Upwards and onwards: Sindh Police appoints first Hindu woman ASI

Pushpa Kumari now hopes to get a masters in criminology and one day become a DSP

Pushpa Kumari- First Hindu ASI: PHOTO: EXPRESS.

KARACHI:
When it comes to key positions in Pakistan, the country’s Hindu community has long been confined to the sidelines for the most part. Issues ranging from the social to the structural have often kept public posts, in particular, out of the minority group’s reach.

In recent years, however, talented individuals from the Hindu community have been making strides. Most recently it is a woman who has set precedent by becoming the first Hindu female assistant sub-inspector of police.

On a different path

Pushpa Kumari did not always dream of becoming a policewoman. The 29-year-old, who hails from the Kohli community of scheduled caste Hindus, graduated in ‘critical care’ from Dow University of Health Sciences in 2014, and until last year she worked as an intensive care unit (ICU) technologist at the Benazir Bhutto Accident and Emergency Trauma Centre. She did, however, dream of embarking on a ‘different’ path.

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“There are many Hindu girls in the medical profession,” she told The Express Tribune while explaining her choice. “I wanted to do something different and that is why I decided to appear in the public service commission exam for police.”

Pushpa applied for the vacant ASI post in 2018. She sat for her written public service commission exam in January this year. The exam was followed by a final interview. Then, two weeks ago, she finally saw her name appear in the final list of qualified candidates.

It was human rights activist, Kapil Dev, who first pointed out that Pushpa had become the first woman from the Hindu community to become a police ASI. “I think this might be true,” Pushpa said. “There may be a few women from the Hindu community working as police constables. But I think I am to only one to pass the public service commission exam for ASI.”


Pushpa’s dream does not stop here. “My plan now is to obtain a masters degree in criminology. I also intend to appear in other exams, particularly if the Sindh government announces a post for the deputy superintendent of police,” she said. “With my choice to join the police, other girls and women will decide to be daring in their career choices and maybe join the police, army, air force or navy,” she remarked.

Primed for success

The youngest of five siblings, Pushpa grew up in a middle class family in the Samaro town of Sindh’s Mirpurkhas district. Her mother works for the population welfare department as a family planning technical officer. Her father runs a grocery store. Both her parents seem to have instilled a drive for success in each of the five siblings. Like her, they, they too are on a quest to appear in competitive exams, she told The Express Tribune. “My brother Bharat Kumar, for instance, went to New Delhi on scholarship and completed his master’s degree in sociology from the South Asia University,” she said. “My maternal uncle, who is a Grade 19 officer, is the source of inspiration for me. He is why I always wanted to be a government officer.”

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Pushpa herself worked for the non-governmental ‘Marie Stopes Society’ in her hometown before joining the medical field which she ultimately stepped away from. She now lives in Karachi with her husband, Narain Das, who works as a supervisor for Bahria Town.

Not alone in her pursuits

Pushpa is not the only Hindu woman to opt for a career in government service in recent years. Two other Hindu women, Daina Kumar and Suman Pawan Bodani, also passed the public service commission exams some time back. Both now serve as civil judges. 

Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2019.

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