Activist Krishna Kumari Kolhi recently made history when she became the first-ever Hindu Dalit woman to be elected to Pakistan’s Senate. For her oath-taking ceremony, Kolhi came wearing a traditional Thari dress. She displayed her culture with incredible pride, dressing up in a purple attire with white bangles that ran right up to her shoulders. Kohli’s parents, who were accompanying her, were also dressed in the same colourful costume, reminiscent of Thari. Her fellow senators lauded her decision to remain ‘connected to her roots.’
On 3rd March 2018, the 39-year-old Kumari became the first female Dalit lawmaker in Pakistan as a member of the Pakistan People’s Party. She defeated a Taliban-linked cleric in the elections and got in through a seat reserved for minority women from Sindh.
Kolhi is born to an economically backward family and belongs to the Koli community, which is considered to be a scheduled cast. She hails from the Nagarparkar village in the Tharparkar district and comes from the family of Rooplo Kolhi, a freedom fighter. In her village, women are still deprived of several basic amenities.
Along with her parents, Kolhi is a victim of bonded labour. She had fought against hunger and poverty during her childhood. At the age of 16, she got married to Lalchand. Her husband had supported her decision to pursue her studies. As a result, she currently holds a master’s degree in sociology from Sindh University.
As an activist, Kolhi fought against social evils such as bonded labour, sexual harassment at the workplace, and for the rights of women and the people of her village.