PAKISTAN & GULF ECONOMIST had conversation with Siani Bugtti Baloch. Following are the excerpts of the conversation:
“With education I am positive every Pakistani girl can grow up with opportunities and become a woman of colour in a developed world where she gets to decide how she lives her life.”– Siani Bugtti Baloch
I was born in Larkana, Pakistan amongst the hay, animals and farmland like any other Balochi child. Little did I know what awaited me across many oceans and foreign lands. At the age of six months, my mother and I migrated to East London with my late grandfather Johar Ali Bugtti. My grandfather was the first person to ever break tradition by leaving the village and opened the gateway for our entire family.
Thanks to the efforts of my mother, father and grandfather, I was able to go a lot further than living the predestined life of a woman of my age. Women of my age in my Pakistani culture are expected to stay home, not be educated, get married, have children and live their entire lives invisible. I wanted more than this traditional life that I watched my mother leading. I want equality for all women and children, I want to live free without fear of violence, I want to marry whomever I choose with zero consequences. This is why I had to work hard in order to change my destiny at a very young age. I did everything I could in my power to become independent and knowledgeable. I did this by reading many books as a child. Reading developed my mind and helped me build my vocabulary- Knowledge truly is power.
At the age of sixteen I enrolled myself at Luton Police Station as a Police Cadet and was later appointed HM Lord Lieutenant Police Cadet of Bedfordshire by the Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis. This role brought me out of my comfort zone. It allowed me to meet new, wonderful and inspirational people and boosted my confidence due to all of the speeches I was giving at various locations. The most rewarding part of this role was handing out both OBE and MBE’s to outstanding members of our community. This is because nothing inspired me more than the pillars of our community who fought for change.
My proudest moment as a Balochi woman was when I met the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philips. During this engagement I represented every Baloch person, and that when I shook his hand, through me, so did all of my Balochi brothers and sisters. I believe I am the second person to meet Prince Philips officially as the first Pakistani person was General Ayub Khan (former president) in 1966. When I met the Duke, he was ever so kind and friendly towards me, and now that he is in hospital, I wish him nothing but excellent health and a speedy recovery. I then became Deputy Head Cadet at Luton Police station and graduated the Police Cadet Program on 8th March 2016 at Police Headquarters, Bedford following the end of the two year course. At the same time, I was attending my last year of College, this is where I became interested in politics and became College Vice President and Student Governor. Being involved with this type of work shaped me into the democratic leader I am today. During this time, I worked with both Barfield College and the Police to increase the Police’s recruitment drive for women of colour. This collaboration also launched the “I Want to be” initiative that Barfield Collage and I, as student Governor and Vice President of the College assisted with, to encourage students to follow their dreams. The initiative was advertised on billboards and posters all over our county of Bedfordshire which meant my both my face and message, about following your dream, was accessible to everyone.
Furthermore, with my fellow cadets, I proudly marched as part of the procession for the Lord Mayors Show in London, England on 12th November 2016 which was a breath taking experience. We marched all day to the marching band with ceremonial tunic and gloves. It was by far one of the most surreal experiences.
I joined Bedfordshire Police as a Police Constable in March 2017, unfortunately, this is also the same time my grandfather, Johar passed away in Pakistan. It was his dream to see me in my uniform and be there when I said my oath, however, it was not meant to be.
In September 2020, I launched an online business called Bugtti Candles. The company is more than a business. It is a brand focused on exploring natural and relaxing scents for your home. All of our candles are handmade and hand poured locally with love, and are made using cruelty free and vegan materials and ingredients. 50 percent from every candle sold is donated to the Bugtti Trust which is a charity I created for children in need and of education.
My name is Siani and I am a Balochi Woman. My dream is for every Balochi female to be proud of who they are and where they come from. I have made my Balochi Bugtti Tribe proud and so can you. Let’s inspire one another and work together to be and do extraordinary things.