police officers. A police officer quoted in the local media said social isolation had made Hadiya depressed.

Riaz Haq said...

In #Pakistan's #coal rush, some #women drivers break cultural barriers. #Hindu #Thar #energy #Sindh

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-women-drivers/in-pakistans-coal-rush-some-women-drivers-break-cultural-barriers-idUSKCN1C41PL

As Pakistan bets on cheap coal in the Thar desert to resolve its energy crisis, a select group of women is eyeing a road out of poverty by snapping up truck-driving jobs that once only went to men.

Such work is seen as life-changing in this dusty southern region bordering India, where sand dunes cover estimated coal reserves of 175 billion tonnes and yellow dumper trucks swarm like bees around Pakistan’s largest open-pit mine.

The imposing 60-tonne trucks initially daunted Gulaban, 25, a housewife and mother of three from Thar’s Hindu community inside the staunchly conservative and mainly-Muslim nation of 208 million people.

“At the beginning I was a bit nervous but now it’s normal to drive this dumper,” said Gulaban, clad in a pink saree, a traditional cloth worn by Hindu women across South Asia.

Gulaban - who hopes such jobs can help empower other women facing grim employment prospects - is among 30 women being trained to be truck drivers by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), a Pakistani firm digging up low-grade coal under the rolling Thar sand dunes.

Gulaban has stolen the march on her fellow trainees because she was the only woman who knew how to drive a car before training to be a truck driver. She is an inspiration to her fellow students.

“If Gulaban can drive a dump truck then why not we? All we need to do is learn and drive quickly like her,” said Ramu, 29, a mother of six, standing beside the 40-tonne truck.

Until recently, energy experts were uncertain that Pakistan’s abundant but poor-quality coal could be used to fire up power plants.

That view began to change with new technology and Chinese investment as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a key branch of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative to connect Asia with Europe and Africa.

Now coal, along with hydro and liquefied natural gas, is at the heart of Pakistan’s energy plans.

SECMC, which has about 125 dump trucks ferrying earth out of the pit mine, estimates it will need 300-400 trucks once they burrow deep enough to reach the coal.


Drivers can earn up to 40,000 rupees ($380) a month.

Women aspiring to these jobs are overcoming cultural barriers in a society where women are restricted to mainly working the fields and cooking and cleaning for the family. Only this week in Saudi Arabia, a close ally of Pakistan, women were granted permission to drive for the first time ever, ending a ban that was supported by conservative clerics but seen by rights activists as an emblem of suppression.

Gulaban’s husband, Harjilal, recalled how people in Thar would taunt him when his “illiterate” wife drove their small car.

Riaz Haq said...

Kiran Sadhwani is the first Thari #Hindu #female engineer at #Thar #Coal Project in #Pakistan. #CPEC #Energy

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1521349/kiran-sadhwani-first-thari-female-engineer-thar-coal-project/


Sadhwani, who belong to the Lohana – a Hindu community – was the first girl in her community to study engineering or even to attend a university. Born into a middle class family in Mithi, she received her primary and intermediate education in her hometown and later went on to study at Mehran University of Engineering Technology.

Apart from her work, Sadhwani loves to volunteer. For the first time in the country’s history, when the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) launched its Female Dump Truck Driver Programme near the town of Islamkot in Thar, Sadhwani visited several villages to motivate women to apply for the job and empower themselves. “Not all women who are working as dumper drivers are poor or in dire need of money. It is just that they want to work and earn a living for themselves and improve the lives of their families,” she explained.

Sadhwani loves to play table tennis, read books and listen to music. In the future, she hopes to continue to work for Thar’s prosperity and development.

Out of 25 successful candidates, Sadhwani is the only female working at the site. “When I came for the final interview my father insisted I would have to commute every day as he wouldn’t allow me to live near the site where many other officers and workers live,” she said.

“I wanted to reside at the site so I could visit the mining site easily and learn in the field. I didn’t want to live in my comfort zone by just confining myself to office work so I persuaded my father to allow me to stay there,” she explained.

Sadhwani’s father, who then visited the site and met the officials at the site, allowed his daughter to live there. Now Sadhwani visits her home in Mithi every fortnight. “I was over the moon as I had got the opportunity and a platform to prove myself,” she said. In Tharparkar women are kept in their comfort zones and Kiran wanted to leave hers.

“Just like most parents, my parents also wanted me to study medical as engineering was too difficult a profession for a girl. It was the first challenge I faced but after continued efforts I succeeded in persuading them,” she explained. “I told them it’s not just medical or teaching professions where women can work and excel. It is actually their passion that leads to success,” Sadhwani said.

It is very important to change peoples’ mind-set, which is not an easy job in Thar, not even for the hundreds of non-governmental organisations working in the region.