This video, produced by Ravadar, reflects upon the plight of Hindu bonded labour of Pakistan.
- Navoo Bai (Farmer and Activist): It has been about 20-25 years since I am working on bonded labor with HRCP. I have seen several hurdles of farmers and have tried to free them. Girls were raped by their landlords; I worked for them as well and saved their lives.
- Dai (Farmer): Landlords keep fertile lands for themselves and give us barren patches. There is hardly any growth in such soil, and it is difficult to yield a good crop. Often farmers have to pay back Rs. 300,000 to 400,000 to the landlords.
- Lakshmi (former): We suffer a lot for our loved ones during their illness, landlords never ask us for any assistance.
- Navoo Bai (Farmer and Activist): Those who are freed from the bond are not accepted at another place and are said that they are a curse on them too; we will not allow you to sit on our land. Now, we are displaced and have no idea where to go along with our children. We were disrespected there, tried to escape, and with the help of HRCP, NGOs, Courts, and Social activists
we got freed. Virgin girls were made pregnant by their landlords, those who were not married were forcibly kept in the houses of landlords and were impregnated and had to give birth to children. Our community does not accept such girls, they live a life of misery. We have suffered a lot; I have been working for years but did not find any sustainable solution for it.
- Haman Das Kolhi: Advocate and Rights Activist: When I was enrolled as a lawyer the first few cases I received were those of bonded labour Every third or fourth day we get such a case, coming from different parts of Sindh
These people don’t have decent alternative options to earn, and if they were in developed areas as Karachi they could look for jobs in factories and mills so they are stuck in the oppressive cycle of bonded labour. If they don’t work as an agricultural workforce they have no means of living and running their families
- Bhoora Lal Chohan; Social Worker: Near district Umerkot our Kolhi comrade, Meghraj, was kept in bondage by the Palli waderay. He was threatened and forced to work in the fields.
- Chander Kolhi; Founder, Progressive Human Foundation: Their health is also affected due to economic constraints; they can’t take their kids to hospitals They can’t send their kids to good schools or offer them a good living The cases of bonded labour are increasing by the day
The government should devise policies that will help strengthen these marginalized communities and work for the betterment of their own lives and the society at large.
Video credits: Chander Kolhi and Baneen Fatima