The Woman Reshaping Modern Popular Mobilisation In Balochistan

Dr Mahrang Baloch, leader of the Baloch Yakjehati Community, took it upon herself to go door-to-door, wiping the tears of those ravaged by the rain and waterlogged conditions in Gwadar

The Woman Reshaping Modern Popular Mobilisation In Balochistan

There are leaders who transcend their times, who are visionaries and look forward to a better world. One such monumental and contemporary leader who has emerged in Balochistan is Dr Mahrang Baloch.

Dr Mahrang Baloch is one of the most defiant progressive voices ever to appear in modern popular movements in Balochistan. Profoundly influenced by progressive ethos and credentials, such leaders raised their voice for freedom in Balochistan. She has been seeking to reshape the prevailing resistance and struggling for liberty, peace, prosperity and the dignity of the Baloch people. Her unwavering love and advocacy for the Baloch nation transcend all classical and historical resistance and make her a genuine leader in Balochistan.

No doubt the prevailing practice of resistance in Balochistan has been practiced by a variety of brave leaders for decades. However, Dr Mahrang has completely brought about a new and extraordinary phase of resistance. The recent long March conducted by Baloch Yakjehati Community from Turbat to Islamabad was an example of her noteworthy dedication and commitment. It was not just a long march but a historical and atypical event in Balochistan's history owing to some indefatigable leaders including men and women. Moreover, the march thoroughly showcased the distinguished talents of Dr Mahrang Baloch through her consecutive perseverance and support. Dr Baloch was able to highlight the plight of the rising number of individuals in the country subjected to enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.

Above all, the recent heavy flood in Gwadar laid bare the true colours of Pakistani political leaders regarding public concerns, as they had been absent from Balochistan for decades. It also served as a wake-up call for the people of Gwadar to recognize their genuine leader in times of crisis. The devastating flood wreaked havoc across the entire district of Gwadar, plunging the public into dire and worsening conditions. Homes collapsed, livelihoods shattered, and residences filled with an overwhelming amount of water, leaving a significant number of individuals in the district suffering from various diseases in the aftermath of the heavy rain.

Yet, it was a shameful display that no political leader in the province or city showed even a fraction of commitment to support the affected populace during that critical time. Instead, a young woman named Dr Mahrang Baloch, leader of the Baloch Yakjehati Community, took it upon herself to visit door-to-door, wiping the tears of those ravaged by the rain and waterlogged conditions in Gwadar. Baloch also swiftly announced urgent donations and fearlessly urged people from all walks of life to contribute to the flood-affected individuals. Conversely, none of the political leaders who often visited Gwadar for their own selfish purposes extended a helping hand or provided generators to drain water from homes before Mahrang's intervention. This starkly exemplifies her remarkable dedication to every Baloch in times of crisis. Indeed, the Baloch Yakjehati Community, with Dr Mahrang Baloch's support, organized a medical camp for the flood-affected people in Gwadar and provided as much assistance as possible. Her recent visit to District Gwadar underscored her unwavering commitment to stand with her nation in times of adversity.

As a woman, she waded through knee-deep water in the narrow lanes of Gwadar's neighbourhoods to inquire after those still waterlogged even after three days of flash floods. Meanwhile, those in power were engrossed in their political manoeuvres in Quetta and Islamabad-Rawalpindi.

As Abbas Nasir eloquently notes in one of his pieces in Dawn, "Mahrang Baloch is a reminder of why the state must engage with those holding differing opinions and strive to win them over with actions rather than resorting to suppression. She is a clear-headed young woman unafraid to speak truth to power in a largely patriarchal and oppressive society, and one who possesses the courage to march hundreds of kilometres from Turbat to the federal capital to make her voice heard. It is a tragedy for the state that it chose not to listen to her, and instead utilized the office of the caretaker prime minister to cast doubt and question the legitimacy of her cause. She stood taller than those who sought to diminish her."

Similarly, after hearing her speeches across various expanses in Balochistan, I was deeply moved and astounded to encounter such a courageous woman dedicating her entire life to the progress and prosperity of her homeland. She has not only left an indelible mark on me, but also on every Baloch, instilling a sense of resistance and unity. Mahrang Baloch has delivered countless speeches about Balochistan and its dire circumstances with compassion, imbuing her interactions with the spirit of genuineness, as it has connected me with the bravery and struggle of a people whom I have never met but feel intimately acquainted with after witnessing her enduring contributions and listening to her distinct speeches.

Indeed, Mahrang is not the only one in Balochistan upholding the mantle of resistance in her homeland; there are also numerous other women who have done the same. Yet her life serves as not only a lesson for the present generation to combat oppression in any form but also as a practical example of perseverance despite adversity.

Above all, Mahrang is considered synonymous with Balochistan due to her exceptional perseverance and commitment to her people. She is the voice of the voiceless, the hope of the hopeless, and the helping hand for the helpless in Balochistan. Thus, Balochistan takes immense pride in her enduring support.